Monday, September 22, 2014

My Inbox is Exploding

By Kim Tarasiewicz

My email is bursting at the seams, and chances are you feel the same way. Whether to their business or personal email address, most people get advertising emails that may no longer be pertinent. At some point, I opted into many of these emails, but as work, clients and life changes, so do your interests and promotional needs.

For example, when my sons were young, they loved to play with K'NEX so I was on the email list for alerts when sales came along. My boys are grown now, so I no longer need toy alerts. But I have to admit, it took me a while to opt out of the emails; it was easier to delete them each month than spend time opting out.

If K'NEX was paying per person on the list, I was wasting their money by remaining on their mailing list. However, as a marketer, I would have suggested that they clean their list of customers like me who had not placed an order for years. Sure, my presence was keeping their mailing list numbers high, but that wasn’t providing them with an accurate snapshot of their target audience.

As a consumer, I suggest:
  • Check the privacy policy before you submit your email address to any website. Most websites do not sell your email to others, but some will share your information with affiliates. You might decide not to submit your email address to websites that won't protect it.
  • When submitting your email address, look for pre-checked boxes that sign you up for email updates from the company and its partners. Some websites allow you to opt out of receiving these mass emails or at least let you chose which ones you prefer to hear from. There is also a division of the Direct Marketing Association where you can direct what type of mail you would like to receive called
  • Set your email software to automatically filter your emails into folders. Google’s Gmail does this for you and other systems have options in their settings that allow you to sort your emails automatically. This allows you to read them at your leisure, view how many you get from certain companies, and then determine if you’d like to opt out.
As a marketer, I would suggest to clients:
  • According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you must provide an opt-out mechanism and it must be available for 30 days after your email is sent. If someone on your mailing list sends a message asking to opt out, you must comply within 10 days. This means every time you send a mailing, you should be running your lists against opt-outs.
  • Keep your lists clean. This may mean keeping up with bounces and unsubscribers or proofing the names as you enter them into your master list. Also, you may want to send an email once during the year asking if your customers still wish to be included. Many companies that you can use to send your emails will charge per name on your mailing list; keeping clean lists saves money.
  • The Direct Mail Association is a great resource for anyone sending email or snail mail correspondence and they advocate for improving consumer confidence in email. They hold a list called “Do Not Mail” for anyone that may want to opt out of all commercial emails. While it is not a rule, it is a good idea to run your mailing lists against these to prevent potentially offending future clients.
Companies would like to believe that every person on their mailing list reads everything sent out to them, but is that really feasible? Why not focus on your true clients and customers, keep your costs down, and bring in the quality business leads you are really looking for?

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