Are you spamming?

Newsletters are a fantastic and fast way to get information out into the world of potential or current clients. An important question often asked by businesses preparing to release newsletter campaigns is, how do we avoid our newsletters being labeled as spam?
There is no simple answer. While your e-mails may pass the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act, the recipients may take no more kindly to your newsletters than they would every day spam.

What is the CAN-SPAM Act?
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law put into place to set rules and necessities for commercial email. Rest assured that any business with good intentions can easily follow the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act without sacrificing newsletter content or volume.

1. Clearly identify who you are.
Use an accurate originating domain name and email address that will identify the person or business that is sending the newsletter.

2. Use truthful and accurate e-mail subject lines.
Be sure that the subject of your e-mail reflects the content of the message that is being sent out and doesn’t attempt to trick the recipient into opening the email.

3. Identify the e-mail as an ad or newsletter.
This is pretty straightforward and recipients will appreciate it. Be honest about what you are sending out!

4. Include your valid postal address.
Tell people where you are located. This can be your business street address, a PO Box registered with the U.S. Postal service for your business or a private mailbox that has been registered to receive commercial mail under Postal Service regulations.

5. Provide an option for recipients to opt out of receiving future emails.
It is vital that you and your business respect the wishes of those you are sending e-mail advertisements to and always provide an easy to find explanation of how they may choose to no longer receive e-mails from you.

6. Do not delay in honoring opt-out requests.
If a recipient chooses to no longer receive e-mails from your business, it is imperative that their request be met. Your newsletter manager must be able to process opt-out requests at least 30 days after the newsletter has been sent. An opt-out request must be honored within 10 business days.

You may not charge them a fee, request any personally identifying beyond an email address, or force them to take any other steps other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page to make their opt-out request. You cannot sell or transfer the email addresses of people who have opted out of receiving emails from your business.

7. Be sure to monitor what others are doing on behalf of your business.
If you decide to hire another company to take over your business’ e-mail marketing, your business will still be held responsible for whether or not your advertisements comply with the law.

As I mentioned above, even as you ensure that your e-mail advertisements comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, the receivers of your newsletters may still be less than pleased to see your e-mails in their inbox.

Trust is beyond essential when it comes to the relationship between a business and its clients. Having your newsletter disregarded as spam does a lot to damage that trust.
There are a few guidelines you can apply to your e-mail advertisements to both respect your customers and avoid being labeled as spam senders.

Just as you must provide an “opt-out” option, provide an opt-IN option as well.
Offering a clear option to receive newsletters from you business is arguably the best way to build a list of clients who WANT the information your e-mail advertisements provide.

Be honest about how many e-mails you send out.
A person may be interested in receiving newsletters from you, but not want to receive an e-mail every week. Consider creating different e-mail advertisement campaigns and providing options (weekly or monthly) that people may choose from to ensure that they are receiving exactly what they would like.

Above all, respect the requests you are sent!
If a user asks to be removed from your email list, honor their request. We have all felt the frustration of repeatedly asking to be removed from a call list only to get more calls from the same company. Disregarding requests to opt-out will quickly lead to your business being reported as “a spam sender”

Effective e-mail advertising can be boiled down to one simple rule:

Always provide information to those who want it, and do not bother those who don’t.

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