If you are in business like most of my clients you could be making a really, really expensive mistake without even knowing it.
Picture the scene, you want to get more attention. You know you have the power of the internet at your fingertips, you have a list of existing clients that already know and love what you do and you have had email exchanges with them before. Everything is great.
You draft and refine the next best thing to market your business. It has everything!
A snappy, attention grabbing title, graphics and pictures that portray your business perfectly, colors that match the recently printed brochures, a great description of the deal with compelling reasons that even your harshest critics would appreciate, a powerful call to action and of course your contact details. You even have used the mail merge tool to personalize the email to use the first name of every recipient in the greeting.
It is perfect.
You are excited to get a response on this latest promotion so you save the email to use again later and hit send.
This innocent email has just cost you up to AUD$1,700,000 with the press of a button.
According to the SPAM ACT (2003) you have just spammed your contact list.
“But it is just to the people in my contact list that already know who I am!” you cry.
“I am not a spammer! I hate spammers!”
ACMA unfortunately does not see it that way and even though you have done this with the best of intentions you have missed out a few key points required in all unsolicited commercial emails.
- You did not get clear permission from everyone in your contact list that they agree to receive marketing email, SMS or MMS from you.
- Your email did not include a way to unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
- Even though you included contact details, you missed out on fully identifying yourself and your business including ABN etc.
Spammers have basically ruined it for everyone especially small businesses when it comes to promoting legitimate and let’s be honest here products your clients would be happy to know about.
Fortunately one of your recipients get in touch with you about the email. They care about you and your business and they let you know what you did wrong. It could have easily gone the other way and you could have emailed someone who had a bad day, knew about the SPAM ACT and wanted to take someone down.
You contact your computer guy (it could be me or someone else) and together you both find a way to make your future marketing emails fully compliant with the law.
You start a new contact database where everyone has given permission for you to send them messages on upcoming deals.
Some people change their mind after a couple of emails and click a link to unsubscribe and you remove them from the list within 48 hours. They remain loyal clients nonetheless and still support your business.
Because you have included some extra features in your marketing emails you keep your clients up to date with the latest deals. They share it and you even notice a jump in people taking part on your facebook and twitter account because along with your business details you added links to your social media profiles.
That Christmas, you send a little something to the first recipient that alerted you to the problem with your initial email as a thankyou and you refer your computer guy (me or someone else) to a friend that was having problems with their computer at work.
More information on SPAM legislation in Australia…
- Spam Legislation Enforcement (ACMA)
- Commercial Electronic Messaging Face Sheet (ACMA)
- SPAM ACT (2003) (Aus Govt ComLaw)