First and foremost, I’d recommend a serious review of the US Can Spam Act of 2003 for companies that are about to embark on establishing e-mail marketing for their company.  Reading this post is not enough to make an individual or a company compliant with the law in question.

I’ve found that many people can be scared of the Can Spam act and have an inaccurate view of what it actually means.  The biggest misconception is that you have to ask permission to e-mail your contacts.  This is not true.  If you have an existing contact database that your company owns, you can e-mail them at will, as an existing relationship exists.  If other people inquire about your products (through a form fill or conversation), as long as you’re in compliance with the law, you can also e-mail the contacts as many times as you want.

Even if your existing contacts opt out, you can still send what’s known as operational e-mails if need be.  So if person opts out, but then submits a quote and you need to e-mail them an invoice or copy, you can still do that.  You just can’t send anymore Marketing or Promotional e-mails.

Before I get into those components, I’m not discussing best practice with this post … I’m only interpreting the law.  I’d welcome comments or a conversation on what best practices for segmentation and nurture paths are.

Here we go:

Unsubscribe compliance

  • A visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism is present in all e-mails. Contacts should quickly and easily be able to opt out of receiving future e-mails.
  • Consumer Opt-Out requests honored within 10 business days.

Content Compliance

  • An accurate “From” line. If you’re doing business as John Smith from ACME company, the from line should be just that, not someone or something else.
  • Relevant subject lines. If you’re selling apples, don’t put oranges in the subject line.
  • A physical address of  where your company does business listed in the e-mail. PO Boxes are acceptable.
  • A label announcing any adult content (What kind of e-mails are you sending?!)

Sending behavior compliance

  • A message cannot be sent through an open relay.  This is why you have to warm up IP addresses or assign a specific one to your e-mail server.
  • A message cannot be sent without the unsubscribe option.
  • A message cannot be sent to a harvested email address. This is commonly purchased lists.
  • A message cannot contain a false header. Same thing about apples and oranges..
  • A message should contain at least one sentence (again, what kind of e-mails are you sending?!).

The good news, is that if you’re using an e-mail service platform like MailChimp, Eloqua, Pardot or Marketo, etc.  all of these components are built into the templates and/or platforms.  You can’t send e-mails until you are compliant..and the platforms will walk you through it step by step.

Message me or comment with any questions!

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