E-mail marketing is a key component of most digital marketing strategies. One study measured the return on investment for e-mail marketing at 28.5% compared to 7% for direct mail. According to a different study by McKensey, the average order value is three times higher for e-mail marketing than for social media. Considering these statistics, along with the fact that the number of e-mail users worldwide is expected to reach 3 billion by 2020, e-mail marketing is clearly an important resource for businesses seeking to generate additional revenue. However, to effectively utilize an e-mail marketing campaign, businesses must comply with the applicable law regulating this activity, specifically the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act).
Although the name of the act may give the impression that the law covers what is commonly thought of as SPAM or “Junk e-mail”, the law actually covers all commercial e-mail messages. CAN-SPAM defines commercial messages as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” The law makes no exception for business-to-business e-mail, but does distinguish commercial e-mail messages from “transactional or relationship messages.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the main enforcement authority and can impose heavy fines for violations of the act. For example, each separate e-mail violation of the act is subject to penalties of up to $40,654. Non-compliance with CAN-SPAM can not only ruin your e-mail marketing campaign, but can do long-lasting damage to your business. To avoid that result, follow these seven steps by our data privacy lawyers to ensure compliance with CAN-SPAM:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines
- Identify the message as an advertisement
- Tell recipients where you are located
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future e-mail from you
- Honor opt-out requests promptly
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
E-mail marketing can be an effective aspect of a company’s digital marketing strategy, provided that the company complies with the CAN-SPAM Act.
If you enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy downloading our “E-book”