As we mentioned last week in Part 1 of this series, this is a very busy time of year for sending email and a lot of marketers are tempted to reach a wider audience in time for the holidays. Pressures from the powers that be in your organization might look to renting or purchasing a list in an effort to get your message to as many people as possible. It is important to know the consequences of such actions and avoid tarnishing your reputation before it’s too late.
The best mailing list is one filled with recipients who’ve explicitly requested that you send them something, but there are many kinds of mailing lists used in the industry, classified according to how reliably the recipients have indicated their willingness to be contacted. Last week we told you what not to do, here is a list of what you should do:
|Confirmed “Closed-loop” Double Opt-in
When someone signs up for your mailing list, a confirmation email is sent to their email address and an action is required (like clicking a link) in order to confirm that the address is valid. It is highly known throughout the industry as being the most effective method of growing your list as only the true owner of the email address can sign up and confirm their subscription – therefore generating very few complaints, if any. It also prevents you from adding any invalid and/or spam “trap” addresses to your list as they will never complete the confirmation process.
This type of opt-in sends a Welcome email to new subscribers upon sign up, but does not require any additional confirmation from them in order to be added to the list. This type of opt-in is a popular method, though it can be prone to abuse and lead to lists with more complaints than a two-step Double Opt-In process.
Single opt-in is when someone knowingly signs up to a mailing list by checking an empty “Yes, please sign me up to receive news from company x” box when submitting a form (like an online shopping cart, or account registration for a particular website). Although better than the Opt-Out method we’ll talk about next, this method leaves list owners open to abuse and generally results in a higher spam and/or Bounce rate that can lead to serious delivery problems.
|Opt-Out (Implied consent)
Opt-out list building occurs when an email address is added automatically and users are required to either unsubscribe upon receipt of an email or to uncheck a box when submitting their data on a form, or as part of a checkout process. Using Opt-Out methods as a way to build your list is a bad marketing practice and can make recipients feel as if they were tricked, damaging your relationship and reputation in the process. This method typically generates a large volume of emails flagged as spam which negatively affects your reputation as a sender and in turn your delivery rates.
Getting your email marketing messages to your target audience is about more than just writing an email and clicking send. It’s a complex process that relies heavily on your reputation, sending valuable content that engages your recipients and a contact list of subscribers who want to receive your email.
The most important part of good email delivery is the reputation you have acquired by the practices you adhere to as a sender. It takes time to earn a positive online reputation, but can take just one mailing to ruin it. This is especially true during the holidays because this is when marketers send the most email. Don’t do something now that you will regret in the weeks and months to come.
This is the final part of a two-part series by Kevin Huxham, CakeMail’s Director of Deliverability, talking about growing your list for the holiday marketing season. If you enjoyed this, there is more to come. Stay tuned for our up-and-coming whitepaper on delivery best practices which is scheduled to be released later this week. In the meantime, you can follow Kevin on twitter @cakemail_kev.