What is the CAN-SPAM Act, and why do you care about it if you’re an insurance agency owner or marketer? The CAN-SPAM Act applies to all commercial messages (emails), defined as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” All emails messages must comply with this law.
Each email found in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties up to $16,000. Email marketing done without taking this law into consideration could create a significant liability for agencies and brokers. These are seven key components of the CAN-SPAM Act:
1. Don’t use misleading header info:
Agents should make sure their “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information, including the originating domain name and email address, are all accurate. The person or business who initiated the message must be identified.
2. No deceptive subject lines:
The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the email message.
3. If it’s an ad — tell them it’s an ad:
You must disclose that your message is an advertisement, if it is an advertisement of any kind. If it’s an ad, make it clear and obvious that it is an ad.
4. Identify your location:
Your email must include your valid physical address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a properly registered private mailbox.
5. Easy opt out:
Though “easy” is somewhat of a subjective term, the CAN-SPAM act makes it clear that the recipient can opt out of getting emails from you at any time, and further, that this must be made clear to the recipient in all messages.
Insurance email marketing best practices recommend a one click button to easily opt out or modify recipient email preferences. For agencies which don’t use an automated email marketing system, make sure there is a notification in your emails explaining how to opt out. For example, “Simply reply to this email and type ‘remove’ in the subject line to opt out (or unsubscribe).”
6. Honor opt-out requests — and do so quickly:
Opt-out requests must be honored for at least 30 days and recipient’s opt-out requests must be processed within 10 business days. Faster is better when it comes to opt-outs, and insurance emarketing best practices recommend processing within 24 hours.
7. Monitor your activities and your agents’ activities:
The law states that your agency is responsible for compliance even you are not the one sending the emails. For example, if one of your new agents sends out his or her own campaign to 1,000 prospects, but doesn’t include an opt-out option, your agency is still responsible.
When properly executed, email marketing can be a highly effective insurance lead generation solution.
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