Build trust with the CAN-SPAM complaint footer


If you’re wondering what you could do quickly and easily to reduce spam complaints and increase trust in your brand, we recommend adding a CAN-SPAM complaint footer. If you already use it, you might check into modifying it to make it stronger. Let’s talk about how and why it’s so important.

The CAN-SPAM complaint footer is a long-standing email marketing best practice. This feature provides your company name, street address and contact info. It should be an obligatory and stable footer that subscribers can’t erase.

There are three basic requirements for any CAN-SPAM complaint footer:
·    Unsubscribe link
Never take your readers for granted. Give them the opportunity to choose if they still want to receive messages from you. Include an “Unsubscribe link” in every email and you’ll find out instantly if you’re succeeding! Providing a clear and concise unsubscribe process can prevent spam complaints, so it’s not only a good email marketing practice, it can improve your deliverability and campaign ratings.

·    Privacy policy link
This is a link to a legal document which describes how you or your company retains, processes, and purges customer data. Privacy policies usually contain details regarding what personal information is collected, how it may be used, any persons or entities to whom the information may be disclosed, and the security measures taken to protect the personal information. The exact contents of a privacy policy will depend upon applicable law. For instance, there are significant differences between the EU data protection and US data privacy laws. Detailed information regarding policy laws can be found online.

·    Physical street address
Finally, according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, a physical street address must be included in every commercial email message. However, the new rule states that a valid post office box or a private mailbox may be used, as long as it is registered with the United States Post Office, or with a commercial mail service that follows all USPS regulations. If the post office box or private mailbox wasn’t accurately registered, or if the registrant failed to comply with applicable requirements, the address will be deemed “invalid” and the sender will be liable for non-compliance.

Example of CAN SPAM Complaint Footer

Imagine you’re a recipient of hundreds of email messages every day (maybe you are!).  You also subscribe to a few select mailing lists and DO NOT want annoying messages from companies you don’t know or remember. Imagine how helpful it would be if every questionable email included the complaint footer!  You’d be able to check the physical address of the company to confirm it actually exists, or simply use the unsubscribe option.  Whether you choose to stay on the list or not, at least you would consider the company trustworthy and professional, as they’re not afraid to reveal their corporate details and allow you to unsubscribe at any time.  What’s more, you can also read their privacy policy to get information about what they do with your personal data. So maybe their content is worth reading after all? And perhaps their products or services are worth taking a look at? If you’re not interested, you can always unsubscribe in a New York minute!

Now if you’re thinking “sure, I can provide my business address and privacy policy statement, but that “Unsubscribe link” could wipe out my entire database!” Don’t worry!  If your subscribers use the “Unsubscribe link” too much, it tells you that you probably need to consider the following:

·    It’s actually better when subscribers click on the “Unsubscribe link” than on “This is SPAM”! That could mean that subscriber wouldn’t be a valuable customer anyway.

·    QUALITY NOT QUANTITY. It’s better to have a smaller database containing high-quality contacts that actually purchase your products and increase your revenues, than a huge database of useless contacts.

·    Finally, it could be you need to double-check your email marketing best practices to ensure your messages are relevant, sent at appropriate frequency, not too personal, you know, everything we’ve been blogging about recently. Be honest! It could mean a big difference in your ROI. And if you’re not sure, time for another survey!

  • This is a good piece of advice to help us eliminate spam complaints
    Thanks Getresponse team for the good work

  • We’ve been using a spam compliant footer for about 3 years with our newsletter, and we are certainly happy with our level of unsubscribers.

  • I think a reply address should always be somewhere in the mail if not in the header.

    I receive email all the time with “NOREPLY” and these mostly come from what is called Gurus. It would be ok if they would put a reply address somewhere, maybe at the bottom after their sig file.

    When I get mail with the Noreply and no way to contact the sender I will hit the Spam button.

    It not real hard to be considerate of others. I have unsubscribe links in all my personal email, yes, even to my friends and family.

    If anybody doesn’t want to hear from me, I don’t want them to.

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  • Wanda

    Thanks for the info. Could I just put “If you want to unsubscribe from this email, please hit the reply key” , and if I put my business name and address at the bottom, I am in compliance – right?

  • Karolina Kurcwald

    Hi Wanda, as long as this effects in an actual unsubscribe, of course. 🙂