I’ve recently written a couple of articles on using email autoresponders and mailing lists to grow your business. You can see the first article here, and the second article here.
One of our readers, Mark Stevens suggested that I talk about anti-spam laws and how that applies to what you are doing with your email.
Sometimes you may not think that spam laws apply to you in your MLM business. However this is not true! Spam laws apply to you as much as they apply to big retail firms and corporations. You need to be aware of the laws.
In the USA the most important legislation about what is legitimate bulk email or what is spam is called the CAN-SPAM Act.
What the Law Requires
Here’s a rundown of the law’s main provisions:
- It bans false or misleading header information. Your email’s “From,” “To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
- It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
- It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a “menu” of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor’s email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it’s illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
- It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender’s valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.
Basically this means that you need to send legitimate mail and not fake your emails. You can’t fake your address so that it appears to be coming from someone else. You also need to make sure your email matches your subject line. You need an opt-out method for people to easily opt out and it needs to be identified as a commercial email and include your physical postal address.
One of the advantages of using email services like Aweber for your mailing lists and autoresponders is that they take care of the last two issues for you. Aweber will automatically put in a footer at the bottom of your emails with your physical address. Aweber also puts in a link for people to easily opt-out of your emails. I know a lot of network marketers try and start sending email from their free email accounts. They definitely don’t list their real address and they don’t have an easy way for people to opt out. Guess what? This means you could be liable of a fine of up to $11,000 for the FIRST offense. So make sure if you are doing bulk email you use a legitimate email provider that protects you!
The other thing that Aweber encourages you to do is use double opt in. What this means is that when someone subscribes to your list they have to confirm by responding to an email. Usually by clicking a link in the email to confirm that they do wish to be on your mailing list. This is another method of protecting you from spam complaints.
The downside of double opt in is that a lot of people fill out the form to get on your list but don’t confirm the email. This means they never get your messages. It can be caused by people using dumb spam filters. It can be caused by someone accidentally deleting a message. It can also be caused by people who typo or other things.
Double opt in is not a requirement by the FTC but it is suggested. By using double opt in you ensure that the people on your list really want to be there.
Double opt in effects network marketers because a lot of network marketers buy leads. They want to dump the leads into an autoresponder and sit back and wait for the phone to ring… They don’t want to have to confirm them by using double opt in. Unfortunately since you often don’t know where the leads are coming from, how fresh they are, etc. Dumping them into an autoresponder without asking them to confirm whether or not they want to get email from you often leads to a lot of spam complaints! Services like Aweber won’t let you import names UNLESS you send them a confirmation email to see if they really want to get on your mailing list.
I think one reason why people like Get Response is they can import names without confirming them as long as the leads company provides some basic information on where the lead came from. I’m not sure about that though. You might want to check with Get Response. Basically I don’t use leads and don’t do that crap with autoresponders anyway. I’d rather build relationships with people so I can’t really give you advice on that. Maybe someone else can comment on a good mailing list provider for people who want to bulk import leads lists?
Another quick tip for you…
Use a REAL email address in your emails and ask people to reply back to you. Most email lists come from an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. My friend Jack told me to use a real email address and solicit my list members to get them to reply back. When I started to do that I found that they were surprised that it was a real email address and I would really reply to their messages. It makes you stand out from the crowd and remember… my philosophy is we’re building relationships. Replying back to their emails certainly helps build that relationship and gets them more involved in your mailing list.
So Mark, did I do a good job of covering anti-spam and can spam laws? Let me know!
- Ben Fitts
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