Proceed with Caution – When Your Online Marketing Can Get You in Trouble

gold rushOnline marketing is a great way to make money in your spare time. Using the existing structure that the Internet provides is the new Gold Rush for many people.

But you have to be careful. Although the Internet is still largely unregulated – although that is changing –there are still ways you can get in hot water.

For example, if enough people mark your unsolicited emails as spam, you will eventually get banned on some of the biggest email providers … such as Yahoo and Gmail. If that happens, you are going to have to shut down your website and start over with a new one.

That’s not going to put you out of business, but it is a pain in the butt and will delay your efforts to get your business up and running. Plus there will be the additional expense of buying new domains, setting up new pages, re-establishing your autoresponder, not to mention the opportunity costs associated with being offline.

Laws Regulating Internet Commerce

laws & regulationsAnother thing to consider is that if you send emails to people who haven’t invited you to do so, you could be breaking the law.

There’s a law called the CAN-SPAM Act … it stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003 … that regulates commercial emails. This is the law that gives people the right to unsubscribe to any emails they don’t want.

So if somebody asks you to take them off your list, you not only want to do that because it’s good business, but because you may be subject to fines if you don’t do it. And the fines are per email violation, so they can add up fast.

This law also explains the requirements for what you can put in the subject line of your email, the “to” line and the “from” line, and other elements of email.

So buying leads may seem like a quick way to build your list, but in reality it can be expensive, leads to lower conversion rates, can be harmful to your reputation, and can even subject you to being banned or paying fines.

Be Careful Buying Leads

cautiousOn many of the autoresponder programs, when you try to plug in the leads that you have purchased, you are going to discover that you can’t easily plug them in. So you may have to enter them manually, which is time-consuming and … given the low conversion rate … probably not worth the effort.

There are some email companies, however, that do let you import leads that you have purchased. These include MailChimp and Imnicamail. Both require you to have the relevant opt-in data, however.

When you import leads using these services and others like them, you have to make sure that the people have given the person you bought the leads permission to sell or give them to third parties.

In other words, you have to be able to prove that the leads have opted in to receive third party information. So that means in addition to the email address you also need to have the opt-in date, the website it was opted-in from, and so on.

Companies that sell leads legitimately are going to be able to provide you with all this information. Those that are less reliable are not.

So if the leads you buy are accompanied by this critical information, that’s one indicator that you are getting high-value, legitimate sales leads for your money.

Being careful and working within the law is important for any business, whether it’s online or in the real world.