Permission to send emails to the contacts on your list is extremely important. Without ensuring you have the proper permission from your contacts to send them marketing emails, you risk the following:
- The emails you send may be classified as spam by your recipients which will cause further delivery issues.
- Violating anti-spam laws and could get sued for doing so.
- Generating complaints, resulting in IPs getting blocked at major ISPs all over the world.
- Getting blacklisted for sending spam, which could filter down to your own domain and/or your hosting provider. If this happens, your hosting provider could terminate your account and you could lose your website, email and hosting service.
How do I build the right list?
The right list has to follow specific rules:
- It must have appropriate consent. This is the Golden Rule! Recipients must have agreed to receive your message, either because they opted in to a mailing list, signed up for a newsletter, or agreed to get content from you.
- It must be up to date. People’s email addresses can change, and you need to send to their current address. If an email bounces because the address is no longer valid, it must be removed from your list.
- It must respect a recipients right to change their mind. If someone has opted out of a mailing list, they must be removed and not receive another message.
Ideally, you should be whitelisted by recipients. This means that the recipients email server and mail client should know that emails from you are legitimate no matter what content you are sending them. You should encourage recipients to add you to their contact list, address book, or to their approved sender list to alleviate content filters issues and help establish you as a “trusted” sender.
Most ISPs provide their users with several ways of doing this. For example, if the user clicks any of the following after opening your email: mark this sender as safe, enable images from this sender, never send email from this sender to my spam folder, add sending to my contact list, etc.
Having an existing business relationship with someone doesn’t mean it’s okay to add them to your mailing list. If you are adding people automatically, or the sign up process isn’t clear, many of your recipients will flag your email as spam simply because they don’t recognize you or didn’t ask to receive your email to begin with. Complaints are the number one influence on your reputation so it is in your best interest to do everything you can to avoid recipients clicking the spam button.