7 Compliance Tips for E-mail Marketing

Solomon Thimothy - May 2, 2011

CAN-SPAM email marketing lawE-mail has become a powerful communication tool throughout the years, making near instant contact with anyone a readily available resource to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Such a simple way of spreading information and customer contact shouldn’t be overlooked!

It can get a little confusing trying to navigate the murky seas of e-mail advertising, especially with current legislation. With the CAN-SPAM Act, it’s critical to make sure all contact with your new and existing customers is in accordance with the law.

Despite the name it’s not just referring to the bulk email process, it also covers all commercial messages with the primary purpose of commercial advertisement, even ones just promoting content on a commercial website. The law doesn’t leave an exception for business e-mail either. With a hefty fine of up to $16,000 for every separate e-mail found in violation, it can swiftly rack up a dangerous toll on your business.

Here are a few tips to help keep your e-mail marketing strategy a lawful endeavor.


  • Never use false or misleading header information.
    The ‘From,’ ‘To,’ ‘Reply-To,’ and routing information must always be accurate and identify the business who initiated the message. This includes the originating domain name and email address.



  • Always make it obvious why you’re sending the email.
    No one likes to open suspicious emails or hazard a guess on what could be inside it with the ever present threat of getting a virus. Making your subject tag clear and professional helps to add credibility to your email. This isn’t just a good email practice, it’s the law!



  • Identify the message as an ad.
    There’s a lot of leeway on doing this but always make it clear that your message is an advertisement. Honesty isn’t just the best policy; it helps to build up trust with the consumer!



  • Tell recipients where you’re located.
    The message will always have to contain a valid physical postal address. This will also make it easier for them to find you if they wish to visit your store in person!



  • Make it easy to unsubscribe.
    Always make it easy to find on every message you send. Use a return e-mail address or another simple Internet-based way to allow them to communicate their choice. You can have a menu that helps to specify what sorts of content they wish to unsubscribe from but always make sure it is easy for them to cancel all e-mail contact with you and that your SPAM filters will not block these messages. Customers get very put off when they do not wish to keep receiving emails from a service and cannot find a way to end the subscription. Making it easy to unsubscribe will help keep your recipient from getting frustrated and adding you to their junk email list… and telling all their friends about what a pain it is doing business with you.



  • Honor the opt-out requests quickly.
    You must honor an opt-out request within 10 business days and the opt-out mechanism you use must be able to process these requests for at least 30 days after you send any message. Never charge a fee for unsubscribers, make them give you identifying information outside of their e-mail address, or force the recipient to make any other step outside of sending an e-mail or visiting a single webpage on an Internet website as a condition for you honoring their opt-out request. Once someone has told you they wish to stop receiving e-mails from you never sell or transfer their address to another company with the exception of transferring it to a company to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.



  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
    Ignorance isn’t a valid reason for breaking the law and you cannot contract away your legal responsibility even when another company is handling your advertising campaign. Both the company being promoted and the company who sent the message can be held accountable for any violations.


Using these seven guides can help ensure that your email marketing strategy stays up to code and you’re not in danger of any unannounced fines. This makes hiring an esteemed marketing company a wise choice because they have already trained their employees to follow the laws while keeping the advertisement effective and customer friendly as well as honoring the strict opt-out request guides with a proven system.

While email marketing may sound a bit scary at first just remember that when handled properly it pushes the doors of your business even farther to attract a wider variety of consumers eager to partake of quality products.

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