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Email Marketing, Marketing, Technology

How Email Marketing Automation Software Helps Your Business Stay CAN-SPAM Compliant


Over the past few years, ensuring CAN-SPAM compliance has become somewhat of a minefield for email marketers. That is part of the reason why it is so important to have good email marketing automation software to protect your business from any challenges that might arise. Otherwise, you might wind up liable for fines of up to $16,000 per incident, according to the FTC rules.

To help you review the different parts of the CAN-SPAM law, we broke down the sections and discuss how to ensure you adhere to all applicable legal requirements.

Note: The CAN-SPAM laws do change, so make sure to keep up-to-date with the latest changes to the laws. This information is based on best practices and is not legal advice.

Double Opt-In

Section 3(1) of the CAN-SPAM law states you need affirmative consent in order to market to a third party. Therefore, you need to provide them with “clear and conspicuous notice at the time the consent was communicated.”

That is why using an opt-in form like the ones they provide from AWeber or Get Response are desirable. You not only provide your email address, but also need to verify your information through a link that is emailed to that specific address.

Keep in mind that if you do not use an opt-in or double opt-in form, then you must notify the sender that this is a commercial message [section 5(a)(5)(A)(i)]. This is not required for affirmative consent subscribers.

Ensure Your Emails Come from a Clearly Defined Sender

Once you have permission to send emails to subscribers, it does not mean you have a license to lie, cheat and steal. Instead, you need to make sure that you do not use fraudulent transmission data [sections 4(a), 5(a)(1), and 6] that could mislead who sent the information.

For example, take a look at the email below that I subscribed to from Gain Mind Share. The information not only includes the email address, so I can respond to the company – it also includes the AWeber email list I subscribed to for reference.

No Deceptive Sender or Subject Lines

Looking at the same email above, you also notice that there is a clear title. The content of the email matched the title as well. When I opened the email, I did not receive an offer for a pair of sneakers. Instead, I found information about content marketing and an offer for Camtasia for $50.

Add Your Postal Address to All Email Marketing Correspondence

This law generally trips up home-based entrepreneurs who dislike providing their home address when sending out correspondence.

However, according to [section 5(a)(3) and 5(a)(5)(A)(iii)] of the CAN-SPAM act, it is required to use a legitimate business address. That way, your subscribers know you are not a scammer. If you are not comfortable providing your address, then you might want to use a registered agent’s address. Generally, an attorney can do this for you, and forward any mail to your residence.

Finally, notice below how easy it is to include your address with MailChimp’s email marketing software. We highlighted the mailing address section, so you can see the proper method for including your postal address (the street address was removed for privacy).

Make it Easy to Unsubscribe from Your Email List

Any email marketing company worth their salt has a good unsubscribe option.

Look at the one below from Constant Contact. At the bottom of every email you send out from the email marketing provider, they have two spots where you can safely unsubscribe your email.

This way, a consumer cannot complain that they don’t know how to unsubscribe from your email list.

Also, make sure that you have a way that users can be removed from certain emails, as well as a Global Unsubscribe option [section 5(a)(3)(B)]. This way, people who signed up for your products do not need to receive your marketing messages.

Finally, by using email marketing automation software like Constant Contact or MailChimp, you automatically remove the email from your list. That way, you are in compliance with section 5(a)(4). This section states that you have 10 days to remove the person from your list.

Sharing Email Subscriber Information

Ethically it’s a very bad idea to share email subscribers’ information. An even worse idea is to share unsubscribed email subscribers to another entity. Section 5(a)(4) states that it is illegal to share that information.

Instead, if you want your subscribers to learn about a third-party product or service, it is better to use your email marketing automation software and promote the product yourself. That way, you remove the legal and ethical issues by letting users know that you endorse the product, service or brand through your own correspondence.

Final Thoughts

CAN-SPAM has been a part of email marketing for the past 10 years. During that time, we have seen tremendous shifts in how marketers in the United States must behave toward their prospects.

By connecting with an email marketing automation provider, you can ensure that you stick with the letter of the law. Let us know your concerns about email marketing automation in the comments section below.


Kabbage Team

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