I need to send a weekly fax update to a large group of people. It's tedious to stand at the fax machine and enter each number. Is there software that can do this for me?
How Can I Do Fax Broadcasting?
Fax broadcasting is the sending of a fax message to multiple recipients simultaneously - or as fast as your fax machine can send them one at a time. Fax broadcasting , sometimes called bulk faxing or fax blasting, is a powerful way to deliver a message to many recipients.
If you need to send a daily price sheet to all your customers, or you want to fax a letter to multiple recipients, fax broadcasting can do the job well. Of course, just as with email, there are fax spammers who send unsolicited faxes all over creation, but there are laws against that. So use this information to send only to people who have agreed to receive faxes from you.
Broadcasting Faxing Software
Most versions of Windows come with faxing software that can use your fax modem to send a document to a single recipient, or do fax broadcasting via the Windows or Outlook address book. This article on Faxing in Windows XP tells you how to setup and use the Windows Fax Console.
Windows Vista Business, Ultimate and Enterprise, as well as some versions of Windows 7, have a feature called Windows Fax and Scan that allows you to do the same. Just click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Fax and Scan to get started with faxing on those platforms.
If you have a Mac, try PageSender. It can do bulk faxing from an address book, or you can interface with FileMaker to import a contact list.
More Fax Broadcasting Solutions and Services
But as a practical matter, a single fax machine can broadcast to only a few dozen recipients. It just takes too long to dial, connect, and fax even a single page. If you want to fax to a larger group of people, here are some ideas.
Having multiple fax machines sending the same message simultaneously is one obvious solution. Some businesses use a fax server: software on a dedicated computer that controls multiple phone lines to send (and receive) faxes. Vendors such as Faxback and Onetouch Global Technology can help you create an in-house broadcast fax system.
But this solution requires the fixed expense of all those phone lines, plus their up-front installation fees. Add the one-time cost of fax server hardware and software. If you broadcast fax only occasionally, an in-house fax server is not cost-effective. You need to rent someone else's fax server.
Many service providers offer broadcast fax services. You simply send the document you wish faxed and a formatted list of recipients to the service provider and they do the rest. Jblast.com is a good example of this breed of service provider. There are no setup fees or monthly minimums. You just use Jblast when you need to and pay only for what you use. Some fax broadcast services have "frequent faxing" plans in which you pay a certain amount per month on a long term basis to get a discount on the per-page price.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
Managing broadcast faxing is important and not always simple. Remember, you are consuming the paper, ink, and fax line time of your recipients, and you must do so with their permission and without offending them. Broadcast fax software and services should in include "do not fax" lists for fax numbers of people who do not want your faxes.
In the US, FCC rules prohibit most unsolicited faxing. There are also states where the practice of broadcast faxing is regulated by law, so the software or service provider you choose should be sophisticated enough to comply with the law.
Generally, you can add to your broadcast fax list someone with whom you have an "established business relationship". That can mean as little as getting a handwritten inquiry card in the mail, or a phone call from a potential customer. Often there is a time limit; your established business relationship expires if the prospect hasn't responded to your fax sales pitches within X days, and you must stop faxing to them. Software and service providers should allow you to track responses and manage this legal requirement too. Of course, you don't want to spend money faxing to people who don't respond, so keeping your list up to date is in your own interests too.
Do you have something to say about bulk or broadcast faxing? Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 12 Nov 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Fax Broadcasting (Posted: 12 Nov 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved