Part 1 of 3 – The CAN-SPAM Act
False reports of the death of email marketing at the hands of spam merchants, bloggers, and Social Media Marketers have been circulating on the Internet for years. As is often the case with rumors, these reports are greatly exaggerated. Bulk email campaigns are one of the best marketing investments a small business can make, because in spite of the blight of spam clogging our inboxes, email works. The Direct Marketing Association predicts that email marketing will drive more than $650 billion in sales in 2012.
Why Email Works:
- Email marketing allows targeting and tracking
- It’s data driven
- It drives direct sales
- It’s a trust, relationship, and credibility builder
- Email supports other sales channels
Thinking outside the Inbox
So how can you get in on this sweet email action? It’s easy using tools like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, but there are a few rules you should observe to be successful. The first rule is to stay off spam lists. Since it can take months to get your company’s name removed from the blacklist, your best bet is to take some time, do your research and due diligence, and make sure you don’t get blacklisted in the first place. Step one is to cover your legal bases.
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets rules for how businesses can use commercial electronic messages, including email. If you’re going to engage in email marketing you should become familiar with it, but here’s a quick rundown of a few of the highlights.
- All unsolicited emails must contain a physical address or contact information for your business
- You may not hide, alter, use an alias, or give misleading information about your business in your to, from, or subject fields
- It must be clear that the email is a solicitation
- Your email must allow the recipient to opt out
The Eye (and Filter) of the Beholder
Remember, though, that even if you’re meticulous in following the letter of the law, your ISP can still label you an evil spammer, and your recipients’ filters can still send your email directly into the electronic purgatory of their own spam folders, never to be read, clicked, or linked from again.