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The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits the sending of commercial messages (and unsolicited messages with marketing content) through email without the recipient having specifically requested to receive such information.
I suggest you follow the same rule for people that you already have a relationship with — your past and current clients, social and real-life networking contacts and friends.
The grey area about the CAN-SPAM ACT is that you MAY ASSUME they gave you permission, why they did not. For example, I give my business card to a lot of people as it has my DIRECT contact information on it. It’s the email that I use with my clients, so I don’t signup for newsletters with that email address. I have another one that I use, and check regularly, but not as much as my primary email. I am on the lookout for 1-on-1 follow-ups from my contacts. NOT a generic email newsletter.
Getting people to read your emails is hard enough. Now imagine that your domain name & email are marked as spammers so ALL messages that you send are sent to your contact’s spam box – not their inbox. It will kill your business.
Chances are, the person receiving the email is going to see your email and think: “I didn’t sign up for another newsletter.”
They have several choices:
When someone ASSUMES that I signed up for their newsletter, it puts me in an awkward situation. There may not be an easy way for me to change my email address. This new contact is taking up my valuable time as a primary interaction with them to try and do that. If I unsubscribe, I run the risk of hurting an otherwise good relationship, because they were too pushy.
Building business relationships is like dating. You have to give someone some space to get to know you. Don’t get pushy trying to get into their inbox too soon!
I recommend a second level of permission, called a double opt-in, that has people click a link indicating their permission is granted after they are added. This gets used whether they enter their name in a form OR you add them manually.
All services have training and resources available to teach you what you need to know.
NOTE: This IS TIME-CONSUMING, so decide if you have the time to invest in doing this correctly before starting an email list!!
Shift your focus to how your email marketing can help them, and start to build a real community. Start by give people an incentive for doing so, and be clear on “what’s in it for them” to be subscribed to your list. It’s NOT ENOUGH to “get updates about your company”.
What’s an incentive to signup? A simple opt-in gift is to have a “breakthrough call” with you. Later you can add a giveaway like a checklist, ebook, audio or video on demand.
It’s not really a Byte Sized Tip to explain all of the ins & outs…but knowing not to add without permission will prevent you from making a poor first impression by doing it wrong. But let’s get your business setup right!
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