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The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing by Eric Groves

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Is Your Email Glamorous or Spam-orous?

Sending an email to someone who doesn’t know you is like putting up a sign in a storefront window that says: “Don’t Do Business with Me!” Whether your email is glamorous, because it is loved by your recipients, or “spam-orous” because it is perceived as spam by your recipients, is a legal, professional, and personal matter.
It’s a legal matter because laws protect consumers from unsolicited email. It’s a professional matter because the Internet and email industries expect businesses to adhere to best practices. It’s a personal matter because ultimately your customers are the ones who determine what is spam and what is not. Quite simply, if they think your email is spam, then it’s spam.
The following sections explain the personal issues related to spam. I cover the legal and professional issues a little later on.

WHY CONSUMERS—NOT SENDERS—GET TO DECIDE WHAT SPAM IS

Your definition of spam doesn’t matter, and neither does mine, unless we define it in exactly the same way as our recipients define it. The ultimate judge and jury when it comes to spam is the recipient of the message, not the sender.
Consumers think spam is anything they don’t want or can’t verify. If they don’t want it, they think it’s spam. If they don’t know who it’s from, they think it’s spam.
As a sender, you need to recognize that your recipient’s inbox is his or her property. The average consumer considers spam an invasion of privacy—trespassing, if you will. Put ...

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