As you dip your toes into the waters of email marketing, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that some of your email might contain content that people don’t want to receive. This is what ESP’s refer to as prohibited content. When you send a message with content like this — snap! — you’ll feel the jaws of compliance bite down on your email program!
Have you ever received mail from a company or organization, even after you thought you unsubscribed? Are you just having a déjà vu moment, or has there been a “glitch in the matrix”?
When this happens to one of your email recipients, they might think that your organization didn’t honor their unsubscribe request, which can result in your email being marked as spam, or even a direct abuse desk complaint being made against you. Trust me, legitimate direct abuse desk complaints are taken very seriously, and carry a lot of weight.
Are these continued mailings really the result of senders or ESPs not honoring an unsubscribe request? Yes and no! Let me explain…
Lionel Richie asked this question (well sort of) back in the ’80s, with his heartstring-tugging hit song Hello.
And you could ask the same question of your subscribers. You know, the ones who haven’t opened one of your mailings in a while. Or the ones who haven’t engaged with you in a way that shows they’re still interested.
You want to include that beautiful photo you took, or that gorgeous artwork you created, in your latest mailing. Your image is so good, you can’t wait for everyone to see it. But there’s a problem: when your email goes out, all your subscribers see is a blank space where your image was supposed to be, along with this message:
So what happened??
Here’s a scenario for you: You’re new to email marketing, or you’ve got a new list of thousands of addresses that you want to send to. You’ve got an account with an ESP, so you should be ready to go, right? Not so fast! You can’t just open the floodgates – your sending has to be “ramped up”. But what the heck does that mean??
Addresses from dead domains are like zombies. They exist in your list and look kind of like the real thing (i.e., valid addresses that you can send to). They may have been on your list for a long time, maybe since you started collecting addresses way back when. But, like zombies, they are mere shadows of their former selves.
When compliance folks like me talk about dead domains, we are referring to addresses within a sender’s list that are from domains which are no longer in business, or are no longer providing mail client services. Having addresses from these domains on a mailing list is an indication to any good compliance specialist that the list is in dire need of clean-up, or that the list owner may have purchased addresses. Neither of these scenarios is good for the client’s sender reputation, nor the ESP’s overall reputation.
What’s the most important part of any email marketing program?
Huh? Wha-? Not what you expected? Well, think about this:
Your subscribers joined your mailing list because they love your products, they’re crazy about your service, and they want to hear what you have to say. Setting expectations around how often your subscribers will hear from you, and then fulfilling those expectations, is the key to keeping them happy and getting the best results from your email marketing efforts.
Spoofing and phishing. If you watch the Fox television show Gotham (@Gotham), those terms might sound like something Edward Nygma, a.k.a. The Riddler, might use to confound James Gordon and the Gotham City PD.
Whenever I talk to new employees about what the Abuse, Compliance and Delivery group does here at Net Atlantic, I usually get a few giggles when I bring up spoofing and phishing. Heck, they still make me chuckle sometimes! But even though they might sound funny, spoofing and phishing are no laughing matter. In fact, these practices are actually pretty nefarious!
Blackjack is a staple at any casino, and it’s a game in which skill and luck both play equal parts. Skill and a little bit of luck are needed in email marketing, too. For example, why take a chance on your email address collection process when you can improve your own odds by using a double opt-in sign up method whenever you can? See what I did there…cards and contacts? Tricky!
Seriously, though: The definition of doubling down is “to become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking”. And this is how everyone should approach email address collection. Why?