help please - I have lead generation concerns with a potential client

I am talking to a potential client, a real estate investor who wants to contact people whose homes are in danger of foreclosure. He does not have enough opt-ins for a meaningful email campaign and wants to know how to gain leads legitimately. I gave him a copy of the CAN SPAM legislation and the permission guidelines from CM. I have no idea what else to suggest to him.

CAN SPAM only prohibits harvesting emails from a Web site if the Web site specifically prohibits it - but it's against CM rules flat-out, and I don't want to do it in any case. I told him this. I'm not sure that any email addresses he might obtain without specific opt-in can be used in CM. Is this correct?

If you had a client in this situation, what would you tell him? Would you refuse to open an account for him? Does anyone know a legitimate way to acquire leads when a client does not have the time or patience to build it the old fashioned way (through opt-ins)? Opinions much appreciated.


bluesnapper bluesnapper, 8 years ago

Hi Amy

This is a difficult one! You're correct that CM's T&Cs prohibits the use of non opt-in emails irrespective of any other external guidelines or legislation. There is no (ethical) fast route to list building and gaining the contact's permission.

If the list size is not huge (100's rather than 1,000's) and they have telephone numbers and good content to offer eg how to avoid foreclosure, a reasonably quick way to build a permission-based list is to get a temp in to do a call-around. The objective is to tell the contact that you'd like to email them the information and ask if is this OK, then get/re-confirm their email address.

I've done this in the past and a temp should easily be able to get through 100+ conversations per day (accounting for bad No., call-backs, dbase updating etc). Temps (in the UK) are about £8 to £13 per hour but any one they have in-house with a good telephone manner could do it (receptionist?)

I would position it with the client that they would get increased value by taking more time to build a longer term relationship with these contacts than a quick slash and burn!

Probably not the answer you wanted but I hope it helps!


A UK-based internet marketing consultant specialising in paid search, SEO, conversion optimisation and Google Analytics. Some of my clients have been with me for over 5 years. I must be doing something right...
agelfand agelfand, 8 years ago

Actually, this is great advice. I will let him know that I absolutely cannot help him send farmed emails and suggest the phone call route.

Thank you.

Amy Gelfand
Gelfand Design
agelfand agelfand, 8 years ago


I gave my potential client the advice offered here. I also suggested he contact ExactTarget. I have found their sales team to be very knowledgeable and helpful, and I thought a larger email solutions company might be able to give this gentleman what he wants (or reaffirm what I told him). Either way, I think I've gotten myself off the hook. Better luck to me next time.

Thanks for the help.

Amy Gelfand
Gelfand Design

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