by: Bill Ringle
I’ve heard that the number of people with e-mail addresses who have not received an offer to get rich quick, lose weight, or visit a porn site is so small that they qualify for a listing on an endangered species chart. Unsolicited commercial e-mail, aka SPAM, is the dark side of the relatively fast, enormously efficient, and cost-effective messaging communications system that runs over the Internet as well as throughout organizations worldwide.
Remember three facts about e-commerce so that you understand why spam will always be with us.
First, it is cheap and easy to either rent or purchase lists of names from online brokers. It’s possible to send mailings for less than the cost of a laser printer label, so it has it’s advantages over postal mailings.
Second, it’s not illegal. Although there are three bills before Congress dealing with spam (and unsolicited commercial faxes), our federal government cannot restrict or set laws for other countries.
Third, spanners get direct access. E-mail is mostly read by the intended recipient and not filtered by a secretary or assistant.
Still, spam is annoying. It can be time-consuming to deal with, contain offensive language or links, and take up space on your mail server. Some say it’s like receiving junk mail at home with postage due! This is a concern for everyone from the executive who works on a desktop computer to a new sales associate with a laptop (or palmtop) computer in the field.
So, the question becomes, how to deal effectively with spam so you remain in control of the situation? Participants in my speeches and seminars learn these techniques through online demonstrations during the presentations. Below are the 7 most popular, easiest to implement tips from these sessions.
Best practices for minimizing spam
- Never reply to SPAM; it only feeds the monster. In this instance, politeness does not pay.
- Have a separate e-mail address for “public” distribution. Junk e-mailers have “throw away” addresses. Why not beat them at their own game!
- Learn to use the filtering agent of your e-mail software so you never have to see mail that contains phrases such as “XXX”, “incredible offer”, and any punctuation mark repeated consecutively.
- Avoid having your e-mail listed on a web site. Instead, use a web page that sends the e-mail to the intended address. This protects your address from being lifted for spam lists.
- Get off AOL for business. Get your own domain so you’ll be taken seriously and as a bonus, you’ll cut down the spam received by at least 30%.
- Read a book, attend a speech, or work with a consultant on how to use the Internet for business. It’s a valuable tool when used appropriately.
- Don’t perpetuate the problem. Use the bcc line of your e-mail and listservers for larger groups, as needed. Sending to large lists is not only inefficient, but it exposes people’s e-mail addresses to potential brokers.
Junk e-mail is almost as inevitable as death and taxes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take intelligent steps to avoid all three.
About the Author:
Entrepreneurs can find more resources to build their business at: www.mybusinessgym.com
Bill Ringle works with business leaders from high tech and professional service entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region and shares the strategies and tools for accelerating growth through my Business Gym with business leaders from across the United States and in 15 different countries.