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The Ethics Of Lead Generation Through A Lead Sharing Program

  • Posted by Top Affiliate
  • April 15, 2013 4:31 AM HST
Every business needs qualified leads but no business wants to unwittingly participate in unethical marketing or advertising practices. Unethical practices, intentional or not, will significantly compromise your brand, product or service. Review these basic ethics of lead generation before partnering with a lead sharing program.

Lead sharing can be an integral part of any direct marketing effort.  It allows businesses to work as a team in sharing the same ideals and goals, thereby increasing productivity.  There is much debate about whether or not lead sharing is ethical or even legal.  Before entering into any lead sharing program, there are two very important elements to consider. 

What Does The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Have To Say?

The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that outlines specific rules regarding the use of commercial email messages and the right of an email recipient to stop or “opt-out” of a business’s marketing campaign.  This law, in very explicit terms, states that once a person has exercised the right to “opt-out”, a business cannot sell or transfer their email address in any manner.   If your business intends to engage in a lead sharing program, make sure the list is scrubbed for “opt-outs”.  It is also important to understand that even though you may hire someone else to handle your email marketing, you cannot pass your legal responsibility to anyone else. 

Privacy Policies Must Be Transparent

Your business must comply with its established privacy policies.  This policy should state what information you intend to collect and what your company will or will not do with the information collected.  Even though there seems to be no national law protecting the privacy of information, there may be state laws that offer specific protection for particular types of data collected.  If your privacy policy states that you will not share information with anyone, then you can’t.  Many companies hold seminars where guest speakers from a related industry are invited.  Part of the mission of the seminar is to exchange leads.  If your online privacy policy states that you will not share information, you cannot share the registration list with the speaker.  If your privacy policy allows you to share information, the fact that you will share information should be clearly reflected on the seminar registration form. 

People can see through the purpose of being invited to a free event and then being asked to provide personal information.  Conducting business in a transparent and honest manner is the right way to go.  Don’t pretend that you’re not going to use the information and if you aren’t going to use it, don’t ask for it. 

Quality customer relationships can best be achieved through permission-based marketing and education.  As you apply your lead generation techniques, remember lead generation through a well-designed lead-sharing program can not only effectively promote your brand, but also increase your bottom line profits.