Why does it matter how you send marketing emails? Doing it wrong can make all your emails go nowhere, and/or it can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
You have two areas of concern:
- The number and frequency of your emails, and
- The nature of the content.
Number of emails
Most hosting providers place a limit on how many emails you’re allowed to send out in an hour and/or a day. Many email providers watch incoming emails, to monitor whether there’s an unusually large number coming from the same ISP address. Faulting on either of these can get your out-going email blacklisted — which means that your emails will be prevented from reaching their intended recipients. Limits vary, but are usually in the hundreds or higher.
Also, it’s important to note that even if you aren’t sending that many emails at one time, someone else may be doing it behind your back. If you have a weak password, internet bad guys have bots that can can break into your email account and use it to send out their spam, so you get blacklisted instead of them. Nasty, huh?
Content of emails
The government doesn’t care so much about the number of emails you send, but they’re very picky about your email’s content. How picky?
Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000.” — From ftc.gov
Got your attention? Very well….
There are — generally speaking — two types of business email:
- Also referred to as blast, bulk, or marketing email.
- Sent to multiple people.
- Purpose is to announce and/or promote a product, person, service or brand; and/or to solicit a response or donation.
- Examples: newsletters; event invitations; ads, promotions or coupons; tools and tips letters, etc.
- Also referred to as automatic, personalized, relationship, or triggered email.
- Sent to one person at a time.
- Purpose is to follow up on an interaction that occurred between a business and a customer (or organization and donor/client/volunteer/etc.), which may have included a purchase, a donation, a complaint, or a support request.
- Examples: welcome emails; shipping notices; password reminders; confirmation of a received payment or request for support, etc.
Both types of email must comply to these two requirements:
- The name in the “from” field must accurately identify the sender of the email.
- The subject line should not mislead the recipient as to the primary purpose of the email.
Commercial email, in order to comply with anti-spam laws, must also include the following:
- Easy unsubscribe: Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. You must honor all unsubscribe requests within 10 business days.
- Your company’s postal address must be included in the email.
- The message must be clearly identified as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement. (If all of your recipients are double opt-in, you are exempt in this case.)
By far, the easiest way to ensure that you won’t get blacklisted and that the unsubscribe process is both legal and easy for you to manage is to use an email service provider.
My provider of choice is MailChimp. If you’re using Constant Contact or Mad Mimi, I can also help you; I’ve worked with both of them. But if you’re shopping for your first email service — or don’t like your current provider and are looking for a new one — I highly recommend MailChimp. Setting up a template can be a bit tedious (I can do that for you), but once your template and list is set up, sending couldn’t be simpler. There are also nifty reports that tell you how many are being opened, which addresses are bouncing, and more.
And get this: for up to 2,000 total subscribers and up to 12,000 sends per month, MailChimp is completely free!
Check out MailChimp here.
(Note: This is not a sponsored post. If I ever bump up to the paid version, I’ll get a “Monkey Reward” for any paid account I’ve referred. But I think the free version will be all I’ll ever need.)