Don’t boo me off the stage here. I hate SPAM as much as the next gal, and I never SPAM people myself, never have, never will. However, while SPAM is highly annoying, it is not technically illegal. The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 defined a set of guidelines email marketers must follow when distributing or displaying commercial messages, whether via email or other advertising channels.
A marketer who does not follow the rules can face hefty fines, according to the law, but so far it has been largely unenforced. Probably because it’s largely unenforceable. Our tax dollars at work.
So… let’s look at the commonly accepted definition of SPAM, and then I’ll tell you my personal definition, which I like better.
Wikipedia‘s definition of SPAM is “the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.”
The most common form of SPAM is sent via E-Mail and, according to Wikipedia’s definition above, there are three specific components that must be present in order for an email message to qualify as SPAM:
For the purposes of Avarra’s own E-mail Marketing products, we define SPAM as:
Repeatedly sending people irrelevant, promotional e-mail without their explicit permission and without giving them a way to unsubscribe.
What I’ve done is to create a specific guideline under which I feel comfortable working. I’m in a position to make recommendations to business on how to do their e-mail marketing. Therefore it’s important that we work within a very clearly described boundary.
I go into a lot more detail on this in our E-Marketing 101 Workshop.
Sending a person one single promotional email without their permission is not necessarily a bad thing. If done professionally and personably and with respect, you might actually convert a few of the recipients into customers. It’s a risk though and each of you needs to decide for yourself and your business if the risk is worth the potential reward.
If you do decide to risk it, you need to treat it just like a “cold call.” You are a vacuum cleaner salesperson knocking on doors. That’s a tough visual, but it’s accurate. You are barging into these people’s lives, hoping they’ll be responsive to your message. Good luck.
Next week I’ll have a follow up post: 7 Tips to Warm up Your “Cold List” E-mail Marketing
EMarketingConnection.com is the place to go for support, community, and resources for your internet marketing programs.
Focusing completely on small businesses, EMarketingConnection.com is a membership site exclusively for those of us who understand the power of the internet and want to successfully leverage it to promote our business and boost sales.
With three membership levels (starting at free!) there is something for everyone at EMarketingConnection.com.
See you there!