Do you want to keep out of trouble with the spam cops?
Here’s a simple definition of Spam. “Unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email.” Pretty darn clear right? Unsolicited. In other words, if you didn’t get permission to send them an email, you can’t send them one. It doesn’t matter if you convince yourself it isn’t spam for whatever good reason you think you have. I’ve heard some doozies. If it fits that definition, it’s Spam. There are exceptions based on them being an active client/customer with a defined period afterwards. There are also other requirements. You can read the CAN-SPAM ACT to learn the details.
No one who provides the ability to send bulk emails or SMS’ wants you to spam people.
Doing so puts their entire email operation at risk. They all send it through a third party such as Sendgrid and Amazon. Those companies have to maintain a minimum email reputation or servers around the world will start blocking them or potentially blacklisting them. When that happens, they have to petition those servers to let them send emails to them again. In the interim, if you or anyone else with that CRM sends an email to anyone in that uses that server, they will not receive it. For this reason, smart CRMs will not let you use their software to spam someone.
When I managed support for a CRM, I watched as people were sending bulk emails and SMS messages. The majority of the time, they were in violation of the ACT. They were often sending them to their entire database, including ancillary service providers and many other obviously uninterested parties. In case you’re wondering, no they do not want them. Sending your new listing to all the agents in your market is also spam. And no, they don’t want them either. That’s what the MLS is for. Another one is brokers trying to recruit agents through email. That’s Spam and no they don’t want that either. The CAN-SPAM Act says you can’t simply send as many emails or SMS messages as you like to whomever you wish.
“Each separate email in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $42,530, and more than one person may be held responsible for violations.”
There have been successful law suits! What are your odds of being busted? Slim I would think. But is that the way you want to conduct your business? Illegally? How professional is that?
Law suits aside, how about just getting better results from your bulk mailings? In order to accomplish both, you might want to consider cleaning your database before sending bulk emails and SMS’. By that I mean you need to send an email to ask people to opt-in. Once they’ve done that, it’s not Spam.
There’s a catch 22.
In order to find out which people in your database want emails from you, you have to send them an email! If your database is old, the odds are that many of the email addresses are no longer valid. I saw one stat that said 22% of email addresses change annually! If you have 1,000 people in your database and you send an email to them for the first time in years, many if not most of them are going to bounce. Depending upon who your email service is, that is going to get their attention. And not in a good way.
Years ago I decided to start doing regular mailings to my database. I signed up with Sendgrid to do it. I actually got a phone call from them! After a few questions it was determined that my database was old and no one was opted in. Sendgrid actually started to back away and say we can’t help you. I was shocked but I understood. So what was I to do? The end result of our conversation was that I agreed to send no more than 200 emails at a time until I got people opted in and confirmed the email addresses. I had 8,000 contacts, so I took the next couple months to clean my database. Yes it was time consuming and no it wasn’t fun, but the end result was beneficial in more ways than one. I had a truly clean database and I actually knew who was in there. I now knew who I wanted to spend my time marketing to and who I did not. It also helped me segment my contacts into groups such that I could do more targeted marketing.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing right, right? Do yourself a favor and get right with your database. It will feel good. I promise!
Need help? This is what I do! Contact me at Gary@GaryDavidHall.com