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How Two FTC Actions Affect Email Marketing

The FTC recently took action against two companies because of bad email practices. Here's what you can learn from their mistakes:

1. Marketers should ensure that their subject lines accurately inform recipients of the content of the e-mail.

2. CAN-SPAM requires that marketers clearly and conspicuously identify a commercial e-mail as an ad if the marketer lacks the affirmative consent of the recipient.

3. Provide clear and conspicuous notice of the opportunity to decline to receive further e-mail messages from your company.

4. Honor opt-out requests with CAN-SPAM's 10 business-day window.

5. The FTC’s assertion that the placement of the friend’s e-mail address in the "from" line constituted the initiation of a commercial e-mail with deceptive header information suggests that the FTC does not believe the referring friend is an "initiator," as defined under CAN-SPAM. Marketers that send "refer-a-friend" e-mails from their own mail solution and under the referring friend’s e-mail address need to reconsider this practice.

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