Email Marketing – How to Avoid Being Labelled a Spammer

Spam is a serious problem and one we all face on a day to day basis, It makes people cranky and these days people are all to quick to label legitimate email as spam.

And the problem is getting labeled a spammer will get your emails blocked, your websites blocked or shut down, your domain name confiscated (if you use certain domain registration companies) and a request to appear in front of a judge to explain yourself.

To avoid being falsely accused we need to go over and above the legal requirements and do a few more things.

Note: I am not a lawyer and you should consult with a local lawyer or qualified professional to ensure that your email marketing campaigns within the boundaries of local laws.

Statistics show that people often believe that email that was once requested but no longer wanted is now considered Spam? And those people are the ones that could effectively shut down our email campaigns with their complaints.

So to solve this problem we need to look at some “Happy Customer” anti-spam policies that we should instigate:

Always use CanSpam compliant EM software/services: By doing so we ensure that we always have a valid un-subscribe link at the bottom of every email. When a customer does tire of our campaigns they can then simply opt-out via the link, rather than sending off a complaint email. People will tend to do whatever is easiest so always make it simple for them.

Also our CanSpam compliant software will have a signature section that we can use to remind the customer where they signed up. Many times people forget that they even signed up to our email list so it’s always good to remind them.

Make sure that people want to be on your list: The quickest way to get spam complaints it to take the email address off a business card and add it to your list. Just because someone gives you their card does not mean that they want to get marketing messages from you.

This applies especially to those “Drop your business card in the fishbowl to win a free meal” competitions you see in restaurants everywhere. If you did want to sign people up this way you should have wording in BIG LETTERS next to the competition set-up to say “By dropping your card in this box you give us permission to send you email promotions”. Even so I would hesitate to do that as it’s very much a grey area.

Think of it this way. A representative from the local prosecutors office shows up at your door with a list of people who have complained that you are spamming them. Could you provide proof positive that everyone on your list definitely [pii_email_b47d29538f12c20da426] opted in to your list? And could you prove this in court?

This doesn’t mean you should never manually enter people into your list. It simply means that we should always ensure that we have full permission and the customer understands this.

If you have customers coming into your office frequently you can tell them that “We are trying to reduce our paper mailing costs and we have a competition to win $500 if you sign up for email notifications”. You then get them to sign a form and add their email address under wording that says “I am agreeing to receive regular marketing emails and I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.”

Keep the list of sign-ups somewhere safe.

Never, Ever use a list you have bought, borrowed or rented: This comes down again to making sure the customer wants to be on your list. Joint opt-in lists can be just as dangerous too. Remember if a customer doesn’t know where he signed up then he is very likely to report you as a spammer.

Use a double opt-in method when you use an online sign-up form: Again this comes down to not confusing the customer into thinking that someone else must have signed up for them. This is also useful if we ever get reports of spam complaints from our web hosts. We can point to our double opt-in system and say that’s the only way we sign people up.

The double opt-in system requires people to enter their email address and then open up their email and click on a confirmation link. This is the double opt-in. Whilst doing this most software will keep a record of the time, date and IP address from when the customer confirmed their details.

Always Send A Welcome Email: Sending out a welcome email shortly after a customer has signed up confirms to the customer that everything went through okay. You should also use this email to thank the customer for their interest in your product (note: they are interested in your product, not being on your list).

You can tell the customer roughly how often they should expect to hear from you and also tell them to “whitelist” your email address, or add it to their address book so that the future emails don’t end up in a Junk folder. White listing is especially important when the subscriber uses a challenge/arrest system. By white listing or adding our email to a list of allowed emails then we can bypass this type of spam filter system.

Contact Info: We already saw that having your business name and address in the email is a legal requirement but why not go a little bit further and put all your contact details in here too.