If your insurance agency sends out e-marketing campaigns—or is planning on doing so in the upcoming year—make sure you understand and abide by the CAN-SPAM Act.

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To” and “Reply to” (and routing information) must be accurate and clearly identify the agent or agency initiating the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. Your subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an advertisement (assuming it is an ad). The law offers some latitude as to how this may be done.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical (postal) address.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of future emails. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of future emails. Even if you are using Outlook to send group emails (not a good idea, by the way), you must offer a clear opt-out method. And make sure your insurance agency spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Your agency must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message and you must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. If you outsource your email marketing to insurance marketing agencies, make sure they are credible and knowledgeable. Ultimately, what is sent is your responsibility.

Beyond the stigma and potential fines associated with inappropriate insurance agency e-marketing, you could also face a backlash against your website, domain name or Internet service provider.

Recently, for example, an agent told me he purchased 10,000 email addresses for a “blast.” His e-marketing vendor shut down his company’s folder due to the large number of complaints, refusing to do additional email campaigns for him.

Just as you might suggest to clients that they follow your guidance and expertise when it comes to selecting coverage, your agency should seek guidance and expertise when it comes to insurance agency e-marketing.

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Alan Blume is an author, and as founder and CEO of StartUpSelling Inc., he works with small businesses on lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information, go to www.StartUpSelling.com.