The National Do Not Call (DNC) registry is now in Canada, effective September 30th, 2008. If people don’t want to receive unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers or any other business, they simply get themselves added to this list. So if you want to make cold calls to your farm area you will have to see whether each prospect is in the registry before calling. The maximum penalty for violating this law is $1,500 for individuals and $15,000 for corporations. This is even more reason why you need the internet for acquiring prospects.
The same restrictions of the DNC registry have applied to email in Canada since the introduction of PIPEDA in the late nineties. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a Canadian law on data privacy. It governs how businesses collect, use and disclose personal information. PIPEDA requires businesses to obtain a person’s consent before sending them commercial solicitations. However, punishment for violating PIPEDA don’t even amount to a slap on the wrist, and in the 12 years PIPEDA has been around I’ve never heard of anyone getting in any trouble for violating it
Some websites have a single opt-in procedure where a person enters their email address into a form but no confirmation email is sent. Some realtors do this as a way of enticing people to give up their email address in exchange for an article or something else valuable. The problem with this is the vast majority of the email addresses given in these situations are fake. The other problem with single opt-in is you are vulnerable to sabotage. Someone may input email addresses that don’t belong to them or don’t exist. Having confirmation of sign-up via email proves a real person signed up for your mailing list. If your internet provider or anyone else ever accuses you of spamming the subscriber confirmation emails you received prove your mailing list is 100% opt-in.
Unlike CAN-SPAM, the US legislation governing email, PIPEDA does not address what you must do if people no longer want to receive your emails. If people on your list request you unsubscribe them it’s best to do it right away, or before you send your next mailing out at the latest.
If you want to develop prospects in the US, you are not as restricted as with PIPEDA. The law governing commercial email in the US is called the CAN-SPAM act. In the US you don’t need to obtain an individual’s consent to send them commercial solicitations. The only requirements of the CAN-SPAM act are:
- You are sending email from a real email address (spammers usually use false email addresses to cover their tracks)
- Your email’s subject line must accurately describe what you are offering in the email (spammers often try tricking you into reading their emails with misleading subject lines)
- You must provide a physical mailing address for people to send you unsubscribe requests
- You must honor all requests for removal from your mailing list within 10 days
- You must state in your email you are sending a commercial solicitation (have this statement at the very bottom of your email)
My Awesome Power Of Email course helps take your business to the next level by showing realtors best practices for turning email inquiries into sales.