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CAN-SPAM law requires all commercial emails include the sender’s physical address. But that doesn’t mean you have to include your home address.
Adding your business’s — or your own — physical address to all your emails is a required step when you set up your first email campaign.
It makes some people a little nervous. “What if someone comes to my house?”
Fortunately, there are ways to work around this requirement without revealing where you live or risking a fine.
But first, let’s explain why you have to include that physical address.
Everybody hates spam emails. And adding a physical address to your emails is actually one of the best ways to stop spammers and reduce how many unwanted emails we all get in our inboxes.
The U.S. anti-spam law called CAN-SPAM was enacted in 2003. It set up a number of requirements and restrictions on sending emails, one of which includes the physical address requirement.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) describes this requirement as follows:
Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
Here’s what a physical address would look like in the footer of an email. This is from one of AWeber customer Lewis Howes’ latest emails. We’ve blurred the actual address for privacy, but the arrow shows where it would appear.
Every email you send to an email marketing list has to have a physical address included in the email footer.
There are usually a lot questions about this, so let’s cover the most common ones:
Yes. You can use a business address. The business address you use could be:
Don’t abuse this suggestion, but keep your eye out for opportunities. Always ask permission first. There are post office regulations around accepting other peoples’ mail. You may also need to fill out a USPS Form 1583, “Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent.”
Yes, you still have to abide by CAN-SPAM. Any email service provider that’s based in the United States will be bound by the CAN-SPAM Act, for starters. So again, your email service provider will act as a first-line of defense enforcer of the CAN-SPAM Act.
Yes. Some email clients (like Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, etc.) will crawl through the content of any email they receive. If no address is found, the email may just be sent to peoples’ spam folders. Because… if there’s no address, it looks like spam.
Getting great results from email marketing often comes down to one thing: Trust. If your subscribers trust you, they’ll open and click your emails. If they don’t trust you, your emails’ engagement rates will be poor and you’ll get a lot of unsubscribes.
There are many ways to build trust, but including a postal address in email footers does make you and your emails seem more legitimate to subscribers.
For that reason (as well as all the legal stuff), you really need to include a postal address. Get a mailbox or a business address if you have to, but don’t try to circumvent this rule.
Extra credit: Include your phone number as well. And if you’re a local brick and mortar business, include your office hours.