Marketing Advisor Update

Sales and marketing tips, insights and advice for service businesses amd companies selling complex or technical products.

Monday, October 30, 2006

It does pay to do the right thing - especially online!

Service businesses beware! In a news report today it was announced that a renowned (despised) spam-generating company in Perth, Western Australia was fined $5.5million. They had sent up to 75 million unsolicited emails. And I should know - I used to get some.

Many service providers and professionals are lulled into thinking that it is OK to send unsolicited emails. After all, it looks and smells a bit like direct mail by post. Doesn't it?

However there is a big difference. It is not illegal to send direct mail by post to people you have never previosuly had contact with. But email communication is treated a bit differently.

Take note... As long as you follow the rules it is not illegal to send emails to your list of prospects either. The company in Perth made mistakes by accessing (or harvesting) email addresses from people that never even knew the company existed. And email addresses that had never been made public. And did not allow people to easily unsubscribe.

One of the 3 main bulk email compliance rules in Australia is that you need to have 'implied' consent from the business/person to send them email. Essentially, this means that if someone promotes/advertises their email address you can collect it and use it to contact them.

Same thing goes for email addresses listed on web sites. You can use them - as long as you follow the other 2 compliance rules...

#2 - include a working opt-out link
#3 - identify yourself with address in the email.
(remember, #1 - have implied consent)

Follow the rules and make sure you focus on providing value for your recipients, and usually you wont go far wrong.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that it doesn't matter. Because it does.


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