37 replies
Here is an interesting thought.

There are ALOT of courses on offline marketing. Some of the popular way they teach to get clients is sending out postcards, cold calling, and sending out emails. IS sending an email, we'll call them a cold email to a person that you think could use your services spam? It wasn't asked for. Similiar to a cold call I would think.
#spam
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Ditfort
    No, it might be spam if your like buy my product, in all the emails. Maybe try to develop a relationship with the email list.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by bostoncitymass View Post

    IS sending an email, we'll call them a cold email to a person that you think could use your services spam?
    Where did you get the email?

    That's the crucial question.
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    • Profile picture of the author bostoncitymass
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      Where did you get the email?

      That's the crucial question.
      Let's say we got it off their website. I was researching companies to promote may offline services. Saw Joe the lawyers website and clicked on the contact us button and shot him over an introduction email, as oppose to cold calling them.

      But what if we got their email off of facebook, or happened to come across their business card. Nothing crazy like harvesting or anything.

      I guess it got me thinking because I typically cold call. But what is the difference between a cold call and a cold email.

      And I'm not talking about whether one is more effective than the other, I'm talking about ethics. Is it spam. I mean a cold call is a kind of spam. It wasn't requested by the recipient. Wouldn't sending an email be the same thing.

      **And before anyone says anything, yes I know this should probably be in the offline section. I wasn't paying attention when I started the thread and thought I was in the offline section.**
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  • Profile picture of the author ibacklinkpro
    If they did not signup to receive your email then it is spam. So if you bought a list of targeted leads and you send them email, it is spam.
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    • Profile picture of the author Val Wilson
      Originally Posted by ibacklinkpro View Post

      If they did not signup to receive your email then it is spam.
      I would agree with this. I get emails all the time from SEO companies who want to promote my sites. It is not spam in the usual sense, like the cheap drugs or p**** enlargement type emails, because the SEO companies who send them do (presumably) provide a genuine service. But I did not ask for them, and do not want them, and resent having to unsubscribe from something I did not subscribe to in the first place. So effectively, in my book it is spam.
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  • Profile picture of the author PatchesDM
    Is the email list from subscriptions to any site/blog you have? How did you obtain the list is the first thing to ask, then after that, make sure you target only those you feel need and /or want your product.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    All I can tell you is that I get pissed off when I receive unsolicited commercial email and immediately put it in the spam folder.
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    • Profile picture of the author bostoncitymass
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      All I can tell you is that I get pissed off when I receive unsolicited commercial email and immediately put it in the spam folder.
      Yeah me too, I most likely wouldn't do it. Like I said just got me thinking and thought it would make an interesting discussion. What's more annoying an unsolicited email that you can either delete or read on your own time, or getting a cold call in the middle of your day, with someone that is trying to sell you something and taking up ten minutes of your work day?
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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        Originally Posted by bostoncitymass View Post

        Yeah me too, I most likely wouldn't do it. Like I said just got me thinking and thought it would make an interesting discussion. What's more annoying an unsolicited email that you can either delete or read on your own time, or getting a cold call in the middle of your day, with someone that is trying to sell you something and taking up ten minutes of your work day?
        I have low tolerance for either. I hang up on sales calls without responding or even listening and I instantly put spam in the spam folder. I don't normally even need to read it to find out whether or not it is an unsolicited commercial email.
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  • Profile picture of the author louie6925
    The question you need to ask yourself is "do the people who recieve you're emails see it as spam" If so, then its a waste of time even thinking about!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Wilson
    I think it is spam if it takes my time (even one second) and doesn't bring any value. My emails always consist of value + get product here.
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  • Profile picture of the author zamzung
    That's probably one of the oldest questions... if you think about that in general, it's a spam because no one asked for an email from you... if you send them postcards with business proposition, it's again something they didn't ask for... if you give them a link to unsubscribe, you are in somehow better position but I still see it as a spam...

    Now, while that could be spam in our eyes, I constantly see big companies, supermarkets and similar business, who send me various promo offers, catalogs and similar stuff all the time... in my eyes that's also a spam, especially when they fill up my mailbox with that junk so nothing else can be putted inside... then my regular mail suffers and get damaged because of "spam"...

    Now, I don't think they would do it if that's a obvious spam, or if that's truly forbidden with law... although laws in my country are still pretty bad when it comes to question of spam... so far I didn't decide to take some time and check those laws to see if I can somehow forbid those companies to send me their junk, but I'm planning to do so soon...

    Now, I used word "junk" because that's that in my eyes... so, recipients of your emails could think something similar for your offer too... no matter how good your offer is, or how appealing is for them, or how they can benefit from your offer, some percentage of people will declare it as spam... so it's question can you handle with being called a spammer from some number of people...

    If you ask me, I love to play safe and mail only those who subscribed to my lists... also, in every email I send to them I include info about where, when and how they subscribed to my list... by doing that I'm reducing number of eventual spam complaints... in my opinion, you should play safe for yourself... I wouldn't want to be called a spammer... would you? think about that...
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    • Profile picture of the author sonicadam123
      I see all unsolicited emails pretty much as spam, it really annoys me and they go straight to my spam folder.

      Not only that, but I see it as tarnishing the individual/companies reputation, so I'd never buy from them in the future if faced with the choice, I'd go elsewhere.

      The same goes for unsolicited phone calls, text messages .. or people calling at my door.

      I will never buy from anyone in these situations and it will effect my future purchasing decisions usually.

      I think the larger companies are really taking the p*** with their marketing though, here in the UK our royal mail delivers handfuls of generic junk mail on behalf of major brands, all of which goes straight in the bin, then the day after we'll get exactly the same bunch of junk mail .... then my TV & Internet provider will send me the same direct mail offer asking me to sign up to a mobile contract month after month.

      But that's just me lol
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  • Profile picture of the author investasap
    I would say that it would be spam yes
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    No, it's not spam in the legal sense.

    Don't be put off by the people who say they just delete any unsolicited email. Of course some people do that, just like some people throw away any kind of regular mail that looks like advertising, or hang up on a sales person when they call.

    Fortunately for business and the economy, there are also a lot of people who buy from those kinds of advertising methods - enough that they are still in use.

    Whether sending emails to business owners will be effective for you is just something you'll have to test for yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author rusty1027
    I agree with Steve, it's not spam in the legal sense. Where the emails came from is also an important consideration. Make sure these recipients would even be interested in what you're pitching, because what really matters is if it's spam in the eyes of the recipient. I get lots of unsolicited email and some of it I read and find very useful, some of it I never open. Provide them an opt out link, send them something they'll find valuable and try to build relationships.

    Building relationships is the part most IM marketers forget. Everyone will jump on this thread and say "OMG, you can't do that - that's spam!!!" - And these warriors have squeeze pages and they're building double opt in lists. Then as soon as they get you on their list they send you every offer and WSO they can find. It's like having an opt in list is a license to spam. So the practices of these "ethical marketers" is really no better than a typical spammer. Clam down folks... not everyone does this, but a large number of lists I've signed up for operate this way. My point is, sincerity can go a long way, don't abuse people and you'll make friends.
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    • Profile picture of the author bostoncitymass
      Originally Posted by rusty1027 View Post

      I agree with Steve, it's not spam in the legal sense. Where the emails came from is also an important consideration. Make sure these recipients would even be interested in what you're pitching, because what really matters is if it's spam in the eyes of the recipient. I get lots of unsolicited email and some of it I read and find very useful, some of it I never open. Provide them an opt out link, send them something they'll find valuable and try to build relationships.

      Building relationships is the part most IM marketers forget. Everyone will jump on this thread and say "OMG, you can't do that - that's spam!!!" - And these warriors have squeeze pages and they're building double opt in lists. Then as soon as they get you on their list they send you every offer and WSO they can find. It's like having an opt in list is a license to spam. So the practices of these "ethical marketers" is really no better than a typical spammer. Clam down folks... not everyone does this, but a large number of lists I've signed up for operate this way. My point is, sincerity can go a long way, don't abuse people and you'll make friends.
      My thoughts exactly . I mean just because someone opts into a list it can sometimes open the flood gates for people to send offer after offer of crap that you may not need. How is that any better?

      Sending them direct mail piece after direct mail piece is the same as spam in my eyes. As well as cold calling.

      Is sending a business owner an email that you got off their website, which is open to the public, and trying to open some dialogue on how you can help them improve the look of their fan page for instance, spam? I'm not so sure? I mean if you are just blasting out emails then sure it is. If it is a one off email in an effort to get your foot in the door? Not so sure that is really spamming. You're not stuffing an offer or link in the email you are just trying to find out if they have a need or interest in your service.
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      • Profile picture of the author rusty1027
        Originally Posted by bostoncitymass View Post

        If it is a one off email in an effort to get your foot in the door? Not so sure that is really spamming. You're not stuffing an offer or link in the email you are just trying to find out if they have a need or interest in your service.
        I'm with ya. It's no different that a cold phone call or sending them a letter. You gotta break the ice somehow, that's what marketing is!

        If you see a girl in a bar you'd like to meet - what do you do? You have to walk up and introduce yourself, right? You can't just sit there and think, "I'm not gonna approach her unless she comes over and tells me it's OK to talk to her" - that' silly.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Did you say ss-spam? W-W-Why use such an ugly word even? The correct term is UCE unsolicited commercial email, my fine one. I have found that end stage municipally unprocessed recycled waste water does not stink as much as raw sewage.

    Ah yes, it is spam.
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Unfortunately for the recipient, the CAN-SPAM act was watered down from the original proposal that recipients had to opt-in to receive emails from a company, to just requiring a valid way of opting out.
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  • Profile picture of the author ButterflyN
    it just might be...
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  • Profile picture of the author Melvin San Miguel
    If u obtained a name and email address from a website and you emailed them..I think there's nothing wrong with that? If in the 'Contact' section of the website it says,
    'Do NOT contact me offering products and services' or something simliar than in my opinion sending them an email is spam.
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    • Profile picture of the author bostoncitymass
      Originally Posted by Melvin San Miguel View Post

      If u obtained a name and email address from a website and you emailed them..I think there's nothing wrong with that? If in the 'Contact' section of the website it says,
      'Do NOT contact me offering products and services' or something simliar than in my opinion sending them an email is spam.
      Kinda why I started this post. They tell you to contact them . I mean at the end of the day you gotta get your foot in the door. There are face to face sales tactics that some would call "unethical", but others would call "creative", I mean sales is sales, if you got a good product or service, then you got to sell it if you want to make a buck.

      If you just gave up a the first no you hear, or the first time you got shut down by the gate keeper, you would be out of business, and so would every other salesperson in any other industry.

      If you are not breaking rules, if you are using their contact form, and if you have not had luck in contacting them in any other way, what can it hurt.

      According to the law as long as you follow the rules, why not give it a shot.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    Yes. If you stumble upon an email address and start mailing someone about your services, it is "cold" and it is spam.

    Better to build a quality list than risk having your email address flagged.

    Originally Posted by bostoncitymass View Post

    Here is an interesting thought.

    There are ALOT of courses on offline marketing. Some of the popular way they teach to get clients is sending out postcards, cold calling, and sending out emails. IS sending an email, we'll call them a cold email to a person that you think could use your services spam? It wasn't asked for. Similiar to a cold call I would think.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert H Cwik
    There is a way to go around it without being accused of spam (if the e-mail address is publicly available, like on their website). Your first e-mail should be to a tone:

    1. Introduce yourself
    2. Explain where you got their e-mail from
    3. Ask if you can send them an offer regarding whatever you're offering and how it may benefit their business.
    4. Ask them to reply with YES if they want to know your offer.

    Sending such an e-mail, you can't be accused of spam and your e-mail can't be complained against, because it is just a request for consent to send the offer to which they do not even have to answer.

    You don't ask to answer them with NO, you just wait for their answer. If they do not answer within a week, cross them out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brendan Vraibel
    Not spam and is an effective way of marketing. If you had posted in the offline section I'm positive that you would've gotten a different response. This tactic is used all the time.

    If someone posts an email on their site, it obviously means that you are free to contact them. The OP is not putting them on an email list and sending a mass email to them and 1,000 other people. He is sending them a personalized email, presumably to make a "cold call" a bit more of a "warm call".

    Offline sales are all about numbers. Sure some people may just delete it without reading, but there will be people who are genuinely interested in your services and wouldn't have known about your business without that email/call.
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    • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
      Why not cold call instead? Much better response rate.
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      • Profile picture of the author bostoncitymass
        Originally Posted by Intrepreneur View Post

        Why not cold call instead? Much better response rate.
        I think most people including myself cold call and use direct mail. But what about when you are faced with a tough gate keeper for instance, why not use every means to contact this person as possible, I mean if you can't get through too them on the phone, why not try email as well. Again, I'm not saying spam the hell out of them. I mean just sending an introductory email?

        Actually if you think about it it gives you a reason to call. You can tell the gate keeper that you are following up on an email you sent to the decision maker.
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    • Profile picture of the author bostoncitymass
      Originally Posted by B and B View Post

      Not spam and is an effective way of marketing. If you had posted in the offline section I'm positive that you would've gotten a different response. This tactic is used all the time.

      If someone posts an email on their site, it obviously means that you are free to contact them. The OP is not putting them on an email list and sending a mass email to them and 1,000 other people. He is sending them a personalized email, presumably to make a "cold call" a bit more of a "warm call".

      Offline sales are all about numbers. Sure some people may just delete it without reading, but there will be people who are genuinely interested in your services and wouldn't have known about your business without that email/call.
      Exactly!! Well put!!
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    • Profile picture of the author Cali16
      Originally Posted by B and B View Post

      Not spam and is an effective way of marketing. If you had posted in the offline section I'm positive that you would've gotten a different response. This tactic is used all the time.
      I agree with B and B. Try posting your question in the offline section (which is where it really belongs).

      My understanding (and perhaps I'm wrong) is that it is different when you are emailing businesses regarding your services. It is a common and acceptable marketing technique. Sure, it will turn some off and many won't read your emails, but I don't believe it is considered spam.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    If you harvest their email addy. from their web site, then aren't they requesting people to contact them through their email?
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    • Profile picture of the author saxatwork
      Originally Posted by timpears View Post

      If you harvest their email addy. from their web site, then aren't they requesting people to contact them through their email?
      Not exactly. A contact email means business, or a way for customers or people interested in your business to reach you. People who wants to do business with that website would get in touch with them through that email or their contact forms, but that does not mean that anything can be sent to that e-mail.

      In other words, "If I need you to contact me about your service, I would have given you a hint" .
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  • Profile picture of the author WildaGorskic
    If the email are subscribed , then of course it is not spam and if it is not , then i will call them spam if it comes to m inbox
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    • Profile picture of the author saxatwork
      I think what we consider as SPAM depends on our perception... I would say that if you don't need it, but you are still bombarded with it, then it is spam...

      If I study a client's business process and see that there is a service which I offer him that can bring a lot of benefit to his business - and have something to show him at least in paper - then I should definitely get in touch with him. Now, instead of a single client, we generalize it over a niche covering a wide range of clients, format a nice email and send it to whoever you think is in need of that - then some of them would consider it as spam/junk and dump that in the box. A follow-up email is could get them to block you or be dumped again. Others would definitely consider, because if they took time to read that email, and would either get back, or keep it for future consideration. A reply or follow-up would do wonders here. All this would happen with any email sent to someone who is not in your contact list - but what is inside that email makes all the difference.

      Having said that, I have an automated rule set to dump any credit card or loan related emails directly into my junk box .
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  • Profile picture of the author matthewfermin
    I guess its not spam. You just have to add unsubscribe links to your email. It is also another way of clients to reach you who likes your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    But what is the difference between a cold call and a cold email.
    Scale.

    The cost per contact for postal mail and telemarketing keeps them from completely overwhelming the systems they use. Each requires an investment that mandates reasonable targeting in order to avoid losing money and going out of business. Email doesn't require nearly as tight control over choice of contacts. Additionally, the cost of entry is much lower, so a lot more people can get into the game.

    Even if you eliminate the scammers and phishers from the mix, there are tens of millions of legitimate businesses out there who would love to get your attention via email. Each of them could easily gain the ability to send millions of emails.

    Do the math.

    Seriously. Get out a calculator and do the math.

    That's why we see such heavy-handed spam filtering on emails. And why sites like Twitter and Facebook are so harsh about anything that looks like automated marketing. It's why Google slapped so many sites from their index, and bounced so many advertisers from the AdWords program.

    A market that offers a low barrier to entry and/or the means to automate the delivery of unsolicited marketing materials will see at least one, and usually both, of the following outcomes:

    1. Flooding of the involved communication channel(s), and

    2. Exaggerated promises of results, due to "competition" for the attention of people deluged with too many contacts.

    Simple math.
    Doesn't say anything about the person having to be opted in to a list.
    True. But there are no prohibitions in US law against service providers blocking such messages, or removing the senders of unsolicited bulk communications from their services. In fact, US law specifically carves out safe harbor for service providers who, in good faith, attempt to block the sending or delivery of communications they deem objectionable.

    I believe you can find that in the text of the Communications Decency Act, generally a horrible piece of legislation, with that one significant bit of good sense included.


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