7 Things You Must Knows About CAN SPAM Email Requirements | Mirabel (2022)

We’ve all been there. Standing in line for a cup of overpriced coffee, reluctantly deciding to click on the little envelope icon on our smartphones because we know exactly what’s coming: a flood of emails with everything from sales on shoes from a store you barely remember visiting to deals on yoga classes that never seem to stop coming in after you innocently attended a studio’s free week trial. After a certain point, you stop deleting these messages altogether.

So, how do marketers make sure that their content lands in your inbox rather than beingshunned to the spam folder?The complexities of what seems to be an easy way to reach audiences may surprise you.

In the increasingly digital world we live in, companies rely on tools like email marketing to get the word out about their latest and greatest offerings. It’s a great way to reach audiences directly with multimedia and catered calls to action. And, it allows a business to remain at a customer’s top-of-mind while gaining traction in a calculated way that can be measured and analyzed.

Download FreeWhite Paper Now: A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing

The only catch?Compliance.

Many marketers and content creators remain in the dark when it comes to the legalities of email marketing content. In fact, most are unaware that some pretty strict email laws exist, limiting what can and can’t be done.

(Video) What is Email Marketing - Can Spam Law & How Does it Works? - Lesson 2

Whatarethe boundaries of email marketing, and how often do companies cross the line from legal to illegal? How will these email marketing regulations affect your business on a day-to-day basis?

When considering email marketing as an outreach tactic, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations that can turn your company’s innocent approach into a legal nightmare. Let’s start by exploring the different components of an average user’s email inbox.

The Anatomy of an Email Inbox

In order to understand what makes a marketer’s email legal or illegal, we need to address the different types of emails that the average consumer encounters on a daily basis.

The fact is thatmore than 50%of the emails a person receives on a given day are categorized as “promotional material.” It’s no wonder consumers often feel lost in a whirlpool of messages that seem to drown out one another. All of the businesses someone has supported in the past are competing for attention the minute anemail inbox gets opened. Knowing this information can impact how your own company pursues its outreach.

7 Things You Must Knows About CAN SPAM Email Requirements | Mirabel (1)

One of the most valuable facets of promotional email marketing is permission. Yes, it’s definitely important to understand your audience and develop a specific call to action, but at the end of the day, without the permission and interest of your audience members, your emails go against their wants and might even break some laws, too.

Opening up a CAN of SPAM

The CAN-SPAM Actsets regulations for commercial messages, as well as gives email recipients the right to unsubscribe. A company that disobeys these regulations can be subject to some incredibly steep fines. By establishing a clear set of guidelines, this law aims to ensure that companies remain compliant throughout all of their email marketing endeavors.

(Video) Is Your EMAIL MARKETING COMPLIANT to International Laws like GDPR, CAN-SPAM & Anti-Spam Legislation?

What are these CAN-SPAM email requirements?

When it comes to taking a closer look at the “ingredients” of the CAN-SPAM Act, seven is the lucky number. In order to make sure your business is compliant with all parts of the CAN-SPAM Act, it’s important to understand the basics behind the regulations. Here’s a breakdown of what this law means for your company’s email marketing strategy:

  1. Avoid using a misleading header for your emails

Each email’s header needs to contain the correct information for the intended recipient. An email sent by your company should always address the right person or business who initially started the conversation. This means that your “To,” “From,” and routing information need to be accurate every time you press “send.”

  1. Make sure your email’s subject line matches the content it contains

Your email’s content should match the subject line you choose.The subject line should always be an accurate representationof what’s to come once your recipient opens the message. Think of the email subject as an appetizer before the main course is served!

  1. Address the fact that your message is an ad

It’s important to clearly convey the goal of your content as an ad. At the end of the day, most consumers understand that the goal of your email is to drive them to your company’s website or storefront. There’s no reason to pretend to be something that you’re not.

  1. Include your business’s address in all messages

This one’s simple, yet sometimes forgotten. Be sure to include your company’s valid physical postal address. Make sure your email recipients know exactly who you are and where they can find you.

  1. Give your recipients an option to unsubscribe

Every message you send out must include an obvious unsubscribe link to opt-out of future emails from your company. Be sure to craft this in a way that is creative and logical to your audience. It should be legible and easily recognizable!

  1. Be sure to actually unsubscribe those who choose to do so

Any opt-out you offer must be able to process requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. This request must be honored within 10 business days; a solid CRM platform with email marketing automation will be able to handle this automatically. Lastly, be sure you aren’t charging a fee or asking for any additional personal information, and that you do not sell their email addresses in the future.

(Video) GDPR? CASL? CAN-SPAM? What you need to know about international email.

  1. Be wary of what others are saying about your company

The last thing to be mindful of is to make sure you are monitoring what other people you hire are saying and sending on your company’s behalf. At the end of the day, your company is responsible for the actions and messages that any of your marketing affiliates commit and produce. Both the party responsible for sending marketing emails and the company being promoted are at risk when dealing with law compliance issues.

What’s the Deal with Cold Emails?

Now that we’ve gone through some anti-spam laws, let’s think about the concept of“cold-emailing.”A common misconception is that it’s illegal to send cold emails. If you make sure to follow each of the laws above when sending out emails, then you should be safe from the fines and headache at risk. For sales outreach, cold emails can lead to new opportunities and active audience members for your company.

So, how can you tell between a cold email and spam?

In order to decipher between these two close classifications, look for certain defining characteristics. A successful cold email will:

  • Includeintentional and personalized contactwith an individual.
  • Communicate information that isvaluableand does not rely solely on automated content.
  • Aim to foster a trusting relationship with the recipient.
  • Comply with all components of theCAN-SPAM Actand offer an opt-out or unsubscribe option.

7 Things You Must Knows About CAN SPAM Email Requirements | Mirabel (2)

International Anti-Spam & Data Protection Laws

While the CAN-SPAM act is specific to the United States, it’s important to note that there are similar anti-spam and data protection laws across the globe — most notably in Europe and Canada. Although based in other countries, if a company in the U.S. does business internationally, that company must comply with international law or be held liable.

General Data Protection Regulation

Europe’s version of the CAN-SPAM Act, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was enacted in 2018 to overhaul how businesses protect and handle data. Lauded as a progressive approach to handling personal data, this data protection law covers all the European Union states.

Here are theGDPR requirements:

(Video) Understanding the CAN-SPAM ACT is Easy

  1. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency: Collect data in a lawful, fair, and transparent manner.
  2. Purpose limitation:Data is collected for specific, explicit, and legitimate purposes, and cannot be further processed.
  3. Data minimization: Only collect personal information that is adequate, relevant, and absolutely necessary.
  4. Accuracy: Personal data should be accurate and up-to-date; reasonable steps must be taken to either erase or rectify inaccurate data.
  5. Storage limitation: Personal data should be stored no longer than is necessary for original purpose. Data may be stored longer solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes, or statistical purposes.
  6. Integrity and confidentiality: Collected data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security and protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing, accidental loss of information, or destruction or damage.
  7. Accountability: Those who have collected the personal data — the “Controllers” — must show compliance and be held responsible.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

Widely considered the world’s strongest set of data protection regulations, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) sets clear requirements for all commercial email messages. Similar to other regulations, CASL requires businesses to identify themselves and provide the option to opt-out of certain communications.

What sets CASL apart is the requirement for people to“opt-in”to receive messages from brands. In other words, brands can only send emails to people who’ve expressed consent to receive messages from them. CASL recognizes two types of consent:

  1. Express consent: A person gives explicit verbal or written consent to receive emails from a company. There is no expiration date for this consent; it is valid until the person withdraws their consent.
  2. Implied consent: Certain activities, such as purchasing a product or inquiring about a service, can imply consent to receive emails from marketers. Unlike express consent, implied consent can expire. Implied consent for a purchase is valid for two years, and implied consent for an inquiry is valid for six months. Consent can be renewed by the recipient purchasing another product or inquiring about a service again.

It is up to the company to keep a record of acquired permissions from subscribers including when and where the consents were gathered. If a company is found in violation of CASL, the recipient of that email is able to sue the sender.

Here are all theCASL requirements:

  1. A company must provide identifying information: business name, postal address, and either a phone number or email address.
  2. The sender can only email people who have given either express or implied consent to receive emails.
  3. Records of consents, including date, manner, and location, must be kept.
  4. Contacts must be removed from mailing lists as soon as their consent expires.
  5. All corporate email messages must include an unsubscribe option, and unsubscribe requests must be honored within 10 business days.

Final Thoughts

The last thing you want to deal with is the potential fines your business can face by failing to follow the compliance terms of anti-spam and data protection laws like the CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR, and CASL.

The bright side to all of this is that compliance ensures that your marketers and sales reps can focus on content creation and outreach that will result in higher response and engagement rates.

By following these guidelines, your team will be able to reach people who are actually interested in your company’s mission. By honing in on the value created by trusted relationships with your recipients, you increase your chances of making a sale or securing a devoted follower of your brand.

(Video) DFY (Done For You) Email Marketing

Kathleen Thieme contributed to this blog.

To learn more about the basics of email marketing, download A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing by Mirabel’s Marketing Manager. Click on the button below to download your copy:


What are the elements of Can-Spam? ›

Overview of the CAN-SPAM Act
  • No false or misleading header information.
  • No deceptive subject lines.
  • Inclusion of an opt-out mechanism.
  • Inclusion of the sender's valid physical postal address.
  • Identification of the message as an advertisement or solicitation.

Why is it important to follow CAN-SPAM guidelines? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act sets up rules that businesses need to follow when they're emailing potential customers. It is intended to make it easier for customers to avoid marketing that they don't want to receive.

What type of emails are prohibited by the Canned SPAM Act? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act doesn't apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service”, including email that promotes content on commercial websites.

Which of the following is required under the CAN-SPAM Act? ›

CAN-SPAM requires that the following must be included in all commercial e-mails: 1) a legitimate return e-mail and physical postal address; 2) a clear and conspicuous notice of the recipient's opportunity to “opt-out,” that is, to decline to receive any future messages; 3) an e-mail address or other mechanism (active ...

CAN-SPAM consent requirements? ›

CHRISTOPHER: The CAN-SPAM Act doesn't require initiators of commercial email to get recipients' consent before sending them commercial email. In other words, there is no opt-in requirement.

CAN-SPAM examples? ›

Some examples are promotions, sales emails, newsletters, and anything else that has commercial intent. 2) Transactional or relationship content — which provides the recipient with information related to a recent event/transaction. Some examples are order receipts, shipping notifications, and password resets.

CAN-SPAM email best practices? ›

More on CAN-SPAM compliance and content

Your header information must be accurate. The “From” name must identify your company and the “To” name and “Reply-To” information must be accurate along with the originating domain and email address. Your subject line can't be deceptive and must identify the email as an ad.

What two factors define an email as SPAM? ›

An electronic message is "spam" if (A) the recipient's personal identity and context are irrelevant because the message is equally applicable to many other potential recipients; AND (B) the recipient has not verifiably granted deliberate, explicit, and still-revocable permission for it to be sent.

Who does CAN-SPAM apply to? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act requires the Commission to issue regulations “defining the relevant criteria to facilitate the determination of the primary purpose of an electronic mail message.” The CAN-SPAM Act applies almost exclusively to “commercial electronic mail messages”.

CAN-SPAM meaning? ›

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM) is a law that establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law.

Does CAN-SPAM apply to social media? ›

It means that if you send an advertising message to individual users through social media sites, you have to fulfill the obligations of the CAN-SPAM Act. This also would apply to automatic, unsolicited messages sent to social media users telling them about content available on a more traditional site.

What is a CAN-SPAM violation? ›

Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act to address the problem of unwanted commercial electronic mail messages. The CAN-SPAM Act requires the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules with regard to commercial e-mail and some text messages sent to wireless devices such as cell phones—not email in general.

What is the potential penalty for violating the CAN-SPAM Act? ›

If you send commercial emails of any kind, the CAN-SPAM Act applies to you. And if you're in violation, you could be reported to the FTC and face fines of up to $16,000 for each separate email sent!

CAN-SPAM be a complaint? ›

Finally, if you believe that a company is still sending you unwanted e-mails after you've notified them in writing to stop, you can file a complaint with the FTC by going to FTCComplaintAssistant.gov, and contact the Attorney General's office in your state to learn about local anti-spam laws and your rights.

Which of the following is required under the CAN-SPAM Act quizlet? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits sending false or misleading information, prohibits the use of deceptive subject lines, mandates the inclusion of an opt-out method, and mandates that commercial e-mail must be identified as an ad and include the sender's physical postal address.

Do you need permission to send marketing emails? ›

Most country's email marketing laws stipulate that people need to give you permission to email them in order for you to send them campaigns. The definition of permission varies between each country's laws, but there are generally two types of permission: implied permission and express permission.

CAN-SPAM record retention requirements? ›

These record retention rules require lawyers to retain copies of all advertisements in addition to information concerning where and when the advertisements were used. Periods of the required retention range from two to 10 years.

Does CAN-SPAM apply to individual emails? ›

Bush signed CAN-SPAM into law to help protect U.S. consumers from malicious, unsolicited email. The acronym stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing.” The Act applies to any commercial electronic message to U.S. recipients — B2C and B2B.

CAN-SPAM Act initiator requirements? ›

initiators of commercial emails and require that the email message may not contain false or misleading transmission information or a deceptive subject heading; but must contain a valid postal address, a working opt-out link, and proper identification of the message's commercial or sexually explicit nature.

Does CAN-SPAM apply to push notifications? ›

CAN-SPAM was signed at a time when SMS messages and push notifications were not in the public dialog. SMS falls under a peculiar category. The FTC is allowed to make rules on SMS advertising through CAN-SPAM.

CAN-SPAM opt out examples? ›

For example: “You are receiving this business communication from [Business Name] as you have expressed your interest in [our products and services]. If you no longer wish to receive these communications, you can unsubscribe by clicking here”.

CAN-SPAM 10 business days? ›

This longer time frame may irk some consumers, but as long as the person who opted-out is removed from your list within 10 business days, you are compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act. Once the consumer's email is removed from the list, you are not permitted to use it, transfer it or sell it from that moment forward.

CAN-SPAM refer a friend? ›

According to the FTC, where a person forwards (or uses a web-based mechanism to transmit) a commercial message to "friend," the original sender would be responsible for CAN-SPAM compliance with respect to that "friend" if the person who forwards the messages receives money, coupons, discounts, awards, additional ...

Is unsubscribe a legal requirement? ›

This law, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, states clearly that you must include a clearly obvious way for subscribers to opt out of your commercial messages: Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.

CAN-SPAM opt out expiration? ›

Tracking unsubscribe requests - Unsubscribe requests never expire. You must honor all opt-out requests indefinitely, regardless of future mailing platforms, unless you receive a new explicit opt-in request for that address.

Is emailing someone illegal? ›

Sending the email is not illegal.

What are the three forms of spamming? ›

Four Common Types of Spam and Tips to Identify Them
  • Phishing. Phishing is the most common form of spam. ...
  • Vishing. Vishing is similar to phishing, except it happens over the phone. ...
  • Baiting. Baiting, similar to phishing, involves offering something enticing in exchange for your login information or private data. ...
  • Quid Pro Quo.
8 Oct 2020

What is the most common form of spam? ›

Ads. This is one of the most common types of spam. I bet you've already received several unsolicited emails offering products and services, such as weight loss pills and tennis offers. In many cases it may be a scam but the offer may also be real.

What are the common characteristics of spam? ›

Qualities that distinguish spam:

It has a broadcasted, rather than targeted, message. It suits the purposes of the sender rather than the receiver. Most important, the message is distributed without the explicit permission of the recipients.

In which year was the CAN-SPAM Act passed? ›

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 or the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 - (Sec.

Is SPAM protected by the First Amendment? ›

Governments have tried to address adult content in spam

The federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 banned the transmission of obscene or indecent communications to persons under 18 years old. However, in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997) the Supreme Court ruled that the act violated the First Amendment.

How do I report spam email? ›

How To Report Phishing
  1. If you got a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org .
  2. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726).
  3. Report the phishing attempt to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

How do I sue a spammer? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act does not give consumers who have received spam email standing to file a private lawsuit for damages. Instead, private citizens must rely on the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") or state attorneys general to sue on their behalf to recover damages, impose civil penalties, or impose injunctions.

CAN-SPAM Laws 2022? ›

Senders must not email recipients who have previously opted out of their communication. Senders must honor and remove opt-outs from their email list within 10 business days. Each email sent must have an opt-out mechanism that makes it easy for consumers to opt out of all future mailings.

Does CAN-SPAM apply to business to business? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act applies to B2B advertisements, just as it does to B2C. The impact will be that business recipients must be afforded the opportunity to remove themselves from marketing lists (opt out) just as consumers.

CAN-SPAM and surveys? ›

E-mails containing opinion and research surveys may fall outside the scope of CAN-SPAM, but if any such message contains advertising or promotes a company, product, or service, it may be primarily commercial and thus subject to CAN-SPAM requirements.

What is an example of a spam email? ›

Email messages you did not ask for from senders you don't know. Unsolicited commercial email messages sent in bulk, often using a purchased (or stolen) mailing list that includes your address.

How do you stop spam? ›

Filter Out Spammers

On an Android phone, you can disable all potential spam messages from Google's Messages app(Opens in a new window). Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right of the app and select Settings > Spam protection and turn on the Enable spam protection switch.

How do you get rid of spam? ›

Go to Settings and tap on Messages. Scroll down to Filter Unknown Senders and toggle the setting on. If you are an Android user, open your phone app and tap on the three-dot icon and choose Settings. Under Settings, enable Caller ID & Spam.

What type of emails are prohibited by the CAN-SPAM Act quizlet? ›

What is prohibited by the CAN-SPAM Act? This Act prohibits sending unwanted "commercial" e-mail messages" to wireless devices without express prior authorization.

What information is not required for CAN-SPAM compliance in emails? ›

The main requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act are as follows: Don't use false or misleading header information. Don't use deceptive subject lines. Disclose clearly that your message is an advertisement.

Does CAN-SPAM apply to B2B emails? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act applies to B2B advertisements, just as it does to B2C. The impact will be that business recipients must be afforded the opportunity to remove themselves from marketing lists (opt out) just as consumers.

Can I send marketing emails under GDPR? ›

GDPR Email Marketing

Processing is only allowed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if either the data subject has consented, or there is another legal basis. This could be, for example, preserving the legitimate interest of the controller to send e-mail marketing.

Which of the following is required under the CAN-SPAM Act quizlet? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits sending false or misleading information, prohibits the use of deceptive subject lines, mandates the inclusion of an opt-out method, and mandates that commercial e-mail must be identified as an ad and include the sender's physical postal address.

What is SPAM who are the targets of most SPAM? ›

Businesses and individuals alike are targets of spam. Spam is the unsolicited "junk e-mail" that floods virtual mailboxes with advertisements, solicitations, and other messages. Considered relatively harmless in the early days of the Internet, by 2013 spam accounted for roughly 75 percent of all e-mails.

What does CAN-SPAM Act stand for quizlet? ›

What is the CAN-SPAM Act? Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.

CAN-SPAM compliance checklist? ›

Key CAN-SPAM requirements include: Not misleading to the recipient. All emails must contain an accurate representation of the sender — individual, brand, or company — and a clear, non-deceptive subject line. For example, an ecommerce company cannot insert “Amazon” as the “From” name unless it is Amazon.

Do you need permission to send marketing emails? ›

Most country's email marketing laws stipulate that people need to give you permission to email them in order for you to send them campaigns. The definition of permission varies between each country's laws, but there are generally two types of permission: implied permission and express permission.

Does CAN-SPAM apply to text messages? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits commercial text messages from being sent to your cell phone. Commercial texts show up on your cell phone as text messages and advertise or promote a product or service for sale.

Can you cold email people? ›

To dispel your doubts: cold emailing is totally legal provided you stick to the rules set out by applicable regulations. One of the pioneer regulations of this type is the CAN-SPAM act, which set standards for sending commercial emails in the USA.

Is it OK to cold email? ›

The short answer is yes – as long as the email adheres to specific CAN-SPAM requirements. However, if you email potential or existing customers without an understanding of the laws that apply, you could end up in the spam folder and be stuck with a hefty fine.

In which year was the CAN-SPAM Act passed? ›

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 or the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 - (Sec.

Is your name personal data? ›

Personal data is information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual. What identifies an individual could be as simple as a name or a number or could include other identifiers such as an IP address or a cookie identifier, or other factors.

Is it legal to send emails to customers? ›

So to reiterate: It is legal in the U.S. to send an unsolicited commercial email. You do, however, have to comply with certain rules when sending those unsolicited emails, and if you don't, the penalties can be very serious.

Can I email old customers? ›

Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with older clients too – perhaps customers who haven't purchased from you in years. These people are often a valuable resource because they already know and understand your company. Reaching out to them periodically can encourage them to make new purchases.


1. What is CAN SPAM, what does it stand for and which requirements do you need to follow?
(Sales Loves Marketing)
2. CAN-SPAM Act Basics: What you need to know when sending emails with Erin Swanson
3. Use STEP Grants to fuel export growth
(World Trade Center Northern California)
4. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003: Email Marketing and SPAM - What you need to know
5. How To Control Spam What Is The CAN SPAM Act
(Tony Peacock - LinkDaddy - Backlinks & Seo Services)
6. Legal Requirements Every Email Marketer Needs to Know
(Law Office of Autumn Witt Boyd, PLLC)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated: 08/19/2022

Views: 6097

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.