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Copyright 2002 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.
Direct Mail Advertising; Email Is Not Like Postal Mail.
by Bobette Kyle
One of the most popular and potentially effective advertising
methods is direct email. If you deliver a well- written message
and execute delivery properly you will be rewarded with new
leads, sales, and traffic to your Web site. If the message is
poorly written or you commit a netiquette faux pas, however, your
efforts could end in disaster.
If you are new to Internet marketing, you might equate direct
email to direct postal mail. The concepts are very similar; in
both you broadcast a standard message to a large number of
individuals in hopes of receiving positive responses. To the
uninitiated, it is logical to assume you can approach the two in
the same way. It seems like the only difference is the means of
communication. If you are thinking this way, STOP! STOP! STOP!
Many people perceive unsolicited commercial message (UCE) - spam
- differently than junk mail from the postal service. The sender
pays for direct mail sent through the postal service. Not so for
UCE. Spam on the Internet ties up the recipient's resources by
using storage space, slowing down systems, and sometimes crashing
equipment. For this reason and others, many abhor spam. Some
assertively condemn spammers. If you spam you will undoubtedly be
reported to your ISP and email provider. Depending on the
circumstances, your accounts could be closed and your Web site
may be shut down. Need I say it? This is NOT the result you are
looking for from your email marketing program.
Some email advertisers feel that as long as there are unsubscribe
instructions in the email or they only send one message it is
okay to send unsolicited email. A few use never-passed
legislative proposals in their defense. In marketing, perception
is far closer to reality than loophole rationalizations. Some
recipients are offended whether the unsubscribe phrase is there
or not and they are offended even when they receive only one
message from you.
Different individuals define spam differently. Some consider all
forms of UCE or unsolicited commercial postings spam. This means
that if you send advertisements without prior permission from the
individuals you will get complaints. In all likelihood you will
be reported as a spammer. Because service providers generally
have user agreements that are stricter than current U.S. state
and federal laws, you are likely to be reprimanded, have your
site shut down, and/or be put on a blacklist if you send out UCE.
* Spam/UCE Law
As of this writing there are no U.S. federal laws governing UCE.
Some states, however, have laws that regulate UCE. These states
are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois,
Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada,
Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah,
Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Depending on the state,
allowable claims range from $10 per message up to unlimited
damages. Most state laws allow opt-out procedures. In other
words, companies can *legally* add a recipient's email to a list
without his/her knowledge as long as a means of removal is
provided. For details by state, go to
International laws are stricter. Seven countries - Austria,
Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Norway - have opt-
in laws. In order to legally send UCE, you must first have the
recipient's permission. Other countries have opt- out directives
or pending legislation. EuroCAUCE provide details at
Worldwide, there is much discussion about UCE and laws are
changing quickly. There are several sites you can monitor for
details about UCE. These include the SpamCon Foundation
(law.spamcon.org), the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial
Email (CAUCE, www.cauce.org), and the spam section of The Open
Directory Project (dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/Abuse/Spam).
* More Email Marketing Resources
SpamCon Help for Email Marketers:
SpamCon Links to Blacklists:
WebSiteMarketingPlan.com Links to Email Advertising Resources
Wilson Internet Links to Email Advertising Articles
About the Author
Bobette Kyle is author of "How Much For Just the Spider?
Strategic Web Site Marketing." She used techniques detailed in
the book to bring her own site, WebSiteMarketingPlan.com, from a
ranking of 17 million to 59 thousand+ in less than four months.
Copyright 2002 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.
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