Canada recently passed a CAN-SPAM Act that will affect all marketers sending emails to Canada. All electronic mail messages with the primary purpose of advertisement or promotions, including business-to-business emails, must comply with this new law. For those unfamiliar with the CAN-SPAM Act, it’s essentially a set of laws that can be very costly if ignored.
Below are seven must-know facts about the new CAN-SPAM Act. Failure to comply may lead to a penalty of up to $16,000 per separate email.
- Use accurate and true header information
- Your header information including your “From”, “To”, “Reply-To,” email address, and domain name must be accurate and true.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
- The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- The message must disclose clearly and conspicuously that it is an advertisement.
- Include your physical address.
- Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This includes street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
- Must have a clear opt-out option
- Your message must include a clear and simple unsubscribe method for your recipients to opt-out of future emails.
- Timely opt-out requests.
- You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single webpage as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
- The law makes it clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.
Avoid unwanted fees from not being CAN-SPAM compliant with the seven tips I’ve discussed above.