Business Marketing 101: What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

If you are responsible for marketing your business, then you should know that there is a right and a wrong way to market. Not only can marketing the wrong way deter potential customers from your brand, but it can also result in some serious legal consequences. If you are not familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act, then you should bone up on your knowledge right away, before you cross any legal boundaries with your marketing. What is the CAN-SPAM Act? Read on to find out:

What does the CAN-SPAM Act encompass? Using the language of the law, this act pertains to “all commercial messages,” further defined as any electronically sent message (email message) whose primary purpose is to promote, advertise, or otherwise market a commercial good or service. This even goes so far as to include any electronic messages that simply point recipients to a website that is commercial in nature. The CAN-SPAM Act regulates email marketing messages in every aspect, from verbiage to identifying information. The specifics are outlined below.

Your marketing messages must be clear. Clarity in your messages is first and foremost. You must identify your business (accurately and fully) as the sender of the electronic message (including the originating email address and domain name), and your business address must be included in a footer at the bottom of the message. The subject line must pertain directly to the nature and scope of the message (no teaser lines). Additionally, the message itself must state, very clearly, that it is in fact an advertisement.

The opt out. Every single one of your electronic marketing messages must contain explicit instructions for how recipients can choose to opt out from receiving marketing messages in the future. This must include an email address, or a direct link, that recipients can access on an immediate basis if they wish to opt out. Additionally, you must respond to opt out requests promptly (within ten business days), and cannot obligate recipients to any further actions to opt out.

Consequences for not adhering to CAN-SPAM guidelines. Violating the CAN-SPAM Act may prove to be very costly for your business (for every instance of non-compliance your business may be fined upwards of $16,000); therefore, you owe it to yourself and your business to learn as much as you can about the regulations set forth by the act, and you should conform every step of the way. Furthermore, these penalties apply to you even if you hire another company to handle your electronic marketing. That means that you will pay the price for any mistakes they make, so be sure to monitor all third-party marketing activity on your behalf.

As you can see, the CAN-SPAM Act is serious business. Not knowing and obeying the rules could be extremely detrimental to your well-being, so don’t waste any time in educating yourself.

About the Author: Annita Blackham is a small business counselor who enjoys helping entrepreneurs learn how to launch businesses and create marketing plans. If you’re looking to finance your small business venture or purchase stock, consider a business cash advance from Kabbage to get you by.

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