shutterstock_spamwordcloud170If you use email regularly, you know how frustrating it is to receive hundreds of spam messages every day that do nothing but create clutter in your inbox, and in many cases act as malware and spyware that crooks use to steal your personal financial information.  Statistics show that in recent years, close to 90% of all email messages sent have been classified as spam!

In response to that, the U.S. Government enacted a law called the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003, and has been updating it every year since in order to reflect changes in the Internet marketing industry as they take place. This law mandates Internet marketers to abide by some rules when using email for business purposes.

These rules include things like giving recipients a clear way of “opting out” or unsubscribing from your list if they wish to do so, using subject lines that are not deceptive and that clearly relate to the message’s content, and including a physical snail-mail address for your business. This law also prohibits the “harvesting”, “scraping”, or gathering of random email addresses for marketing purposes. In other words, this law bans the sending of unsolicited marketing email to anyone who hasn’t explicitly requested it.

The CAN-SPAM Act is enforced by the FTC, (Federal Trade Commission), and the basic penalty for violating it the first time is a fine of $16,000, which escalates progressively with further violations. The seven main things you need to do to comply with this law are as follows:

  1. Do not use false or misleading header information.
  2. Do not use deceptive subject lines.
  3. Identify the message as an advertisement.
  4. Tell recipients your physical location by including a valid physical postal address.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  7. Monitor what any third-party might be doing on your behalf. If you hire another company to do your email marketing for you, you are still responsible for complying with the law.

As responsible Internet marketers, we always want to be in compliance with the law, but we also have to figure out ways to run our businesses successfully. To that end, I have devised a simple email marketing strategy that is 100% CAN-SPAM compliant and works well. I want to share it with you, but will do so separately….Stay Tuned!

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Filed under: Online Marketing 101

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