Is Cold Emailing Illegal?

No one appreciates spam, and you don’t want to be the one sending it. Sadly, although many advertisers don’t send them with the intention of being spam, the line between spam and legitimate cold emailing can be very fuzzy.

So, what’s the difference between spam and cold email? And how can you stop your cold emailing from being classified as spam?

Is it illegal to send cold emails?

To be clear, it’s legal to send emails to firms you’ve never talked to even though they don’t know you. This kind of networking falls in the legal grey area of spams and cold emailing.

However, as long as an email adheres to all the rules of CAN-SPAM requirements, it’s completely legal. Yet, emailing potential customers without understanding the law can lead to your text being marked as spam, which may come with hefty fines.

What is the CAN-SPAM Act?

The Act was passed in 2003. It states the requirements to  be followed when sending B2B and B2C commercial messages, which includes cold emailing. And it gives the receivers the right to stop getting the texts from businesses.

To be more specific, the Act applies to any electronic message that’s sent with the intention of promoting or advertising a product or a service.

Violating the Act calls for a penalty fee of at least $40654.

How to avoid CAN-SPAM complaints?

There are a few rules you can observe to avoid the huge CAN-SPAM penalty when cold-emailing your clients.

They include:

1. Avoid deceptive headlines

A good email subject is one that reflects the body of the email. Using a misleading clickbait with zero relevance to the actual message is considered both ethically and legally wrong.

You can still be creative and funny with your headlines, as long as they aren’t misleading.

For example, an email headline that reads, “Urgent news about your mother’s health,” is likely to have a huge open rate, but it’s against CAN-SPAM rules.

2. Provide a clear opportunity to Opt-Out

If a client is no longer interested in receiving your emails, you should make it easier for them to opt-out.

This can be by having an unsubscribe button at the footer of your email or telling them to reply if they want to be removed from the email list.

Additionally, if you offer content on different subjects, you can provide the subscribers with a menu where they can unsubscribe from the content they no longer want. And continue enjoying other content.

3. Act on Opt-Out requests ASAP

CAN-SPAM gives you a maximum of ten days to remove someone from your email list once they request that you do.

However, you’re likely to be handling other tasks and have no time to honor the requests. To avoid any trouble, use an automated service to allow subscribers to leave when they want.

The Act also prohibits you from asking followers to go through other steps to opt-out after the initial request.

Therefore, you can’t ask for a fee, personal information, or sell someone’s contacts after they request you to remove them from your list.

4. Be clear about your identity

It’s vital that the information on “Reply to” and “From” is accurate. Not only does it ensure you’re on the safe side with CAN-SPAM, but it also improves your open rate. People love and appreciate having a conversation with real individuals.

Additionally, you're required to include your physical address or business address in your email. This can be done on the footer of your email or email signature.

5. Be responsible for what’s sent with your details

If you’re using a freelancing firm to do the outreach process for you, it’s crucial that you give them the legal instructions you need them to observe.

Keep in mind that your business will cater to any legal mistakes made.

What’s the difference between Spam and Cold Email?

Spam is a generic automated email thread that’s impersonal. It’s normally sent in bulk, without any research on the receiver’s interests. A spam email rarely benefits the receiver in any way.

It’s potentially illegal because salespeople who share spam, don’t adhere to CAN-SPAM rules.

On the other hand, a cold-email is customized for the receiver. It provides valuable content in a friendly way, intending to build a rapport with the recipient. A good cold-email also follows CAN-SPAM regulations, such as visible opt-out options.

Take Away

Cold-emailing is one of the best ways to reach out to other businesses and potential customers to promote your services or products.

When cold-emailing is legal, it’s vital that you fully understand the CAN-SPAM regulations and observe them every time you’re running a campaign.

Learn more about email lists and their management at: