CAN-SPAM Act Refresher

Though the CAN-SPAM Act has been in effect since 2003, I have had several different firms in the last 6 months want to use purchased email lists—some of them compiled–with no knowledge of CAN-SPAM laws. It’s time for a quick refresher.

Each violation of the CAN-SPAM Act can result in up to a $16,000 fine, so a basic knowledge of this Act is imperative if you are an email marketer. The CAN-SPAM Act impacts commercial emails that are sent to email addresses in the USA. Other countries have specific email marketing laws, including the super-restrictive Canadian CASL laws.

The CAN-SPAM Act identifies two types of commercial email content that it covers:

  1. Transactional content –an email about a current or already agreed-upon transaction.
  2. Commercial content- which advertises or promotes a commercial product, service or website.

Some of the basics of the CAN-SPAM Act, which established requirements so email recipients can opt out of commercial emails, include that marketing emails must:

  1. Not include false or misleading header information.
  2. Have non-deceptive subject lines.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell the recipients where you are located.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of future emails.
  6. Promptly remove people who opt out.

As email response rates on our internal databases are dropping, it is tempting to purchase the many compiled email lists are available today. Be careful! Using many of these lists will put you in violation of the CAN-SPAM laws, get extremely low response rates, and can get your IP address blacklisted. An upcoming blog post will give some suggestions about how you can legally use and improve response rates on purchased lists.

The journey continues.


Disclaimer: I am a marketer, not an attorney. The information in this post should not be construed as legal advice. This is my interpretation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Lightening the Virtual Load

When laptop computers were revolutionary, I had a boss who actually said that he deleted unused files so that his computer wouldn’t get too heavy. And he was serious!

Today with never-ending emails, cross promotional emails, enewsletters, blogs, and a myriad of social media streams, I have experienced how they can be virtually heavy, overwhelming. Here are a couple tricks I use to keep the information-flow relevant:

  1. At the beginning of each quarter, I delete incoming enewsletters that I no longer read.
  2. I opt out of ads that I never use, or limit the frequency to weekly rather than daily.
  3. If a blog has become stale, I stop following it.
  4. If someone continually posts nasty, inappropriate, complaining Facebook posts, I have become ruthless in unfollowing or hiding their posts. This has made for a more enjoyable newsfeed…and I have not missed any of those deletions. And I am pickier in who I choose to follow.
  5. I follow more brands on Twitter than Facebook.
  6. Some people use a different email address for their online purchases, but I would never remember to check that secondary email address.

How many social media streams can one person follow? And just because i purchase one item from your website –especially if a gift–does not mean I want to be inundated with thrice-daily advertisements and encouragement to purchase more. I am more likely to totally delete those emails.

How do you keep control of your inbox and your social media outlets?

The journey continues.


Audience Development Role Today

The role of audience development has been getting press, with the impact it has on customer relations and the bottom line for organizations. As an audience development/marketing consultant, I currently work mainly with media companies, though I have done consulting with a variety of businesses including a moving company, recruiters, and other consultants.

The transition from ” magazine publisher” to “media company” to (for some) “information providers” came as technology improved, brand components increased, advertisers demanded additional information about leads, and readers/customers splintered in how they want to receive information.

What does your brand consist of today? Next year? Five years from now?

Here is a list of many of the products that each media brand can consist of:

  • Magazines– print and/or digital version
  • Enewsletters
  • Online events including webinars and online trade shows
  • Website member registration
  • Social media groups
  • Lead generation
  • Association membership
  • Proprietary research
  • White papers
  • App downloads
  • YouTube and online channels
  • List rental
  • Reprints

That is a lot of components to coordinate! and often “owned” by different departments! The revenue generated by each item also fluctuates, impacting the focus it gets within an organization.

Audience development is often the department that reaches to other groups to coordinate technology, efforts, data, and messaging. Its role is critical for all media companies as brand components continue to expand. And as we try to tie together items on the above list on the data and marketing front, audience development is often the role that looks at both the big picture of the benefits/costs/ways to put all this together as well as diving into the nitty gritty data details.  It’s what keeps the job interesting…and critical…today.

The journey continue.