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If you think you know what spam is, you may be wrong.
Most people think spam is limited to mass mailing of scams and garbage. That is NOT the case. Spam is simply stated, unsolicited email. We aren't lawyers, so if you are concerned about your practices we recommend you contact a lawyer.
What if I hire someone else to run my email campaigns?
Email marketing programs are great, if they comply with spam law. Make sure they do, as you are ultimately responsible for mail sent from your domain.
How can I send CAN-SPAM compliant email?
Again, we aren't lawyers, but we can give you a few pointers
1) Only send email to people that have asked you to send them mail. They can ask in a variety of ways, a form on your site, a business card in a box marked, "join our mailing list," verbally, etc...
2) Make sure your email has an "unsubscribe" on it. It doesn't matter where, but don't hide it, and don't make the unsubscribe unnecessarily confusing. The law gives you 10 days to remove that address from your list, but please remove the address immediately. Never send them another email ever again, unless they change their mind and ask you to resume. You absolutely may not charge money to remove people from the list.
3) Put your business address somewhere in the email. This can be a physical address or a PO Box. People are more comfortable with you when they see an address. A phone number is excellent too.
4) Don't buy, sell, or trade email lists. DO NOT send email to recipients you don't know. That is not what email marketing is. You can't send email to people who don't know of you, and have asked to receive it. Effective email marketing sends helpful email to existing customers (or potential customers who have expressed interest). It doesn't blast the same boring email to gobs of people hoping for a bite.
Is there anything else I can do?
Some simple items that can help protect/restore your reputation are:
1) Include a descriptive, "non-spammy" subject line for your email. This is difficult to judge, but if you see combinations of words in spam emails you have received, then you probably don't want to use them when you send email.
2) Make sure you have a simple, well formatted signature on the email. We don't recommend images as they can become broken links or some email programs will convert them to attachments. Some things you may want to include are, name, company, title, phone, email, and physical address. You do not need to put everything in there, and you can use other information if it is appropriate. Try to keep the signature to a maximum of 7 lines. Also, we suggest that you maintain at least 2 signatures. The first for new messages and a second, scaled down version for replies. This scaled down version might just be your name and preferred contact point, being a phone or email.
3) Overuse of HTML elements. If you need to use some HTML in your email that it fine, but placing html ads in your emails, especially if the information is not directly relevant to the content of the email, is not a good idea.
4) Even if they are your customers and want your emails, don't send them the same offers over and over again. Depending on your business, 1 or 2 times a month is more than enough. If you annoy them with a constant barrage of messages, they will likely begin to mark you as spam.
5) Unless you are directly marketing to children, not their parents, do not use animated images in your email. Use an easy to read, professional font, not Comic Sans, or other whimsical font.
If you have question of law, please consult your attorney. If you have general questions, we will do our best to help you.