Sparks March 2004 -

Sparks March 2004

In the News

CAN-SPAM Act and what it means to you
In January Congress passed an anti-spam bill called the CAN-SPAM Act, overriding legislation already adopted by 37 states. The law applies to all business-to-customer e-mail except “transactional” messages such as account status or recall/warranty information. Commercial e-mail is defined as “an Electronic Mail Message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.”

Here are highlights of the new law:

      • Requires the inclusion of a full valid physical postal address in every e-mail
      • Requires accurate Subject lines
      • Bans misleading “From” addresses—use your brand/company name
      • Requires a functioning “reply” address
      • Bans the harvesting of e-mail addresses through automatic means, or purchasing e-mail addresses harvested automatically by someone else
      • Bans the release, sale, or lease of an e-mail address after receipt of an opt-out request
      • Requires an opt-out mechanism in every commercial e-mail, and gives you 10 days to remove a person from your list after they’ve issued an opt-out request. In addition, no one else in your company may contact that person. That means you will need to maintain a suppression list prohibiting messages going to people who have opted-out.

Reviews so far of the law indicate it has done little to curb spam, but it at least gives legitimate marketers a benchmark for e-mail communications. Get more info on the law or consult your attorney.

Get started with pay-per-click
As reported in the last Sparks, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising spending more than tripled in one year, indicating its arrival as a legitimate advertising channel with significant return on investment. A recent issue of SiteProNews included a PPC Guide for Dummies that spells out the policies and costs of Google AdWords Select, Overture, and LookSmart, the three top PPC engines. In addition,’s Smart Campaign Tips helps you define how much you can afford to invest in your campaign and how to track results.

Want more info on PPC? See the Pay-Per-Click section of our Web Smarts Resource Page.




This month’s winner: Jack Brubaker!
In addition to the envy of his friends, Jack wins a T-shirt featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a T-shirt with a custom design! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

First United Church
First United Church is a progressive Christian church in Bloomington with roots reaching back to 1825. In 2001 the church began a process of re-invigorating its presence within the community, hiring a new pastor and investing in building expansions.

As part of this ongoing process, First United Church hired us to create a Web presence for them. Rather than compete with other liberal churches in the area, First United Church seeks to find people who are a good match for their congregation.

We began by defining the target market: IU students and Bloomington residents in their 20s to 40s who share a progessive approach to their faith. We created a site designed to appeal to this demographic while communicating the warmth and openness of First United Church.

Working with the amazingly organized Ralph Winstanly and Rev. Thom Son, we selected photos for the home page which reflect the inclusive nature of the church. We developed material specifically for IU students and “church seekers,” creating tailored landing pages to communicate directly with these visitors. We also made extensive use of testimonials and photos of church members in order to give visitors a sense of what the community is like.

Warm colors, rounded corners, and large type create a friendly and welcoming feel. Frequent calls to action invite the visitor to contact the church or attend Sunday worship. A sermon archive, events calendar, and full description of various church ministries also give potential visitors a sense of what they’ll find at First United Church.

Most church Websites are amateur productions, poorly designed and rarely updated. Our design for First United Church immediately makes it stand out from the crowd, both locally and nationally. We also created it so it can easily be maintained and updated by church staff. The result is a well-crafted site which connects First United Church with its target market and communicates its progressive approach.

View the site created by Design