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What is CAN-SPAM?

CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act.” It is a law in the United States that sets the rules for commercial email and establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and outlines penalties for violations.

In simple terms, CAN-SPAM is a law that regulates commercial email and ensures that recipients have the ability to opt-out of receiving unsolicited emails. It aims to reduce unwanted and deceptive email practices.

Following CAN-SPAM is critical to ensure your email is delivered and is not routed to the junk folder.

The Canadian version of CAN-SPAM is CASL.

How to be CAN-SPAM compliant

Here are the main elements of CAN-SPAM that will keep your email marketing performing.

Clearly identify yourself

The primary goal of CAN-SPAM is to curb the sending of fraudulent and deceptive emails. When sending a commercial email, ensure that recipients are aware of the sender’s identity. Your ‘from’ email address and name should be truthful and precise, enabling recipients to respond via email.

Clearly identify the content of your email

CAN-SPAM restricts the use of misleading subject lines and mandates that promotional emails are unmistakably labeled as advertisements. However, the law doesn’t prescribe a specific method. Crafting clear, succinct, and truthful subject lines is a practice any dedicated communicator or marketer should follow.

Don’t use questionable tactics to build your audience list

This targets spammers who use scripts to scrape email addresses from the Internet or attempt to randomly guess email addresses. These practices are neither secure nor ethical. Manually collecting email addresses is also discouraged as these are not opted-in subscribers.

As long as you’re sending emails to individuals with whom you have a business relationship or who have explicitly requested your emails, there’s no cause for concern.

Give recipients the ability to contact you directly

Your recipients should have two means of contacting you: by responding to your email using the ‘from’ address or reaching out through the traditional method by using your physical address. Unlike spammers who attempt to stay hidden, your goal is to be visible and prompt your subscribers to engage through clicks, calls, emails, or visits.

In addition to your from sender email address your physical address should be in your footer of your email too.

Give recipients the ability to unsubscribe at any time

CAN-SPAM mandates the provision of a distinct and easily noticeable opt-out option and requires the fulfillment of such requests within 10 days.

In 2024 Google and Yahoo introduced inbox protection rules with stricter requirements for bulk emailers.

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