What Is SPAM & Should I Care?
SPAM or UCE is the sending of ANY email message that you DO NOT have permission from the recipient to send. While most SPAM laws are written to address only commercial emails, you are spamming people in your address book every time you forward a joke or inspirational message unless they have given you permission to send that type of message.
If you found are guilty of generating SPAM, you could lose more than just your business.
Governments are under increasing pressure to try to stop SPAM so some new laws have been enacted in the UK, Australia, California, Arkansas and Kansas that everyone needs to be aware of and adjust their marketing practices accordingly. There is also a new SPAM law that has been passed by the U.S. Government that the president has signed. You can read the bill by visiting http://www.spamlaws.com/federal/can-spam.shtml.
This law supersedes most state laws regarding SPAM and has some important items with the most notable to me is the need to include a postal address when sending messages to people that you don’t know and that haven’t requested the messages. This means to me that if you import leads into a responder, you had better include your full contact info with your messages since they haven’t specifically asked for information from YOU.
This ad will also have to indicate it’s an advertisement in the message.
The new laws basically state that you MUST obtain prior written consent before sending commercial messages OR have a pre-existing business relationship. You need proof of the consent or the business relationship if ever questioned.
Arkansas and Kansas have even added the requirement that you include an email address OR a toll free telephone number to unsubscribe from your messages in addition to the remove link inserted by most auto-responders.
The subscriber’s name is required under the new laws. If you are an ezine publisher, some of these laws require you to notify potential subscribers that there may be in-house or third party advertising included in messages/newsletters. Having a check box stating they will accept advertising at the time of subscribing is enough to comply with the law. Using the double opt-in approach will also work IF you state in the confirmation message your subscriber is sent that the advertising exists. You must comply with these laws even if your newsletter is web based and you simply use auto-responders to send notices that the new issue is online.
If you don’t run an ezine or newsletter, you still need a disclaimer on ALL lead capture pages that your messages will contain advertising about a business. Some free auto-responders ad advertising to your messages, so you would need the check box stating that there could be both in-house and third party advertising.
You can be relatively safe by following these guidelines:
ALWAYS get the prospect’s name.
ALWAYS get their email address.
NEVER mention your company’s name in your advertising sent by mail.
NEVER include a URL directly to your business.
NEVER use misleading subject lines.
NEVER use a web based email account such as AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail or MSN because they aggressively filter messages. If there are too many messages coming in or going out in a preset time frame, they aren’t delivered.
NEVER use software to harvest email addresses.
NEVER falsify the headers of emails sent.
NEVER dump a group of purchased leads into an auto-responder without validating their email address.
ALWAYS send any purchased leads a single non-commercial message asking for their permission to send them messages about your business.
ALWAYS include your contact information, including your physical postal address, in your advertising with an email address for removal.
Respecting the right of a person to NOT receive commercial messages from you makes you look better AND it gives you a chance to start finding out whether the person is still interested in improving their lifestyle.
Note: You need to be aware of the Spam and Privacy Laws of every country you do business in.