Updated February 19, 2016
When it comes to email marketing (i.e. sending subscribers regular emails), there’s one best practice people often overlook. Here’s a common question I get:
The answer is yes.
If you use a reputable email service provider (ESP) to send out an email newsletter like I use Mad Mimi (referral link) to send out the Useletter®, you should be asked for a physical mailing address when you sign up.
This physical address will be inserted into every email newsletter you send to your subscribers.
For many just starting with email marketing, being asked for their address throws up a red flag. After all, who wants their physical mailing address floating out there, right? Here’s the scoop…
1. Don’t be alarmed
Being asked for a physical mailing address by your ESP is standard practice. In fact, if you aren’t asked for a physical mailing address, you should proceed with caution. Why? Because here in the U.S. at least, according to the CAN-SPAM Act (see #4) you must include your location. If an ESP says you don’t need to include one and you live in the U.S., I’d find another ESP pronto.
2. Use a snail mail address
You have to use a location where you can receive snail mail. You may not use a website or email address.
3. Don’t use your home address
Although you can use your home address, I definitely don’t recommend it for the sake of safety and privacy. Use any mailing address as long as you can receive mail there.
In my case, I rent a P.O. box. (Some rent a box at The UPS Store or similar.) I rent the smallest size since I rarely get mail there and the cost for me works out to about $5 a month, paid 6-12 months in advance usually. Call different post offices to find the lowest price.
4. It’s possible to find free options
If you don’t want to rent a box, you might also be able to use the mailing address of a brick and mortar business you own or are associated with. If you’re going to go that route though, I recommend you consult a lawyer to see whether or not you can do so without violating the CAN-SPAM Act.
5. Whatever you do, don’t use a fake address!
I’ve seen a surprising number of people suggest using a fake address (“Oh, I just made one up because no way was I going to put my home address in there!”). Don’t do it! This is a direct violation of the CAN-SPAM Act and could cost you dearly,
Did you catch that? Each. Separate. Email. Up to $16,000 in penalties. In other words, got 100 people on your list? Sent them all just one email? You’re looking at a potential fine of $1.6 million. Ouch!
As I mentioned, the email service provider I currently use is Mad Mimi (referral link). It is very easy to use and their support is fantastic. Their free plan allows you to have up to 100 contacts and send unlimited emails per month so it’s perfect if you’re just getting started building your list.
Related: How to Get Started With Mad Mimi
And the cost of a post office box is well worth it.
- If you hope to make money online, here are several more tips I recommend before getting started.
- Also, if you don’t yet get the Useletter, I share tips like these every week.
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