Sustainable email sending programs in an inherently hostile environment now require great care and planning. Before considering the technical complexities and the marketing tactics, email senders must adopt a basic paradigm shift. Roadrunner email
The five guidelines included in this series should become watchwords for ezine emailers as they incur the risk and responsibility of sending newsletters or any other repetitive type of email.
Part 1 of 5: Treat Email as a True Risk and Cost Center
Part 2 of 5: Avoid Collateral Damage
Part 3 of 5: Plan to Use Every Legitimate Tool and Tactic Available (M2M)
Part 4 of 5: Build strong relationships (H2H)
Part 5 of 5: Continuously evaluate messages, lists, and recipient populations
Part 1 of 5
Treat Email as a True Risk and Cost Center
not as just an Internet infrastructure tagalong
Because it was “free”, easy, and universally accessible online, email became the breeding ground for a vast number of experiments in communication and commerce. Ezines, newsletters, CRM programs and many other online publications are the product of some of those experiments. More pathological forms of information transfer also evolved in the same space, such as Spam and viruses. Today the Internet is trying to develop an immune system to fight those pathogens. Unfortunately, non-pathogen marketers and online communicators of all types have become the victims of this primitive new immune system’s stumbling efforts.
Many online publishers moved to email back when the costs were essentially limited to a computer, some bandwidth, and a lot of work. Well, email has changed since then in many ways, almost beyond recognition. As this guideline points out, the cost of email risk avoidance and email delivery assurance have now become significant, even when they are not direct out-of-pocket expenses.
Senders need to catalog and understand the risks they face, and the costs to overcome these risks, as they adapt to the new hostile email environment.
New Potential Legal Risks From Email Programs:
Despite the prevailing opinion among newletter and ezine publishers that the recently enacted email legislation is directed only toward “Spammers”, there is good reason to take these regulations rather seriously.
Even if we assume that you only send permission-based email (that all of your recipients subscribed to your ezine), so by definition you are not a “Spammer”, there are many other aspects of the email process that have now become regulated. Examples include email transmission practices, list records, operational control over complaints and unsubscribe requests, claims of false or misleading Subject Lines, and several other issues. Mistakes in these areas, even with clearly permission-based mail, can have legal implications. And in fact, precisely what constitutes “permission” is still being worked out in some cases.
Online publishers should also be concerned about the motives and circumstances of some actions under the new laws. Targets may be chosen more for their ease of accessibility than for any serious infractions. It is much easier to find and go after a target you can see (such as an stable ezine) than it is to hunt down an elusive Spammer.