By Tom Wozniak, Head of Marketing – published on the Performance Marketing Association blog on 9/3/20
Email is the old kid on the block when it comes to digital marketing. The channel has been around since 1978, when the very first unsolicited email marketing campaign was sent to about 400 recipients promoting a computer system. The campaign was a wild success by any standard, generating millions of dollars in revenue ($13-14 million according to the legend) and setting up email marketing as a return-on-investment champion for decades to come.
A lot has changed since those early days for the channel, from the way we access and engage with our inboxes, to the content and interactivity in the emails themselves. One major change to the email marketing landscape came in 2003, with the advent of the CAN-SPAM Act. Looking back on it 17 years later, we can see that the law not only put some checks and balances on the channel to give consumers more control over the messages they receive, but also providing marketers with a way to continue using email as a highly effective piece of their overall marketing strategies.
The law has been reviewed and updated slightly since 2003 (mainly increasing the potential fines to $43,280 per email found to be non-compliant – up from the original $10,000), but the main elements have remained largely unchanged, meaning that marketers have been able to develop a firm understanding of the rules of the road, as they adapt to the evolving capabilities of the channel. However, it’s useful to review the rules set out by CAN-SPAM upon occasion, to make sure your email campaigns are continuing to adhere to the guidelines.
With that in mind, below is a brief summary of the seven key components for your email program to remain compliant with CAN-SPAM, as laid out by the FTC.