The CAN-SPAM Act establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations. You can find more detailed information on the FTC's website.
You must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act as an email marketer, so make sure to follow the rules below!
*Please note: this information applies to promotional or advertisement types of email. Transactional emails, like a purchase receipt, or password reset emails are exempt.
- Use accurate and truthful header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
- Use straightforward subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message. It shouldn't have any false or misleading information in it.
- Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
- Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations. Usually this is listed in the bottom of the email with the unsubscribe options.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Make sure you're sending relevant information to your recipients! This reduces your risk of spam reports.
- Keep your lists organized and named properly so that you can target them with the appropriate messages.
- Maintain and update your email lists. Use only email addresses that you know are active and valid. This also reduces the risk of bounces and spam reports.
- Get permission from your recipients. Follow opt-in and opt-out requests promptly!
- Skip the purchased lists. There's no way to verify where they came from, and can really harm your sender reputation. Besides, those who have opted-in are much more likely to engage, anyway!