But before you start emailing, you need to fully understand the legal aspect of the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act of 2003 and the subsequent modifications / clarifications made to the Act in 2008.
The Act specifically tells you to whom you can send e-mail. For instance, you can only send commercial e-mails to individuals that your company has a relationship with or is currently engaged in a transaction. It also prohibits sending to harvested e-mail lists, meaning you can’t cherry pick addresses from various Web sites and add them to your list.
But there is a gray area. The law does not specify regulations related to purchasing an e-mail list. When you buy a list, you don’t technically know the individuals on the other side, nor do you know how the list was harvested in the first place. Bottom line, the best way to expand your e-mail marketing is to simply build your list one address at a time. Collect everything you can from customers and prospects. And make sure to allow everyone the opportunity to opt-in to your e-communications.
There are few other issues you need to watch out for related to the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Include a visible unsubscribe mechanism in all e-mails, and make sure it works
- Hone consumer opt-out requests within 10 days
- Use opt-out lists, also known as suppression lists, for compliance purposes
- Design accurate “from” lines describing the sender that doesn’t mimic others, including “friendly froms”
- Create relevant subject lines, meaning that it accurately describes the body of the e-mail
- Provide a legitimate physical address or a PO Box registered to the USPS
- Label adult content
E-mail marketing is powerful, but without these standards in place, you may be walking a fine line—fines can soar into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So definitely utilize e-mail communications, but fully understand the legal and technical complexities.
Kristy Amy / President, OnMark Solutions
email@example.com or call 440-463-2183