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03 June 2020

What is CAN-SPAM Compliance?

Email marketing is one of the most effective methods of reaching a new target audience in marketing today. Email is also quite ubiquitous and often its rules and regulations are misinterpreted or misquoted. As a result of being in this business for quite some time, Exact Data would like to help explain and clarify these laws that are in place to manage how brands and marketers can behave; especially as it relates to commercial advertising with email marketing.

One of the laws governing email is the CAN-SPAM Act, passed in 2003. This legislation has been one of the most important influences on the email marketing industry, but there is still a great deal of confusion regarding what it means to comply. Here are what marketers should and must do to comply and furthermore we will identify best practices that can fall under remaining compliant as well. 

What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

First, what does the CAN-SPAM law detail? The acronym CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing,” and its goal was to create mechanisms by which legitimate businesses could separate themselves from a variety of different “bad behaviors” including blasting unwanted content into email inboxes such as pornography services and more. Overseen by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), this enforces proper content and sending behavior standards along with penalties of non-compliance. 

Unsubscribe Compliance Rules

  • There must be a visible and operable “unsubscribe" mechanism present in all emails
  • Consumer opt-out requests must be honored
  • Opt-out lists also known as suppression lists should also be used only for compliance purposes

Content Compliance Rules

  • Accurate "From” lines
  • Relevant subject lines (relative to offer in the body of content and not deceptive)
  • A legitimate physical address of the publisher and/or advertiser is present and visible
  • A label should be present if the content is adult

Sending Behavior Compliance Rule

  • A message cannot be sent without an unsubscribe option
  • A message cannot contain a false header
  • A message should contain at least one sentence

What is Opt-In?

Opt-in email marketing is the process of inviting website visitors to sign up for your email list, often using a lead source or other incentive to persuade them. The key here is that the people who populate your email database actually want to hear from you. When a prospect opts into your email list, he or she gives you permission to send marketing emails. 

What is Double Opt-In?

You visit a website and join the company’s email list. You then receive an email (or other messages, such as a text message) that contains a link. If you want to join the list, you have to click the link. Otherwise, you won’t hear from the company. This is called a double opt-in. It’s a way of protecting the integrity of your email list.

How compliance strengthens email marketing performance

By staying in compliance with CAN-SPAM, marketers and brands alike are better able to engage new customers, increase the initial trust factor that their recipients have, and otherwise give themselves an edge when it comes to reaching out to prospects to convert a sale.

As states increasingly work to implement a new generation of privacy and data protection regulations, the US Congress is already developing its own national-level law in the image of the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA. Staying on the right side of regulations, along with CAN-SPAM and email best practices compliance will ultimately increase your campaign performance.

Exact Data sources consumer data from a national database with approximately 230 and telephone numbers paired with all of the technology and tools to search for your ideal audience in real-time. These records are updated frequently to ensure the optimal deliverability of your marketing message. The technology available to market via email and postal puts you in the driver's seat when it applies to who you want to reach and where you want to reach them.

Contact Exact Data today and learn how you can acquire new customers cost-effectively with highly targeted email, postal and phone lists. For nearly 20 years, the experts at Exact Data provide the service and data you can expect and trust. ​​