Surprisingly, even legitimate marketers from reputable companies can be guilty of sending SPAM (unsolicited commercial email). I should know - because I receive lots of it!!!
Are YOU a Spammer? Take this quick test to find out:
If you’ve answered YES to any of the above, then you’re (unfortunately) guilty as charged - which is a pity, because email is without a doubt the single most cost-effective medium for promoting any business. But with the proliferation of spam (and consequently, spam filters!) it’s become more and more difficult for legitimate email marketers to get their messages delivered… let alone actually read.
The old method of sending a mass email to your entire contact list via CC or BCC - whether they’ve asked to receive your message or not - just won’t cut it anymore. (In fact, in some countries, the practice is actually illegal.) If you’re failing to provide and abide by an unsubscribe mechanism - that could mean big trouble as well.
To successfully tackle the challenges of Email Marketing today, it’s become mission-critical to keep up with global "best-practice" email sending standards adopted at the 2003 Email Authentication Summit II.
Sending email only to confirmed opt-in subscribers. Your mail recipients MUST have agreed to receive your communications, by signing up for your mailing list either online or offline. If a spam complaint is raised you must have a means to verify that the subscriber asked to receive your email.
One-to-one correspondence. Commercial email should be sent "one address per piece" - meaning that each piece should be addressed only to the primary recipient, and should not be cc:ed or bcc:ed to additional addresses.
Bounce management and unsubscribe request handling - All commercial email must include a working unsubscribe mechanism, and email senders should maintain a system to immediately process unsubscribe requests, complaints and delivery failure notifications.
Sad to say, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest will have to be reserved for (several) future articles - there’s just too much to cover. Email marketing is a constantly moving target, with the rules changing constantly (and often inexplicably!) The very things that brought your email into the Inbox one day could land it into the Junk folder tomorrow. So bookmark this site because there’s a whole lot more to come!
Chinie Hidalgo Diaz is a certified Email Marketing professional and a member of the eMarketing Association, the Email Experience Council, and the Email Marketers Club. Aside from publishing the CD Email Solutions ezine, she also maintains the Philippine Emarketer's Journal.