The Latest News On Government Regulation of SPAM

This past Tuesday (11/25/2003), the US Senate passed a bill that gives some definition to spam. President Bush has indicated that he will sign this bill if it comes across his desk and it looks like it will. An important aspect of this is that it will override any state laws related to spam. That's important because California just passed one of the strictest anti-spam in the country and it was due to go into effect in January. We'll list some ideas below about how to use email in your marketing efforts but here's an article with more details on what's happening in Washington...

Senate OKs Anti Spam Bill

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So Can I Use Email To Market To My Customers?

The answer is yes, but it's important to take the time to understand how to do it and to be diligent in following up with any complaints or requests to remove. Here are a few caveats and ideas on how best to use email marketing.

1.) Develop and use your own lists. Most spam complaints are generated from consumers who have not heard of the companies who have sent them the email. Your web site provider can help you to set up a system where your users can opt-in to your email list. If you provide timely and valuable information to your customers, they will usually appreciate your email messages.

2.) If you want to grow your email list, consider buying space on other reputable email marketers mailings. There are thousands of email newsletter providers that will sell you space on their lists. Depending on what you offer, these subscribers may want to opt in to your list as well. You will want to look for lists from companies who sell to similar prospects but that don't compete directly with you. For example, if you sell duck eggs, you may want to buy space on a list from a company that sells incubators. Look for others who are selling different products, but to your type of customer.

3.) Don't buy mailing lists from mass emailers. Better yet, don't buy anything or respond to an email from someone who sends the offer through a spam message. It may be tempting to take advantage of that offer to contact 60 million customers for only $70.00, but that is the surest way to become a big time spammer. Your ISP and web host will probably cut off your Internet connection if you do that too much and as these laws become more entrenched, you will risk prosecution. There is a lot of misinformation on this topic out there. Be careful who you listen to.

4.) Honor any requests to remove diligently. In your email message, make sure that you provide a simple-to-use method for your recipients to request removal from your list... and follow through right away. This will help to reduce any complaints to your ISP, web host, or the authorities. Remember, that if your customer opted in, it was because they wanted the information, but you're wasting their time if they want out and you want to always keep any complaints to a minimum.

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