Before you start to use our e-Marketing service you need to read our policy about e-Marketing and spam.
We offer permission based email marketing only.
This means that we cannot accept any data that has been bought as data lists from a 3rd party or where the contacts have never had contact from yourselves and therefore not given permission for you to email them.
It is crucial that you read our e-Marketing Anti-Spam Policy which is below and outlines our company policy as we have to adhere to strict e-marketing industry practice rules.
Failure to do so results in very poor deliverability of email campaigns, blocked list and worse being black listed so no emails can be sent out at all.
Our e-Marketing Anti-Spam Policy
What is classed as Spam?
Spam is any email you send to someone who has not given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of the email.
But it is not as simple as this as permission is open to interpretation, and this can be a grey area here are some specific scenarios to help you understand clearly what does and does not constitute permission.
What kind of email addresses are OK to send?
To send email to anyone using our services, you must have clearly obtained their permission.
This could be done through:
- An email newsletter subscribe form on your website.
- An opt-in checkbox on a form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completing the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
- If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that you would be contacting them by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like you to contact them.
- Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
- If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your list, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by email about that specific topic.
- Basically, you can only ever email anyone who has clearly given you permission to email them specifically about the subject you are contacting them about.
What kind of email addresses ARE NOT OK to send?
Anything outside the examples above does not equal permission in our eyes. By using e-Marketing Solutions, you agree not to import or send to any email address which:
- You do not have explicit, provable permission to contact in relation to the topic of the email you are sending.
- You bought, loaned, rented or in any way acquired from a third party, no matter what they claim about quality or permission. You need to obtain permission yourself.
- You have not contacted via email in the last 2 years. Permission does not age well and these people have either changed email address or will not remember giving their permission in the first place.
- You scraped or copy and pasted from the web. Just because people publish their email address does not mean they want to hear from you. Of course, some of these people might have given you their email address, but what is missing is your permission to email them commercial messages. Blasting promotional emails to any of these people will not be effective and will more than likely see your email marked as spam by many of your recipients.
What content MUST I include in my email?
Every email you send using e-Marketing must include the following:
- A single-click unsubscribe link that instantly removes the subscriber from your list. Once they unsubscribe, you can never email them again.
- The name and physical address of the sender. If you are sending an email for your client, you will need to include your clients details instead.
How we will know if you do not have permission:
Our e-Marketing has numerous layers of approval and monitoring to ensure you comply with our anti-spam policy which are as follows:
- Until your account has been approved by a member of our team, every email you send will need to be approved.
- Our software is directly integrated into the spam reporting systems for some of the biggest ISPs like Hotmail and AOL. If you do not have permission and someone marks your campaign as spam, we will know about it the moment that button is pressed. If you receive a complaint rate greater than 0.3% of all recipients (that is 30 complaints for every 10,000 recipients) you will receive a warning email requesting an explanation and giving you advice.
- This is a generous figure that takes into account false spam reports. Higher levels of complaints will result in accounts being locked or terminated.
- Our team verifies all large lists imported into our software. Until we have given it the all clear, you can not send it.
- We monitor blacklists and our abuse accounts all day every day. We can pinpoint who is causing us delivery problems or attracting complaints very easily.
What happens if I spam or intend to try to spam?
If we do discover that you are emailing people without their permission we will take the following action:
1. We will terminate your account immediately – it is that serious!
2. We will refuse to refund your account
3. We may charge you – refer to the terms and conditions on our website
In the end, it is really common sense. Put yourself in your recipients shoes, if they do not recognise who you are or are not interested in what you are sending, they will think you are a spammer.
It is that simple - The Spam laws are very strict and the fines for breaching them are huge, at the end of the day, it is best not to take the risk.
If you have any questions about our Anti-Spam Policy, or if you want to report spamming activity by one of our customers, please contact our Support desk.
Take the Spam Test – protect yourself from being a spammer!
- Are you importing a purchased list of ANY kind?
- Are you sending to non-specific addresses such as: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or other general addresses?
- Are you sending to distribution lists or mailing lists which send indirectly to a variety of email addresses?
- Are you mailing to anyone who has not explicitly agreed to join your mailing list?
- Have you falsified your originating address or transmission path information?
- Have you used a third party email address or domain name without their permission?
- Does your emails subject line contain false or misleading information?
- Does your email fail to provide a working link to unsubscribe?
- Are you failing to process any unsubscribe requests that come to you via a reply to your email within 10 days or the request?
- Does your email not have your address displayed?
If you have answered YES to ANY of the above questions you will likely be labelled a SPAMMER.
Can I Add these email addresses to my e-Marketing List?
There are a lot of ways to collect subscribers, and we encourage you to be creative in building your list.
However, not every email address that comes across your desk represents someone asking to be subscribed to your list.
To help guide you, here are a list of situations where you may obtain an email address, and whether or not addresses that you get that way should be added to your e-Marketing account.
Yes, No, Be careful?
People are coming to your website and entering their email addresses to get the specific information that you are going to be sending via our e-Marketing
|Perfect. They are asking you for a newsletter? You are sending them a newsletter. They are asking for product updates? You are sending them product updates. They are asking to get your blog posts via email? You are notifying them when you publish new content there.|
Delivering information to people who come to you and ask for it is EXACTLY what we are here for.
|You bought a list of "business opportunity seekers," "fresh opt-in leads" or any other type of list. |
|An absolute No!|
We could go on forever why but the long and short of it is:
You do not like getting spam. Neither does anyone else. Buying lists like this and emailing them is out-and-out spamming. Trying to send messages to addresses you acquired this way will get your account closed faster than you can say "and we will not give you a refund, either."
You are better than this. Do not be part of the problem; be part of the solution. Build your own list of subscribers, who are interested in what you specifically have to offer.
|You meet Jan at a business lunch, networking event, conference, etc. After talking, you realise that you may be a good fit to do business together in the future. So you exchange business cards. ||Jan gave you her card for the same reason you gave her yours - you want to talk later about doing business together.|
If you want to add her to your list, you need to ask her while you are talking. Write her answer on the back of her card - "Add" or "Do not Add" - so that later at your desk, you can see whether or not she wanted to subscribe.
|You connect with Steve on LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter or another social network. ||Connecting with you on LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other network does not mean Steve wants to be subscribed to your email list. (Do you want to be on every one of your LinkedIn contacts email lists?)|
Just like with the business card exchange, you need to ask Steve before adding him to your list. Ask him after you are connected. If he says "yes," then add him.
|You run a competition to win a free lunch. You set up a bowl and people drop their business cards in it to enter. ||If you dropped your business card in there, and instead of a free lunch, you got added to someones list, you would be annoyed. That is not why you put your card in there!|
It is important to realise that there is a cost associated with receiving email - the time out of a subscribers day that is taken up reviewing their inbox and (if they choose) reading your message. That cost is on them, not on you, and you need to make sure that they are aware of what they are signing up for.
Read the next situation to see how to better do this.
|You set up a bowl for people to subscribe to your newsletter. You state that each month one new subscriber will win a free lunch. ||Much better. I am signing up to your newsletter, AND entering myself in the drawing simultaneously. I am aware that I am going to get email messages as a result of dropping my card in the bowl, and I have got nobody to blame but my own freebie-seeking when those messages show up in my inbox. |
|You have been using an online opt-in or in-store signup form to collect addresses for awhile, but you have never done anything with those addresses. Now you are ready to. ||How long has it been? People who signed up last week and people who signed up last year are NOT equal.|
Permission is specific: subscribers are asking a specific person - you - for a specific piece of information, at a specific time. As time passes, so does their interest.
If it has been more than a couple months since someone signed up, that permission is stale. Do not bother with them. If it is less than that, go for it. Take care to remind subscribers WHY they are getting an email from you and to work to restore their trust in you.
It is important here to separate out the "newer" subscribers (who you are going to email) and the "older" ones (whose permission has expired). If you can not distinguish between them, you are better off throwing out the lot of them and starting over, today.
|You attend or exhibit at a trade show. Prior to the trade show, the organizer provides you a list of the attendees and their contact information. ||Same as the business card exchange. The other attendees did not pay the entry fee so that they could get email from you.|
Can you imagine a trade show with thousands of attendees, where everyone did this? You would start getting thousands of emails overnight. Not good for anyone.
For a better idea, keep reading:
|You go to a trade show. At your stand, you provide a signup sheet, or a box/bowl for people to drop their card in specifically to get on your list. ||Now, you are getting people who are interested in YOUR specific business and information.|
By the way, act promptly with these addresses. The longer you wait to start delivering value to them through your messages, the less likely they are to remember who you are, and to stay on your list.
|You are a member of the local Chamber of Commerce or any other organisation of that matter, and you are provided with a list of the other members and their contact information. ||Being in the Chamber of Commerce or a member of any other organisation does not mean you give up control over your inbox.|
If people have not requested information from you, do not add them to your list, regardless of whether or not they are a fellow business owner in your area.
|You export your Contact List from Microsoft Outlook or an Excel Spreadsheet you have been compiling. ||Slow down for a second. WHO are you exporting from there? Just people who subscribed to your list while you were managing it manually? Or are you exporting EVERYONE in your address book, without regard to HOW they got in your address book in the first place?|
Permission is not taken, it is given. Do not just add people to your list because now you have got their email address. Add them if they GAVE it to you in order to get on your list.
|You own a business, restaurant, shop, etc. On each table or in reception area, you leave a pen and a card offering your newsletter. ||As long as people are leaving their email address specifically to get on your list, that is perfect.|
And just like the trade show signup - do not delay in getting those people on your list. Remember, as time passes, so does their interest, and permission eventually expires.
|You offer email support on your website. People email you questions about your product. You want to add them to a prospect list. After all, they are obviously interested in what you have to offer, right? ||They may have had a question about your product, but they did not ask to be subscribed to your list. Adding them is not a good way to build trust and credibility.|
When you reply to support emails, use your signature file toinclude a link to your opt-in form for them to use.
|You are in charge of a group of co-workers who are working on a project. You want to use e-Marketing to send them notices about meetings, changes in schedule, and other related information. ||Co-workers or not, anyone who you email with our e-Marketing must ask you for that information specifically. Spam complaints from co-workers are just as serious to ISPs and to us as complaints from any other subscribers.|
Make sure that you personally check with each member of your team and get their permission prior to importing them into your CRM account.
|You have a list of email addresses you collected from Facebook fans and Twitter followers, who you think would want to receive your email newsletter too. ||You know what good email marketers say: "Never assume -assuming makes a spammer out of you and me". By following you one way, a viewer is not saying they would like to follow you every which way.|
You might ask your viewers if they would like to get your newsletter, directing them to a form on your site to sign up. But do not add them without specific permission.