Navigating the complexities of email marketing
There are the anti-spam laws to consider, best practice for growing your list, keeping off the dreaded 'blacklist' and keeping your subscribers interested enough so you don't become a casualty when they are having a subscriber clean-out.
Tempted to buy a list or scour the internet for email addresses to add to your email database for your new start-up? Before you add all your contacts you've amassed over the years to your new venture email you've just penned in Outlook you need to consider the consequences of this rather unprofessional approach to email marketing.
In 2007 the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act came into effect
The purposes of the Act are to:
- Prohibit unsolicited commercial electronic messages with a New Zealand link (i.e. messages sent to, from or within New Zealand)
- Require commercial electronic messages to include accurate information about the person who authorised the sending of the message and a functional unsubscribe facility to enable the recipient to instruct the sender that no further messages are to be sent to the recipient
- Prohibit address-harvesting software being used to create address lists for sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages
- Deter people from using information and communication technologies inappropriately.
The Act is also intended to encourage good direct marketing practice by:
- Requiring electronic messages to contain a functioning unsubscribe facility
- Ensuring electronic messages are sent only to customers who have consented to receiving it
- Restricting the use of address-harvesting software.
The best way to insure you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to email marketing is by using a dedicated email marketing service like Mailchimp. Mailchimp will handle your subscriber database, personalised email campaigns, web-site integration, unsubscribes and advanced analytics all while keeping to best practices and more importantly, keep you legal.
Growing Your List
When growing your database it is temping to add anyone and everyone to your list in an attempt to reach as wider audience as possible.
Keep in mind that growing your list alone does not translate into sales - growing your list with subscribers interested in your products or services is much more beneficial to your bottom line.
Some questions to ask:
- Are people aware when they are signing up to your email list, or does it happen through a third-party pass-along?
- When people sign up to your list, do they know exactly what they will be getting from you and when?
- Does the email campaign you send have content that was promised at the time of registration?
There's no substitute for great content when it comes to email marketing and having a sign-up form on your site needs to be backed by information that is relevant and beneficial to the recipient.
If you have a physical store you can also offer your customers the opportunity to sign up to your email list. Again, make it clear what they are signing up to so there are no surprises when the first one arrives in their inbox.
Both on-line and physical sign-ups can be run in conjunction with a promotion or special offer.
The dreaded 'Blacklist'
Chances are, if you don't stick to best practice when it comes to email marketing and acquiring subscribers you might find yourself on a blacklist. Blacklists are designed to protect people from being spammed. If your emails are ending up in your customers spam folders because they didn't give you permission to be on your list you are in danger of being blacklisted and will be prevented from sending emails from your account. The easiest way to prevent this happening is making sure all your recipients have opted-in or given you permission to send them your email campaign.
Occasionally email addresses can be blacklisted by mistake and you need to apply to have it removed before you can resume your email service.
Mailchimp. Design and send email campaigns
MXToolbox Blacklist check
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Please contact me if you would like help to get your email marketing on track.