Are Your Email Practices Abiding with CAN-SPAM?

Written by , Contributor for the ExactTarget Blog

While CAN-SPAM may be old-hat to many email marketers, this industry is one of rapid change and growth with new faces joining every day. Because of this, it’s always good to brush up on the requirements and keep current.

What is CAN-SPAM and what does it stand for?
The CAN-SPAM Act regulates commercial email messages sent in the United States. The acronym stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.

What are the different kinds of messages sent via email?

  • Commercial – A message you send with the main purpose being advertisement or promotion of your company. This must follow CAN-SPAM requirements.
  • Transactional – A message your customer would be expecting because of a transaction they have just made with you, such as a receipt or confirmation email. These emails areexempt from most CAN-SPAM compliance.
  • Other – Direct one-to-one email communication. These emails are also exempt from CAN-SPAM.

How do I comply with CAN-SPAM?
Here are seven easy ways to make sure you aren’t spamming:

  1. Provide an unsubscribe option.
  2. Honor opt-outs within 10 business days.
  3. Use legitimate “from” email addresses.
  4. Don’t use deceitful subject lines or headers.
  5. Display your mailing address.
  6. The message should contain at least one sentence.
  7. Monitor your messaging (especially if you contract this out).

Keep out of SPAM folders
One good rule of thumb all email marketers should follow is do not, under any circumstances, buy email lists. Allow your recipients to opt-in to your messaging through a sign up on your website, social media, or another permission-based method. If recipients of your email didn’t ask for it, they will often flag it as SPAM. This affects your overall deliverability—which means your email never hits all the inboxes you want.


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