Do you know that, in many countries, when you build your email list and use that list to promote your courses, you’ll need to comply with both applicable privacy law (so as to be transparent with people about how you’re proposing to use their personal information) and applicable anti-spam law? This is true in, for example, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (and no doubt many others, including most if not all European Union member states). In many countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, you generally need people’s consent to send them commercially-oriented email (there are some exceptions but often they won’t apply). Some countries’ anti-spam laws allow consent to be express or implied, some speak of consent being express or inferred, while others speak of expressed, inferred or deemed consent. When you’re just building up your email list, in many situations you won’t be able to rely on implied or inferred consent (or deemed consent) to send commercial email. You’ll need express consent.

It’s also important not to fall into the trap of thinking that what’s OK in one country is OK in another. Under the United States’ federal anti-spam law, for example, you don’t need consent to send commercial email, but there are rules about what your emails must and must not contain, and you need to honour unsubscribe requests. If you’re in Canada or the UK, though (just to give two examples), following the US approach could land you in hot water, because in these countries you do need consent to send commercial email (or direct marketing email as they call it in the UK), and you need to obtain consent on an opt-in basis, not an opt-out basis. So, if you’re in these countries, copying an approach you see taken by a US-based course provider might not cut the mustard.

These laws are highly relevant to how you conduct your list building activities (e.g., by offering lead magnets in return for people’s email addresses) and how you use and maintain your email lists. As such, it’s desirable to be aware of them.

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