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Avoid Becoming a Spammer

Beef up your subscriber list the right way by making sure your online newsletter only goes to people who really want it.

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This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Before you hit "send," stop! Just because people gave you their contact information doesn't mean they've opted in to your online newsletter. However, you're halfway there. Turn prospects and customers into e-zine subscribers simply by getting their permission first. You'll grow your e-mail list without putting your business at risk.

First of all, subscribing people to your e-zine without their explicit consent isn't guerrilla marketing--it's spam. And those involuntary subscribers might retaliate. Just a few spam complaints could bring down your website. Or your company could be flamed on a blog that gets top search engine rankings for your company name. Therefore, you must resist the urge to sign people up to your online news-letter just because they have given you their business cards, bought something in your offline or online store, or contacted you through your website.

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