Many marketers send vacation offers, including cruise specials, via fax machines.

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"Win a free cruise". . ."Lock in this low rate". . ."Here's today's lunch specials". . . these are just some of the offers that come across the fax machine. Many marketers fax advertisements to reach out to existing and prospective clients.

Fax marketing can take the same approach as telemarketing, sending out a large number of ads to fax machines in a given market in hopes of finding clients. In other cases, businesses use fax marketing to maintain and strengthen existing relationships with their clients.

While at one time a leading advertising approach, fax marketing services are becoming old hat in many ways, as fax technology gives way to newer forms of digital communication.

Newer approaches, such as e-mail marketing, are picking up where fax marketing left off. E-mail marketing offers additional avenues of placing a business pitch in front of prospective customers in better, faster and cheaper ways.

Often, the recipients of fax marketing pitches look at such ads as an irritant, tossing them into the trash without a second thought, or even a glance.

The users of fax marketing services also must make sure they don't run afoul of fax marketing laws, which mirror anti-telemarketing "no call" legislation and prohibit sending unsolicited fax advertisements to numbers registered with the Fax Preference Service.

Fax marketing, while an older strategy, still remains in use, however, and provides opportunities that other approaches can't. In some limited cases, it remains a viable method of advertising, both on a mass and targeted basis.

What are the specific benefits of fax marketing? How do the laws govern fax marketing? Read on to find out.