The question “Is email marketing dead?” seems to be floating around more and more these days. With bulging SPAM folders and Junk Mail settings cranked so high that Mom’s emails don’t even make it through, many businesses and consumers (and Moms) are answering this question with a big, fat “YES!”. If you consider yourself to be part of this audience, you are probably wondering why anyone would even bother to buy email lists anymore. I mean, what good are they if every email address known to man is constantly being abused by spammers?
So, what now? Do we let spammers ruin the reputation of email marketing forever? Should we throw out the whole idea of email marketing lists and finding email lists for sale? The answer to this should be a big, fat “NO!” Truth be told, there is still plenty of hope when it comes to email marketing when you are doing it the right way. Thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act, email recipients no longer have to be a victim of unsolicited email. Red tape? Of course. But it’s better for all of us.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) created the CAN-SPAM act to enforce some rules for commercial email. If a business does not follow the rules, they can face a fine of $16,000 per violation. As the commercial sender, these FTC rules are actually in your best interest when it comes to email marketing, as they pretty much teach you the proper “manners” of email marketing.
Here are the basics:
Use legitimate header info– this basically means that the “From”, “To”, and “Reply-To” email address and routing info must lead to the legitimate person or business that sent the email. It makes sense, really. Why provide phony info– ever? You’ve got nothing to hide, right?
Get rid of fugazi subject lines— honesty rules all. Cut to the chase. Represent yourself and what you are offering in your subject lines. If you are misleading, your reputation will be summed up and destroyed one annoyed recipient at a time. Oh and you could also be eligible for that lovely $16,000 fine!
Make your ad obvious, not oblivious– you want people to know you’re advertising something, right? Then you’ll need to make sure you disclose this in the most obvious manner possible. Luckily the law is flexible about how this is done.
Always include your location– in order to perform an email marketing campaign, you must provide legitimate address information on the email you are sending, whether it’s your current address, P.O. Box address, or a private mailbox that you’ve registered with a commercial receiving USPS agency.
Give your recipients an ‘Out’– Like an emergency exit on an airplane, you must provide a clear and obvious ‘escape route’ on each of your emails in case any of your recipients wish to unsubscribe from your email advertisements.
Honor the ‘Outs’ quickly – rejection hurts. But, like a band aid, get it over with quickly and honor the opt-outs sooner than later. You have up to 10 days to honor a recipients’ opt-out request. These opt-outs are allowed for 30 days after your email is sent out, so, you may want to get in the habit of never ignoring them.
Keep an eye on your campaign – if you are hiring a reputable 3rd party to handle your email marketing campaign, you will be able to approve all the content and design before your campaign is sent out (as you are ultimately in control of what your recipients see). The company probably has email lists for sale as well that will help you reach the right recipients. After your campaign begins, you will be able track your campaign results, likely via an online platform that the 3rd party will give you access to. It’s important to remember that no matter what, the 3rd party is being hired to perform a service for you; and the responsibility to comply with CAN-SPAM act will ultimately land in both of your laps.
The truth is, email marketing can and does work… when it is done right. In addition to following the rules, you should take the extra step of purchasing targeted email marketing lists so that you can reach the right audience. Always consider additional marketing options too (don’t just put all your eggs in the ‘email list’ basket), such as direct mail, SEO, telemarketing, and so on.
If you aren’t sure where to begin or are looking to buy email lists, talk with an experienced company who follows the rules and can walk you through each step of the email advertising process. Call now at 800-383-1381 or visit www.listgiant.com