I read your article, Angela and I’m still confused.
It was my understanding that I could email friends, family or someone with whom I have an existing business relationship, without it being considered spam. I was planning to add an opt in box on my website, but also from time to time to mail to a group of people known to me, probably using Constant Contact. Please clarify.
If someone signs up on your website to receive information about you and your book, they’ve opted-in to your list. So, sending them email about your book is not spam. It is imperative that you keep evidence of each person who signs up. If anyone accuses of you spam, you’ll need to be able to prove they signed up at your website or emailed you asking to be added to your list.
If you email the lady you worked with four years ago, mentioning your new book, that would probably be considered spam. She never requested any marketing emails from you. And, no matter how subtly you mention the book, you and she know exactly why you sent that email.
Emailing your old neighbor or associate who may or may not remember you and who may complain about receiving junk mail from you would also be considered spam. Let’s face it, if your old friend or associate emails you out of the blue, trying to sell you her homemade, mail-order cosmetics, you’d probably be offended, right? There’s really no difference between her homemade cosmetics and your book. Sending unsolicited emails about either one would be considered spam.
Emailing your relatives would not be spam because you obviously have an ongoing relationship with them and it would be assumed they’d be interested in what’s going on in your life. Just don’t send your email to any family members that you may not get along with and who may report you for spamming.
While there are many definitions for spam, basically, it means sending promotional email to someone who didn’t ask for it. It’s really quite simple. If you’re not positive they want that email, don’t send it. Remember: When in doubt, don’t.