The Facts About Email Spam

It never ceases to amaze me when I get emails from direct sellers who I don’t know that either:

  1. Solicit business
  2. Ask for a donation to some cause
  3. Are one of those email forwards (photos of our troops, this will give you goosebumps-type email)

Really? You’re filling up my email box with this stuff when you don’t even know if I want it?

And it made me realize that perhaps we’re not all clear on what “unsolicited” email really is, and the rules that you’re bound by.

Now we’ve talked about spam here as it relates to your social networks. And we use that term because most people understand that spam is a message they don’t want. Traditionally it’s related to email. Think about how you feel when your inbox fills up with messages you don’t want. Why would you do that to someone else?

The CAN-SPAM act in the United States, and similar legislation in other countries, makes it a crime to send unsolicited email. These laws exist for the same reason the “Do Not Call” list was invented for telemarketing…people don’t want your messages. And if they don’t want them, how effective could they possibly be?

And here’s another thing to consider. Your company has rules against this type of behavior as well, and you agreed to them when you signed your consultant agreement. They say something along the lines of:

Unsolicited Email Spamming / Mass E-mailing
You are not allowed to transmit mass, unsolicited emails to promote COMPANY, its products or the COMPANY opportunity to people who you do not know, or who have not given you permission to contact them. People who are ‘opt in’ subscribers, who have initiated a request to be included in bulk emailing, newsletter or other standardized communications from you are allowed.

Don’t believe me? Go look. I promise you it’s in there. So when you send this kind of stuff you are breaking the rules of your company too. You could lose your entire business over this.

Bottom line: if someone has not (1) purchased from you, (2) joined your business, or (3) signed up for your newsletter on their own (either through an online form, your order form checkbox, or giving you verbal permission), you can’t email them business stuff. And I would add to this that you shouldn’t send email forwards, fundraising stuff, etc to business contacts if they haven’t met one of those 3 criteria either. When you do, you are annoying people who might otherwise have been interested in your business. Why would you damage your credibility that way?

Email spam is unwanted. Don’t do it.

Your thoughts?

image credit: cogdogblog

3 Responses to The Facts About Email Spam
  1. Ann Burke
    April 21, 2011 | 2:05 pm

    Something else that’s been happening to me is having requests for recommendations posted to my profile. It looks like they’re generated through an online service that you sign up with. Then when you recommend them (I deleted the posts) that goes to all of your contacts too. I felt hi-jacked!

  2. Pam Shaw
    April 21, 2011 | 8:23 am

    Once again, we’ve been reminded of something that is so easy to forget. Spamming potential customers or business partners does not work. As a matter of fact, it makes building a successful business even harder. It gives the whole industry a black eye. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Pamela Rough
    April 21, 2011 | 7:46 am

    Amen! I know I was guilty of this when first starting my business mostly out of ignorance and eagerness to get the word out. Now, through mostly your advice Jennifer, I have stopped spamming people. I think one thing that wasn’t mentioned in this particular article is the posting in Facebook is just as bad. Everyone needs to create a Fan page for people to opt in and receive your information. Jennifer has lots of great articles to help with that. Thanks for all you do Jennifer!

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