It’s important to follow CAN-SPAM compliance if your company is sending emails for any reason to a customer. Whether it's simple alerts like an appointment confirmation or a marketing message to promote a special offer, there are regulations in place to protect the consumer.
When you’re sending advertising or promotional messages, there is a specific set number of checkboxes with regards to CAN-SPAM that you need to abide by. Although, if you’re sending a message that’s transactional or relational, there’s a different set of rules.
However, all of these messages fall under CAN-SPAM compliance. We know it can be hard to keep track of all of the different rules and how they relate to one another. That’s why we put together this checklist for you: all of the CAN-SPAM rules your call center must follow!
1. No false or misleading information in the email header
This includes the reply-to address and the sender name associated with the email address. The email has to clearly depict who is sending the message. For example, you can't send an email message from Coca-Cola unless you work at Coca-Cola. It seems obvious, right? Well, before CAN-SPAM, this was a huge issue!
2. No false or deceptive subject lines
This is one particular area where many companies find themselves in trouble. The subject line has to be true and not deceptive. You can’t say things like “Click here for $1 million” or “Pay off your mortgage with one push of a button!” The subject line has to clearly communicate the main point of the message. It can't be bait and switch.
3. You need to include an opt-out or mechanism
A recipient receiving the email has to have the ability to opt-out of this type of message from you. We’ve all opted out of emails from senders we weren’t interested in, right? However, there's no stipulation about font sizes or placement or verbiage, et cetera. There simply has to be a link or some mechanism within the email itself. And it could be as simple as, “Reply with stop” or, “Reply with ‘unsubscribe’ to be removed from our list”. If a consumer chooses to exercise that unsubscribe or opt-out mechanism, the law stipulates that they have to be removed within 10 business days.
4. The sender needs to include a physical address
It has to be a valid postal address. There's the reasonable expectation that the recipient could send you a letter to that postal address telling you how awful you are for sending them these emails. It doesn't necessarily have to be a physical address, they don't have to be able to visit you. They just have to be able to get a letter to the address included in the email.
5. If it's an advertisement or solicitation, it needs to be identified as such
The language is very loose here. It doesn't have to be a flashing red light saying, “This is an advertisement!” in the subject line. There just has to be language suggesting that this is an advertisement, not an order confirmation or something similar. It follows what’s considered the “reasonable person standard,” which is that a reasonable person would have to be able to read that message and understand that it's an advertisement.
One thing about CAN-SPAM that’s unique compared to a lot of other regulations is that a state cannot supersede it with its own regulations. The law is written in a way that states can’t come out with tougher standards. It puts some parameters around email messaging and email marketing and is constructed so that it's self-governing, which is why providers like Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail have gotten so good at spam filtering.