Don't Be a Spammer

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your business. Spamming your subscribers–even accidentally–however is an unfortunate way to loose valuable subscribers. Worse, spamming can get you black listed by your ISP and/or Web host. Follow these important guides to make sure you comply with email laws and best practices.

Email marketing is a cost-effective way of staying top of mind for prospects and clients. You can send subscribers monthly promotions, inform them of any upcoming events, or say hello at an opportune time. And then at some later date, when you’re prospect is ready to sign up for that yoga class, or have their property landscaped, or hire a personal trainer, if they have been receiving regular emails from you, then you will be the one come to mind rather than your competition.

It’s important in launching an email campaign that you respect people’s time, intelligence and privacy. The best way to respect your subscribers time and intelligence is to make sure that the content of your email truly is valuable. If you are unsure if your email content is valuable have a look at Seth Godin’s famous Email Checklist.  In addition, make sure your emails comply with these important laws below.


This law, known as the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires that all commercial email senders uphold compliances relating to unsubscribing, content and sending.

  • Email messages, sent to a list of subscribers, must contain a visible unsubscribe link that will in-turn remove the subscriber from the send-to list.
  • With respect to content, the subject lines must be relevant to the content contained in the email body and cannot be deceptive.
  • –The sender must disclose a legitimate physical address if the message is their own, or that of their advertiser.
  • –The sender must provide an accurate “From” email address.
  • –Lastly, emails cannot be sent to email addresses that have been ‘harvested’ or illegally taken from other sources (websites, long ‘joke’ emails that have been forward many, many times). The emails must have been obtained with the expressed purpose of being marketed to.

This anti-spam law is also upheld by many email system providers that block more than 20 emails from being sent simultaneously, to prevent spammers from using their system to spam, which may result in the service being tagged for suspicious email activity by the FTC.

With all these rules how does one even go about marketing via email? Fortunately, there are many online services that enable solo practitioners and affordable, marketing solution that complies with the anti-spamming law. You may have heard of some of these services: Vertical Response, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp.

Across all of these services, many offer the same basic functionality including:

  • –Ways to upload a large number of email contacts as well as one at a time
  • –The ability to send a plain text email message as well as an HTML message
  • –Allowing a recipient to easily unsubscribe from future mailings (very important)
  • –A way of allowing the sender to see how many people opened the message (also very important in order to monitor and improve your emailing strategy)

As a subscriber to the service, your  monthly fee is often based on usage which combines the size of your email list and the frequency you send emails to this entire list. Despite the monthly or usage fee, the time savings, the compliance with anti-spam laws and the ability to see how many people opened the message make it worth it.


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