Before adding new recipients to your contact list, you need to ensure that you have the proper permission for each and every recipient on your list. Why? Without proper permission, you run the risk of getting reported for spam, or worse, being sued under anti-spam laws. The basic principle of permission is that you can only email people who have explicitly given you permission to contact them, and only about subjects that they have specifically agreed to.
Failure to ensure that all your recipients fall into the 'Yes' category below will result in immediate termination of your account.
Yes, Permission Granted
- Explicitly opted in with you online - Each recipient subscribed to your list online and opted in for one or several types of mailings. For example, recipients may opt-in by clicking one or more subject-related checkboxes that were unselected by default. Co-registration on a partner’s site is OK as long as there are separate opt-in options for each list, and it is clear to users that they are subscribing to your list. If you haven’t sent the recipient email in over 6 months, we recommend a reintroduction message reminding them what they subscribed to and when.
- Explicitly opted in with you offline - Recipient completed your offline form or survey, or participated in your contest and gave their express permission to be contacted by email about specific subject(s). For example, the recipient may have selected an empty checkbox.
- Gave you their business card at an event - If, when giving you a business card, the recipient makes it absolutely clear that he or she would like to be added to a list with a particular subject matter, you have permission. We recommend an introductory message reminding them what they subscribed to and when.
- Explicitly opted in for the subject you are contacting them about - When opting in, the nature of the mailings should be made clear to the recipient. For example, a person who requests product updates does not imply they wish to receive a general newsletter or promotional mailing.
No, Permission is Invalid
- Email address copied from the Internet or another source - Just because someone published an email address online, in a directory or on a business card, doesn’t mean that they’ve given permission to be added to your mailing list.
- No email sent to recipient’s address in over two years - It's important to remember that permission granted does not mean permission forever.
- Email address obtained from a third party - If you purchased, rented, borrowed, or otherwise acquired a list from another party, even if it’s an opt-in list, the recipients didn’t give their permission to hear from you specifically.
- Recipient is a customer but hasn’t opted in - Just because someone is your customer doesn’t give you explicit permission to send them email marketing messages. They would first have to opt in for the specific subject about which you are contacting them.
- Email address is generic and used by several people - You cannot email to generic email addresses like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com because they are often role-based and the users of such addresses change frequently. The only exception to this rule would be if you knew the recipient and were sure that it was their permanent individual email address.
- Email address is a distribution list or mailing list - You cannot send email to any address that forwards to more than one person because it is impossible to determine whether all recipients have given permission, and there is no way for them to unsubscribe individually.
NOTE: Regardless of whether lists used are permission-based if you generate an unusual number of spam complaints, we reserve the right to take action ranging from warnings to suspension or cancellation of your account.
Learn more about email marketing
- 7 Tips to Help You Avoid the Dreaded Spam Filter
- Four Common Email Marketing Mistakes SMB's Make
- Your Email Marketing Journey and the Danger of Being Blacklisted
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