Did you know there’s a law about sending e-mails? If you’re “promoting or advertising a commercial product or service through electronic communication,” you must comply with the law.
Many small businesses use the Internet as a platform to market their services or products, it has become more popular than ever to advertise via e-mail marketing. Since the cost to send out thousands of e-mails is so inexpensive, it makes sense that e-mail marketing is the simplest and most cost-effective method for a small business to market its services or products. In 2011, for every $1 spent on e-mail marketing the estimated return on investment was $44.25. At the same time, many small businesses are unaware of the possible legal consequences of using such e-mail marketing campaigns. Even though a business isn’t sending out pornographic or scamming e-mails, they are still at risk of violating the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act). The CAN-SPAM Act “spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.”
The CAN-SPAM Act shouldn’t deter small businesses from engaging in e-mail marketing campaigns, it should motivate business owners to research all the necessary guidelines to ensure their e-mail marketing campaign will be legal and successful. Here, we have outlined 4 components of the law you, a small business owner should know and follow.
READERS MUST KNOW WHERE YOUR E-MAIL IS COMING FROM
The “From,” “To” and “Reply to” fields should include the name or business name sending the e-mail. The point here is to be honest.
WRITE A CLEAR SUBJECT LINE
The subject line should reflect the contents in the e-mail, it should not be deceptive. If you want recipients to open your e-mail, you must ensure your subject line is really about the services or products you’re marketing.
INCLUDE AN ADDRESS
Each e-mail is required to contain the postal address belonging to the person or business sending the e-mail. If you want your recipients to think your business is credible, give them your address and contact information.
MAKE IT EASY TO OPT-OUT
All recipients must be able to easily opt-out from your messages. Easy opt-out options must be included in every e-mail message you send out. Remember: you only have 10 days to remove a “subscriber” or recipient from your mailing list.