Disclaimer: The materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
Although email compliance in the U.S. is more permissive than SMS compliance, there are still a number of important rules that govern how you can and cannot use email marketing for your business. The CAN-SPAM Act, a federal law, requires that you:
- Use accurate and self-identifying details in your From, To, Reply-To, and other email header fields. Routing information, including the originating domain name and email address, must also be accurate.
- Be honest in your subject lines. The subject line in any email you send should accurately reflect the content of the email.
- Make it clear that you’re sending marketing content. You can do this in many different ways, but you must make it clear to subscribers -- early in the email -- that you’re sending them marketing content.
- Include the postal address of your business. You can use your current street address, a post office box address you previously registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency.
- Make it clear how to opt-out of email marketing content from you. Your opt-out language must tell subscribers how they can opt-out of marketing email content from you, and you must explain your opt-out process in such a way that an ordinary person would understand it. You can provide a return email address to opt-out, or another easy internet-based way to opt-out. Also, ensure that your spam filter does not block opt-out requests.
- If a subscriber opts-out, honor their request promptly. Any opt-out process that you provide must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send the initial message. When subscribers opt-out of email marketing from you, you must honor their request within ten business days. When a subscriber opts-out, you cannot:
- Charge a fee
- Require that the subscriber give you any personally identifying information beyond their email address
- Require the subscriber take any other step than sending a reply email or visiting a single webpage
- Sell or transfer their email address to another company, even in the form of a mailing list. You can transfer the email address to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Be aware of what others are doing on your behalf. If you hired a separate company to run your email marketing program, both you and the company you hired are legally responsible for marketing content you send to subscribers.