To build your subscriber-base through Connections, it is important that you obtain permission from contacts before sending marketing emails to them.
What does it mean to have permission?
Just because you have access to someone's email address doesn't mean that you have permission to send them marketing emails. You can only send marketing emails to customers who have given you an explicit permission to do so.
Explicit permission to send emails includes a mailing list of people who have:
Signed up to receive emails in your store, on your website, or on a social media site.
Signed up through a form at a marketing event, or a trade show.
Bought something from you through the internet and explicitly checked a box that asked them if they wanted to receive emails from your company.
Verbally gave you explicit consent to receive marketing email during an in-person transaction (we recommend getting written permission so that it is verifiable).
You should not send emails to people in a mailing list you have purchased, or people who gave you their email to track their purchases, for example.
Why is it important to have permission?
Most importantly, getting permission is required by email marketing laws in some countries and/or regions. It is also required by the Connections Use Policy.
Getting permission is also simply common courtesy (no one likes to receive spam). Your email will more likely be read if it’s not marked as spam, and if your email isn’t recognized, it may end up in a spam filter. Unread messages will not lead to new customers.
Potential customers who receive spam (or what they perceive as spam) are more likely to delete your emails or mark them as spam, which gets reported to their mail service provider. If a mail service provider gets enough complaints about your emails, they might not allow any emails from your company. This will affect your business negatively since none of your emails will get through to any of your customers or potential customers at the mail service providers that have blocked you.
Note that best practices and/or guidance provided by Microsoft is not a substitute for legal guidance.