I have to confess, while I know many companies are depending heavily on Email marketing more often than not I feel inposed upon by it. I’ve had some long running battles with companies re-adding me to their distribution lists. My longest standing offender is Ziff Davis Publishing. Whatever is in the water over there, they are just not doing enough to properly maintain their Email marketing mechanism. I probably have enough evidence over time that if I was litigious to sue them. Luckily for them (and me!) I am not. What I am though is a bit tired of these offenses and I write a blog so I have a voice.
My long battle with Ziff Davis is not the primary motivation for this article, Schneider Electric is. You see some months ago I noticed a big uptick in Emails from APC (Now Schneider Electric) the Uninteruptable Power Supply company. I immediately opted out of those Emails, only they’re still coming. I’ve “set my preferences” (no direct one click opt out option – unacceptible) on 2 occassions already. Today I received this:
Yep, they are back and now they are sending me messages in foreign languages. So how is it that in 2010 a company involved with technology products and a publisher of technology content could be the two greatest offenders in the realm of opt out failures?
I don’t really like Email marketing to begin with and it shows. I don’t have a “list” for my blog aside from the one that Feedburner maintains for me. I also don’t have a “list” for my business, aside from a list of customers that may require service updates, etc. I am definitely not effectively leveraging Email marketing but you know what? I am ok with it, because right now my fear of situations like the ones I’ve experienced with Ziff Davis, Schneider Electric and many others have made it very difficult for me to embrace the medium.
Is there hope for me?
There is definitely hope for me, I am working on a 100% opt in based solution to communicate different kinds of issues through my business. There is definitely valuable content that I can provide and I want people to have access to it. I have not made this a big priority though due to my hesitance. I think I have a solution to that, read on.
What Commercial Email Should Be
I have some ideas about how Email marketing/communications should be handled on the commercial side of things. Here is a list of “must haves”:
- 1 Click Opt out and add me to the “don’t ever send me Email again” list
- Very clear opt in process with disclosure on frequency and nature of messages.
- A working reply to address, you Emailed them they should be able to Email you.
- Never share Email addresses with “partners” or other groups within your organizations.
- End recipient Email addresses should be hidden in the sent Emails. (I know this seems obvious but I still see this!)
- Sufficient internal policies and resources to manage and maintain the system.
I think if you can’t do those things and commit to the costs, effort and maintenance of them I don’t believe you ought to be able to send Emails from a business to individuals. I guess I owe these firms a bit of gratitude. Over time their failures have helped me identify what I feel is acceptible policy for commercial Email. If you ever do see an Email opt in from my blog (besides Feedburner) you can bet it will be accompanied by a clear policy on the governance of that list.