Emailing: What Would Can-Spam Do? (WWC-SD)


As I am building my next mass-email campaign, I was wondering WWC-SD (What Would Can-Spam Do?).

Can-Spam establishes the standards in sending commercial emails. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces these rules.

For most of us marketing professionals, considering Can-Spam in our email campaigns is like taking a kid to a candy store and telling him he can only look. We have the ability to buy lists of thousand of contacts across industries, but we are not supposed to use these for campaigns.

This law was created to limit the sending of unsolicited emails by companies outside of our target that may find our product useful. In B2B, we classify email recipients by the following: We have the people who opt-in, the ones who opt-out, and soft opt-ins.

  • Opt-in: The recipient gave approval to be contacted by your company.
  • Opt-out: After authorizing receipt of emails, (s)he expressly tells you that (s)he does not want to be contacted again.
  • Soft opt-in: You met this person during a business transaction or event and (s)he expressed an interest in talking with you.

All that doesn’t help us with someone that has no knowledge of our company or innovation can be introduced to you. Individual, “cold” emails are an option, but you will have to work with your sales team. When it comes to cold email, Can-spam has 7 major commandments.

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  3. Tell the recipients where you are located (it can be part of your signature).
  4. Respect when someone opts-out within 10 days from the time (s)he asks you to stop emailing him/her.
  5. Tell the recipient that your email is an ad.
  6. Tell the recipient how to opt-out.
  7. Even if a company sends emails on your behalf, you are the one responsible if they do the wrong thing.

As a sales person, you can send relationship and introduction emails that have a link to a landing page. This landing page could invite people to sign in and opt-in for future content. Linkedin offers a service for sales people that allows them to send introductory emails to anybody in the network.

Before you look outside your customer base, make sure that their online experience is optimal and they are aware of your products and solutions. I use an email calendar that maps out the year for email activities.

Good luck in your next email campaign!