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How to Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act (8 Tips to Do It Right)

The CAN-SPAM Act is a set of rules and regulations determining what is classified as spam and what can get your server’s IP address blacklisted. In 2008, several new adoptions were implemented to protect the average consumer from this act. It is a set of rules many ISPs, and web hosts use to govern email usage.

With billions of emails out there, it’s no surprise that some get flagged from time to time. Unfortunately, this can be extremely costly to your business when it happens. The last thing you want is for your email to be flagged by significant corporations and online filters. A negative report from services like Spamhaus will prevent emails from being sent from your domain name.

In this tutorial, we’re going to go over the basics of how you can make sure your email messages are not considered spam. Following these rules will significantly reduce your risks of being blacklisted or suffering negative backlash from the online community.

How to Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act

You’ve likely heard of the CAN-SPAM act, but are you in compliance? Most business owners don’t know that there are rules for email marketing and creating a compliant email list. Even fewer know the steps required to comply with those requirements.

We’ve put together a list with 8 essential tips for following the CAN-SPAM act.

1) Don’t Buy Email Lists

Many mailing lists are created by scraping a website for public contact information. It doesn’t matter if the individual is open to solicitation or not. And this is what causes the problem – it’s a quick way to give your brand a reputation as a “spammer.”

Building an email list is always a good idea. Adding email subscribers to your site makes it easier to engage and deepen customer relationships and promote products and drive sales.
The best way to build up that subscriber list is by giving away something relevant, whether in exchange for the visitor’s email address or any other piece of information they can share with you.

2) Don’t Use False or Misleading Header Information

Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.

3) Don’t Use Deceptive Subject Lines

The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message. Being deceptive in the subject line can annoy recipients and ensure the message is caught in a spam trap.

4) Disclose if the Message is an Ad

You must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement. If people expect a message to be an ad, they are more likely to treat it as such.

5) Provide Contact Information

Displaying your business’ physical address is an excellent way to reduce looking spammy. This gives everyone a clear view of how they can contact you. This provides a sense of legitimacy to the message.

6) Allow Recipients to “Opt-out” of Receiving Future Email From You

One of the essential rules of email marketing is ensuring recipients can opt-out (Unsubscribe) of future emails. Not everyone is receptive to email marketing; some may simply change their mind about your content.

7) Honor Opt-out Requests Promptly

When providing an opt-out link, make sure it’s honored. If someone leaves your mailing list and still receives emails from you, the person may file a complaint against your domain with spam filtering agencies. The result is a blacklisted domain.

8) Pay Close Attention to your Domain’s Email Activity

Keep an eye on what messages are sent from your domain. You want to ensure everyone using your domain to send emails is doing so according to the CAN-SPAM act.

Users are not the only ones who can take advantage of your domain, either. Some malware is capable of using your mailing servers for spamming others.

Suppose you don’t have the time to keep an eye on your server’s outgoing email activity. In that case, you can consider using an automated outgoing email filtering service and protect your server’s IP reputation.

If you’re using a mail client to send emails, ensure your anti-virus software is active and up to date. The last thing you want is for your domain to be flagged by Spamhaus because one computer on your network is infected with spamming malware.

Use Email Responsibly

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools available. Hundreds of thousands of emails are sent out to recipients every second of the day, with many using it as their primary channel for business. However, a saturated inbox can make your emails drop off quickly and lead to spam blacklists or false positives.

By following best practices, you can ensure that each email you send receives a high open rate and is not perceived as spam.




Updated on October 17, 2022

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