To help protect consumers against unsolicited email, the United States Federal Trade
Commission introduced the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and
Marketing Act of 2003. This act, referred to as CAN-SPAM, defines the rules for legal email
marketing, along with the penalties for organizations who disregard the rules.
CAN-SPAM rules for legal marketing cover sign up and unsubscribe mechanisms, content
compliance, and sending behavior. For example, if someone unsubscribes from your email
newsletter, CAN-SPAM requires that you remove that person from your list within 10 days.
Invite People to Subscribe
When you invite people to subscribe to your email communications, they provide their contact
information during the subscription process. By doing this, people are giving you permission
to send them email communications.
There are many ways to invite users to subscribe. In fact, using several methods maximizes
your potential customer base by reaching people in different markets. Here are some ideas to
get you started:
• Collect business cards at tradeshows or conferences, or leave sign up sheets by your
store register. You can also ask for contact information when providing services (such as
When using these methods, ensure that customers understand that you’ll be sending
email communications to them using the contact information they provide.
• Post sign up forms on your website for visitors to submit if they want more information
about your products or services.
• Use "word of mouth" (or viral marketing) and ask your contacts to pass emails along to
others. After reading the email, these secondary recipients may decide to subscribe as
well, so make signing up easy by including in the message a sign up form or a visible link
to a sign up form.
• View, read, and explore how other companies or organizations build their contacts using
permission-based practices. You may find that techniques used in completely different
markets work for you too, so don't focus on only your competitors and partners.
Keep the following in mind when inviting users to subscribe to your email communications:
• Ask only for the information you really need. Subscribing should take as little time as
• Indicate that users can unsubscribe from future email communications at any time.
• Respond quickly and efficiently to requests to subscribe or unsubscribe.
personal contact information.
Campaigner User Guide