Avoiding Common CAN-SPAM Mistakes

480729261Does it seem like everyone is switching their digital marketing efforts to social media? Should you forget your email marketing strategy? No. Email marketing is still worth pursuing. In fact, with most consumers checking email more than once a day and 51 percent checking it on their mobile devices, email marketing can work better than ever for your business—as long as you don’t cross the line.  

The CAN-SPAM Act was created by the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers from misleading and/or unwanted emails. Violators face penalties—big ones. The law defines email as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including the promotion of content on websites. Emailing customers after they’ve made a purchase about their orders is not considered promotional activity, and is therefore not covered by the CAN-SPAM Act.

Here are five common email marketing mistakes made by businesses:

  1. Not having permission: No matter how you collect email addresses, you must have documented permission from recipients to send them an email. If the situation seems iffy, don’t do it. Purchased lists run the risk of emails being rejected, and major email marketing service companies like MailChimp and Constant Contact will not allow you to use those lists.
  2. Using misleading headers and subject lines: Make sure the “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information is accurate and that your subject line truly reflects the content of your email message. If your email is an advertisement, you must state so in the body of the message.
  3. Forgetting to include a physical postal address. You must disclose where your business is located.
  4. Failing to provide a way to opt out. You must make it very easy for the recipient to opt out of future email messages from your company. Then, honor the opt-out requests quickly.
  5. Not monitoring your email marketing campaign. Even if you hire another company to handle your digital marketing, the law makes it clear that both the company whose product is promoted and the company that sends the message will be held legally responsible for violations of laws.


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