The CAN-SPAM act was passed in 2003. The act set minimum requirements for your email distributions including newsletters. It is very important to comply with not only the letter, but the spirit of the CAN-SPAM Act because worse than being fined, noncompliance with the spirit of the law will result in alienating your current and potential customers.
Legally this is what you need to do to comply:
- Unsubscribe. All your email distributions must provide a simple and easy method to unsubscribe to your list. You must comply with any unsubscribe request within 10 days.
- Not Sharing: You cannot share any email address that has requested to be unsubscribed.
- Harvesting: You cannot harvest email addresses from external sources and you cannot randomly generate email addresses.
- Disclosure: If you are sending an email message of a commercial nature that is unsolicited, you must clearly state in the message that it is an advertisement. An Opt-in list is exempted from this requirement.
- Lying: Your email subject cannot give mislead or misrepresent messages to entice the recipient to open the message. You also may not misrepresent the sender of the message.
- Physical Address: All email messages must contain the physical address of your company. Addresses using PO boxes are not acceptable.
These are the legal requirement. What do these tell you about the spirit of the law? No one likes to get SPAM. This includes your customers and clients. Your customers and clients do like to receive information about your services and products as long as you are honest and up front about why you are contacting them. Irritating existing or potential clients is not going to result in business for your company.
Make your newsletters pleasant to look at. Provide useful information. Provide a simple way for clients to remove themselves from the list, but also a simple way to share the information with others. Special offers, deals or newsletter discounts can help encourage people to view your newsletter distributions. Tell them who you are and what you are offering. Keep your message brief and to the point. Make sure you ask the recipient to do something specific. In marketing terms that is referred to as the “Call to Action”.
Many Email Service Providers have systems in place to ensure your email distributions are compliant with the CAN-SPAM act. By properly designing your email campaign you can follow the spirit of the act to a successful and profitable conclusion.