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TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
At this point you developed some great techniques for continuing the conversation with your audience.
• Ever think, if a little is good, a lot must be better?
• Thinking about sending out mass email blasts to everyone you’ve ever come in contact with?
• Maybe you even bought a “sure-fire” set of names from a list-broker.
Take a deep breath and ask yourself:
“Does this sound too good to be true?”
IT’S A CRIME TO SPAM
Understanding what you can…and can’t do when it comes to email marketing is important because there are severe and expensive penalties for companies that violate the CAN-SPAM Act.
60% OF EMAIL IS SPAM
We’ve all experienced the onslaught of spam in recent years.
• A whole industry has been developed to keep it out of our inboxes.
While the numbers have been decreasing in recent years, spam still made up nearly 60% of all emails sent in 2012.
In this lesson, you’ll walk through the provisions of the anti-spam laws and discover how companies like Mail Chimp help keep you in compliance with the regulations.
• You’ll discover the key components of the legislation so you can keep out of trouble in your email communications.
THIS LESSON’S OBJECTIVES
Over the course of this lesson you’ll recognize provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act to identify:
- Who is subject to the provisions and what type of content it applies to
- What information must be contained in your email communication
- What penalties can be incurred for violations
- And your responsibilities for monitoring others
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Each lesson includes the three styles for adult learners with:
• An Audio File
• A Written Transcript
• And a Practice Guide that gives you “hands-on” training customized to your own business.
Let’s start with what the law applies to:
The CAN-SPAM Act covers more than bulk email sending.
“Any electronic mail message where the primary purpose is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service” is subject to the regulations.
This definition includes all email in which the primary purpose is to advertise or promote a commercial service or product.
- For example: Sending an announcement to former clients about a new service offering or product would be covered under the rules.
This law applies to you even if you are just using email to promote a website which exists for a commercial purpose.
TRANSACTIONS VS. PROMOTION
The law covers email communication where the “primary purpose” is commercial promotion.
- If the main purpose is to communicate about an already agreed-upon transaction or update a customer about an ongoing business matter-then the email would be considered “transactional” and not subject to the CAN-SPAM Act.
However, even transactional email can’t contain false or misleading routing information.
EXAMPLES OF TRANSACTIONAL EMAIL
Here are some examples of what are considered “transactional or relational” email-and therefore not subject to the CAN-SPAM Act:
- Confirming or making possible a commercial transaction that the email recipient has already agreed to, such as delivering goods or services
- Passing along warranty, safety, recall or other information about a product or service–as opposed to promoting a product.
- Sharing information about a change in features, terms, or account information
- And communicating information to company employees about the employee-company relationship or benefits
INCLUDE THESE ITEMS
When you send commercial email, you must include the following items in your email.
- Your valid postal address such as the physical address or a registered post office box
- Routing information such as the originating domain name and email address that identifies the business or person who sent the email.
- A subject line that truthfully reflects the content of the email
- And an obvious and straight-forward description of how to opt-out of getting email from you in the future
In other words, you must:
- Tell people who you are…really
- Tell people how to get in touch with you…honestly
- And let people know how to unsubscribe from getting any more email from you.
Being ethical about your email is not only the “right” thing to do—it’s the cost-effective thing to do.
Let’s look at the penalties for non-compliance:
IT WILL COST YOU
Are you ready?
- Each violation…that means each-individual-email can cost you up to $16,000 a piece!
The law also provides for even harsher penalties including jail-time for some of the more outrageous violations of this Act.
- And you can’t just blame some third party service.
Both the company sending the email and the company whose product or service is being promoted are liable for the violations.
IT’S EASY TO DO IT RIGHT
Fortunately, most of the legitimate email marketing companies make it easy to stay in compliance.
- Companies like MailChimp.com and Aweber.com provide templates which include the required information.
- They also make it easy for the recipients to unsubscribe and update your list automatically.
But as easy as they make it, it’s still up to you to apply ethical standards to your email communication.
- Treat people as you want to be treated when it comes to electronic messaging.
TIME TO GET REAL!
Let’s take a look at your commercial email communication.
Use your Practice Guide to walk through a checklist of the things you need to include in your electronic messages to steer clear of the CAN-SPAM Act.
- If you have questions about this process, don’t forget your email lifelines for this month.
Great job sticking with it!
You’ve starting building your virtual “rolodex” into a list that you can use to continue the conversation about helpful solutions your products or services offer.
- In the next module we’ll expand your connection-building techniques with the lesson on “Reciprocity Engines-Ways to increase the level of engagement with your visitors.”
The application of these strategies will strengthen connections with your audience and move them through the stages of “know, like, and trust”-the essential steps to turn them into satisfied customers.