Is Your Email Marketing Breaking the Law?
Your business likely uses email blasts in your marketing campaigns. Many small businesses start out their email marketing campaigns by researching and studying what other marketing professionals have done. However, what you might not know is that there is a law that regulates your use of email marketing – the Can-Spam Act. Anyone who uses email marketing for their business should read the Can-Spam Act to better understand it.
Risks of Non-Compliance
Most of the points are pretty straightforward. As the name would suggest, the law is geared so that consumers aren’t bombarded with misleading spam, which isn’t what you want to do to increase business anyway. Complying with the Can-Spam Act isn’t just a better way to do business. Companies that violate the law can be fined up to $16,000.00, so it’s not a mistake you want to make. The high price isn’t just related to fines. Non compliance can also erode a business’ reputation and sales effectiveness. If you follow the 5 tips below, you’ll be on your way to complying with the law as well as helping you craft better email campaigns that your customers will trust.
5 Tips for Can-Spam Act Email Compliance
- Use Identifiable Return Addresses. Your email address should never be cloaked when sending out email campaigns. If you’re using a forwarding feature, always make certain that the return address is identifiable to the recipient as your business or website. Our email inboxes are bombarded with email; we’ve become suspicious of anything we don’t recognize. Don’t give your recipients a reason to label you as spam.
- Always Use Clear Subject Lines. It’s tempting to use misleading subject lines that might tempt the recipient into opening the email (and it is a trick that’s been used before, by spammers). Always use a clear subject line that will tell recipients what the email is about. If it’s misleading, it’s in violation of the Can-Spam Act but, more than that, it’s annoying to most of the people opening the email. They feel tricked and won’t trust you or your company.
- Offer An Opt Out. Your recipients should find a clear and easy way to opt out of your mailing list. The notice should be clear and easy to follow so that your recipients won’t be confused about how to get off of the mailing list. Hopefully you’re using a system like MailChimp or Constant Contact; these systems make it easy to add and manage opt-outs. By the way, you can also add your business’ personality to opt-out language. Use of humor and alerting recipients of the benefits (e.g., promotional alerts, exclusive discounts) they’ll lose if they unsubscribe.
- Include a Valid Address. Email marketing has to contain a valid mailing address, whether that’s the location of your business or a PO box your business is registered to.
- Monitor All Email Marketing Sent for Your Company. Hiring a company to do your email campaigns can free up a lot of time, but the responsibility for the message is still yours. Make sure any email sent on your behalf is in compliance. If you have someone in-house performing these tasks, make sure they stay on top of Can-Spam Act compliance as well as other regulations related to your industry.
Hopefully these 5 tips helped explain how to stay in compliance with the Can-Spam Act. Your customers and prospects will appreciate the message far more than cloaked addresses and misleading subject lines. If you’re looking for more information and training on email compliance, check out MailChimp’s knowledge base. They also offer video tutorials and checklists. Or, you can always give us a call. We can set up your email campaigns and newsletter templates for you.
Is your email marketing following the law?
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