If you utilize e-mail marketing to prospective customers, make sure you don’t become an offensive spammer. There are a few simple rules to follow that can make a difference between happy customers and angry spam recipients. These rules are outlined in the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) CAN SPAM Act, which went into effect January 1, 2004. The CAN SPAM Act applies to commercial and pornographic electronic messaging and carries penalties for non-compliance of up to $11,000. Learn more about the CAN SPAM Act at www.ftc.gov/spam, including how to turn in offenders.
Be legitimate. Masking header information (such as the sender and recipient’s actual e-mail addresses) is illegal. It makes sense. If the claims within the e-mail are honest, knowing who sent it is reasonable.
Honesty is the best policy. Subject lines must reflect the content of the message. Baiting a reader with a subject line that is not indicative of the actual content sent within the body of the message is not an honest approach.
Provide a legitimate opt-out. Opt-out is a simple mechanism that allows a recipient to remove themselves from your list. This is generally a clickable link that allows the recipient to complete a form and results in their address being removed from your e-mail list. Opt-outs should be immediately honored.
Provide a valid postal address and notification of solicitation. The FTC also requires that the e-mail sender’s postal address be included within the body of the e-mail and that it be identified as a solicitation.
If you are about to start an e-mail marketing campaign, try using a product like Constant Contact to get you started. This package takes legal issues into account and helps you manage responses such as bounced (erroneous addressee) messages and opt-out.
Put these items into action to reduce the impact of spam on your life and ensure that you are playing by the rules. And if you receive a message that looks intriguing, do your research and don’t be scammed by the spammers!
About.com Offers some pretty decent tips about e-mail campaigns:
Address Recipients with Their Name in Email Campaigns
Make your newsletter recipients feel more like themselves, less like mere numbers by greeting them individually and personally.
Avoid $$$ Signs in Email Marketing Campaigns
Why "$$$" won't bring you $$$.
Avoid Email Marketing During the Holidays
Holidays are often holidays from email, too. That's why email marketing during the holidays is often not very effective.
Create a Clear Call to Action in Email Marketing Campaigns
Make sure recipients of your email marketing message know what you expect them to do (and what they can expect in return).
Don't Forget the Preview Pane in Your Campaign
Move the boring stuff down the page, and greet recipients with your best offer instead.
Email Marketing Needs to Reflect Your Corporate Design
If it's your email marketing, make people see instantly that it is your email marketing.
Emphasize with Words, Not Exclamation Marks in Your Copy
The path to successful email marketing is not paved with exclamation marks.
Experiment with Link Placement in Newsletters
Maximize performance by putting the right links in the right places.
HTML or Plain Text: Let Your Recipients Decide
If you can't decide whether you should publish your newsletter as HTML or plain text, do both and let your recipients decide individually which they prefer.
Include an Easy to Use Unsubscription Link in Newsletters
Unhappy subscribers are worse than no subscribers. An easy and fail-safe way to unsubscribe is a way to make subscribers happy.
Inform Your ISP About Your Email Marketing Activities
The connection to your ISP is one of the most important. So make sure they know that you're sending legitimate bulk email and won't disconnect you as a spammer.
Instruments of Email Marketing
There is more to email marketing than personalized mass mails and newsletters. Discover all the forms and instruments of effective email marketing.
Learn from Spam
Spammers can teach you a lot about email marketing.
Make it Easy for Subscribers to Change Their Email Address
Lose one address, gain another, retain a subscriber when a user's email address changes.
Make Sure Unusbscriptions are Effective Immediately
Avoid a spam-like impression by making sure unsubscriptions from your newsletters or email marketing lists go into effect immediately.
Newsletter Content Ideas: Asking the User's Questions
Content ideas usually have this form: "How can I do this?". So how can I get great content ideas?
Newsletter Content Ideas: Press Summary
Consolidating news provides a useful service to your newsletter subscribers, and it shows your expertise in the field, too.
Put Newsletter Sign-up Boxes on Every Page
Make sure visitors can sign up to your newsletter when and where they want.
Reply to Requests Within 1 Day
You've got 24 hours to win — or lose — a customer, so be sure to reply to emails within a day.
Rule of Thumb How Often to Send Your Newsletter
Find the right frequency for your email marketing efforts.
Rule of Thumb When to Send Your Newsletter
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday? Which day will work best?
Sales Pitch Makes No Newsletter
Newsletter subscribers expect and deserve content, which salespeak alone is not.
Use Your Name in the From: Line
People don't like to read mail from strangers or robots. But messages From: a name they know and trust are welcome.