We think it’s safe to say that in 2010, very few businesses don’t include e-mail marketing into their overall marketing campaign. It is overtly clear and has been statistically proven that e-mail is a solid modern medium, with the ability to reach a mass market in the most cost-efficient manner possible; nearly for free. But much like sales and business in general, marketing is highly dependent upon the art of building lasting relationships with customers, with even more of an emphasis on this when considering an e-mail marketing campaign.
Any company who incorporates e-mail marketing into their campaign runs the high-stake risk of being considered “SPAM” by their recipients. No one wants that. You don’t want people seeing your e-mail, rolling their eyes and clicking delete before even opening it. This is why a thought-out, researched database received from a reputable data provider is so vital to the success of your campaign.
When creating a database for your company’s e-mail marketing segment of your overall marketing campaign, you want to know exactly who you are e-mailing. Why e-mail a 60-year-old retired man about your new line of diapers? It makes very little sense to e-mail anyone other than your target audience or the specific demographics that would directly benefit from your product or service. Having a relationship with the customers you’re contacting on a regular basis through this medium and a solid database is the first step. These people could be present customers, past customers or customers you have researched and you think would be interested in what your company has to offer. We all know how time consuming, and frankly sometimes annoying, marketing e-mails can be. You want to make sure your recipients are at least open to them, or even better, want them.
We’re saying all of this to help any of our readers avoid the dangerous game of “random” database marketing. Not only do you run the risk of being reported as SPAM, but it just isn’t the most effective way to execute an e-mail marketing campaign. You could potentially have a great deal of unhappy people who don’t appreciate constantly being contacted against their permission, in addition to an abundance of bounces because the names you were randomly given were not deliverable or legitimate.
However, the worst that could happen would be considered action taken by the Federal Trade Commission based on non-compliance of the CAN-SPAM act. Each separate e-mail in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 and more than one person may be held responsible for violations. So for example, if my company of ABC hires company RST to create a e-mail marketing piece for us using a database bought from company XYZ; all three companies could be held equally responsible and fined the maximum amount. The Federal Trade Commission is nothing to play with.
In order to avoid being fined or penalized, here are some compliance tips you’ll want to make sure your company abides by:
- A visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism is present in all e-mails
- Consumer opt-out requests are honored within 10 days
- Opt-out lists are only used for compliance purposes
- Accurate “from” lines (saying it’s from who you really are)
- Relevant subject lines (the subject in the title matches that of the e-mail)
- Legitimate physical address of the publisher or advertiser is present and visible
- A label is present if the content is adult
- A message cannot be sent through an open relay
- A message cannot be sent to a harvested e-mail address
- A message cannot contain a false header (very serious violation)
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