Compliance is key in the realm of email marketing! The following article includes guidelines for keeping commercial emails compliant to FTC regulations.
Email advertising is the most efficient and cost effective marketing channel at present.
Companies invest a lot of money to drop massive campaigns that generate
high rates of conversions. Unfortunately, many companies abuse their
data intel and bulk-send unwarranted, non-compliant emails that alienate
To prevent advertisers from mailing unsolicited messages, commonly known as Spam, the FTC passed the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003
that states clear guidelines for the legal use of commercial email. The
CAN-SPAM Act, which stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited
Pornography and Marketing, enforces the following requirements for any
email advertisement sent.
Unsubscribe Compliance Commercial
advertisements sent through email must contain an option for the user to
unsubscribe. This includes both a link that leads to a webpage that
allows users to unsubscribe electronically or a physical address to
which they can write for the same purpose. Once a consumer unsubscribes,
advertisers have no more than 10 business days to honor the request.
Furthermore, they are not allowed to charge a fee and they cannot
require any further information than an email address when the user
unsubscribes. Advertisers must file the email addresses of people who
have unsubscribed in the form of a suppression list. They then pass this
list on to any publishers who may mail their advertisements in the
future to ensure that users are not receiving unwanted messages.
The content of commercial emails must have relevant subject lines,
accurate from lines (or headers) and include advertisement verbiage.
Subject lines have to directly correlate to the offer within the
advertisement. Misleading or inaccurate subject lines that falsely
entice users to open the message are illegal and unethical. Similarly,
from lines must accurately name the company or domain from which the
advertisement stems. Lastly, the message must "clearly and
conspicuously" state that it is an advertisement. Many times email
marketers will customize a message to make it seem more legitimate to
its recipient; thus, they must also state that the message itself is a
solicitation in an effort to not lure users under false pretenses.
Many times, the company that is featured in the advertisement will not
be the same company that mails the message. Legally, the advertising
company cannot contract away their responsibility to comply with the
publishing company. If a publisher changes the advertisement in any way,
whether with a creative image or adjusted subject lines, the company
that owns the offer must regulate what is sent. Allowing companies to
alter the message in a way that makes it incompliant could lead to
eventual lawsuits for both companies. Companies should require that
material changes to the advertisement be pre-approved to avoid any
Any company engaging in commercial email marketing should read the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
and familiarize themselves with the basic requirements of the law.
While email advertising is cost-effective, it also leaves a lot of room
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