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Is Your Email Marketing Campaign Legal?

Is email marketing a part of your business? In 2003, the CAN-SPAM Act was created to establish a set of standards for businesses that send commercial emails. These standards don’t apply just to bulk email, but also to all commercial messages or advertisements. Non-compliance with the CAN-SPAM standards can result in hefty fines for each separate email that was sent. Here are some tips to help ensure you are meeting the requirements.

1. Make sure the subject of your email is clear

Be honest! Misleading or false information with get you a high complaint rate, so the best advice is to be clear that your message is an advertisement. If your goal is to just establish a relationship, then be up front about that, too. Make sure your subject line is obvious about the reason for the email, but also reinforce it within the content of the email as well. Better safe than sorry!

2. Clearly identify who you are

The “From” and “Reply-to” email addresses need to be accurate, functional, and clearly identify the sender of the message. Many spammers user one-off free email addresses, so by using a company-based email address will go a long way in ensuring that you are properly identified.

3. Share your location

The email recipient should have the opportunity to locate you. You must provide your business’ physical street address, PO Box, or private mailbox capable of receiving commercial mail. Also consider add a link to your contact page on your website so the person can connect with you.

4. Tell them how to opt-out of your email marketing campaign

A big talking point regarding the CAN-SPAM Act is the opportunity for your recipients to unsubscribe, or opt-out, from any future mailings. The direction to unsubscribe must be clearly visible and with legible font and color. Regardless of whatever method you use to provide the opt-out, be sure to test that it works properly.


The last thing you want is a high complaint rate, which could flag your email address or domain as being a spam generator. By using the above tips, you can make sure your email campaign is legit and follow the guidelines set forth by the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act.


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