California State University, Fullerton

Mass Email Communications

To aid in the important function of mass-email communications from the university, Strategic Communications:

  • maintains a central master opt-in email subscriptions page on the university website that allows visitors to subscribe to general categories of email newsletters;
  • maintains and coordinates a master calendar of email communications and their send-dates to ensure that external stakeholders do not receive an inappropriate number of emails each week;
  • creates templates for other campus users to save time and help ensure higher-quality design and layout, and assist clients in learning how to use the email-forwarding system;
  • charges non-UA users $.01 per email address each time a batch is sent to contribute toward the cost of the university's ExactTarget email-forwarding service; and
  • maintains an email distribution list and roster for the Email Coordination Working Group.

To date, the guidelines and best practices for mass-email communications that are listed below have been adopted by the Email Coordination Working Group or reflect contractual obligations with the university's email-forwarding service and provisions of the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act (Source: Bureau of Consumer Protection's Compliance Guide), the federal law covering mass emails.

  • Emails should only be opt-in or in direct response to a transaction with the institution.
  • Don't use false or misleading header information. Your "From," "To," "Reply-To," and routing information must accurately identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  • Don't use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  • Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  • Tell recipients where you're located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address or P.O. Box.
  • Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future.
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly. You must honor a recipient's opt-out request within 10 business days.
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your mass emails, you can't contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law.
  • In order to reduce the harmful reporting of CSUF email as being "spam," provide "unsubscribe" and "update your profile" opportunities with links from both individual email messages and from any central subscription sites.
  • Never use a font size larger than 2+, or some spam filters could be triggered.
  • Use links to website-based content. This keeps the email short and ensures short email loading times.
  • On longer email messages, use a table of contents at the top with anchors within the body to enable jump-downs.
  • Use two names (person names) for “from&rdquqo; (example: “John Smith”).
  • Build an email archive from the central subscriptions page, or at least provide a sample email on that page, so potential subscribers can know what to expect.
  • Use more text and fewer images, and avoid text within images. (A high image-to-text ratio usually gets labeled as spam and directed to the bulk folder.)
  • Do not use a campus Outlook account to generate email blasts. This uses the campus’s IP address and could expose the fullerton.edu domain to blacklisting.
  • In order to maximize the open rate, the email subject line should be pithy and engaging, and avoid content that will automatically flag the message as spam. Using quotation marks, dollar signs and exclamation points in subject lines will frequently trigger mail filters, as well as using all capital letters (shouting).
  • Certain language will trigger spam filters and direct your email into your recipient's the bulk folder. Some examples of phrases that ISPs and mail clients filter out include:
    • Free!
    • 50% off!
    • Click Here
    • Call now!
    • Subscribe, Discount!
    • You're a Winner!
    • Hidden
    • Information you requested
    • Stop or Stops
    • Opportunity
    • Compare
    • Removes
    • Collect
    • Amazing
    • Promise You
    • Act Now!
    • All New
    • Avoid Bankruptcy
    • As Seen On...
    • Buy Direct
    • Casino
    • Cash
    • Special Promotion
    • Guarantee, Guaranteed
    • Great offer
    • Give it away, Giving it away
    • No cost, No fees
    • Offer
    • One time
    • Order Now
    • Please Read
    • Don't Delete
    • Save up to
    • Time limited
    • Visit our web site
    • While supplies last
    • Why pay more?
    • Winner
    • You've been selected