Recently we posted some insights as to why and how you should go about email marketing successfully: check out the previous post for hints and tips! However, all is good and well until you find yourself acting illegally by stepping outside the “Opt-In” laws of your country.
A new subscriber first gives his/her address to the list software (for instance, on a Web page), but no steps are taken to make sure that this address actually belongs to the person. This can cause email from the mailing list to be considered spam because simple typos of the email address can cause the email to be sent to someone else. Malicious subscriptions are also possible, as are subscriptions that are due to spammers forging email addresses that are sent to the email address used to subscribe to the mailing list.
Confirmed Opt-In (COI)
A new subscriber asks to be subscribed to the mailing list, but unlike unconfirmed Opt-In, a confirmation email is sent to verify it was really them. Many believe the person must not be added to the mailing list unless an explicit step is taken, such as clicking a special web link or sending back a reply email. This ensures that no person can subscribe someone else out of malice or error. Mail system administrators and non-spam mailing list operators refer to this as confirmed subscription or closed-loop opt-in.
Instead of giving people the option to be put in the list, they are automatically put in and have the option to be taken out.
So now you know what “Opt-In” emailing is, let’s get down to the ins and outs of the laws for this practice throughout the USA and Europe, check out the link here for a great overview of the regulations – http://www.lsoft.com/resources/optinlaws.asp
However if you don’t have the time to read through the fairly large table of requirements, here is the quick checklist taken from the site that you could run through to check the legality of your email campaign:
- Do I have prior explicit and verifiable permission, “Opt-In”, from the recipient?
- Does the message have:
- A clear and accurate sender identity?
- An accurate subject line?
- Clear and easy Opt-Out instructions?
- A physical postal address and company details?
- A valid return address?
- Have I tested that the subscription and unsubscription works?
- Have I checked the test messages carefully before posting? Did my colleagues do this, too?
- Can I process the replies and any subscriber requests promptly?
And yes… You are supposed to be able to answer “yes” to each of these questions before sending your campaign.
Think about it – If you’re sending emails to people who don’t want to receive them, you’re not likely to gain anything from them anyway. Relationships are built around trust, commitment and satisfaction; your emails are an important part of those relationships!