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How to Turn a Questionable List into a Permission List

The Complete Guide to Email Marketing

Imagine inheriting a contact list from a colleague who says it's permission based. You could take their word for it and start sending away, but that's a pretty big risk. What if it's a list made automatically when people purchased a product, or even a list that was permissionbased at some time, but hasn't been used in quite a while.

If you come across scenarios in which you have even a shred of doubt that your list is permission-based, you'll need the following to settle the question:

A simple, text email - skip the graphics and images
A link in that email that recipients can click on to re-confirm their subscription
An unsubscribe link that works, is easy to locate and use
A link to your website so people can familiarize themselves with your product or service
An email address similar to the one you use to send your email or newsletter from, but never the one you actually use. You can find a more detailed method of converting those lists here.
Suffice it to say that keeping your clients' email addresses and personal information private and secure should be at the top of your priorities. They are trusting you with private information and can hold you responsible if that is misused or sold without their consent. The email marketing company you choose should be able to assure you that your company's contact assets are safe and secure on their servers.
Linking Other Business Contact Software with Your Email Service
When you sign up for an email marketing service, you'll most likely have an easy-to-use dashboard that helps you manage all aspects of your email marketing activities. This is great if all your business contact activity takes place only here. But some power users have made use of integration features that link to their Customer Relationship Management Software. This can be terrific, but you need to be extra careful here. Sometimes, the dashboards of either service will be accessible from one or the other. If you are importing that contact information to your email dashboard, do you have permission to send those new contacts bulk email? Is that permission current? Again, it might be best email them first and ask those contacts to opt-in to your email marketing.
Be Careful with Your Assumptions of Customer Email Permissions
Let's offer a final warning about permission: Just because you've acquired a customer's contact information through normal business activity, it doesn't mean that they've opted into your email marketing efforts. There is probably an implied permission for your customers who have provided you their email addresses, and automatically sending them e-marketing does not necessarily break the law.

Considering best practices is always good for your reputation. Consider sending an email to ask if you can add them to your email marketing lists. Skipping this step could again result in people hitting the report spam button. We can't stress enough how this hurts all of your marketing efforts. Besides just upsetting the one customer, you've tarnished your reputation and thus increased the likelihood that all your email marketing ends up undelivered. Let's put it this way: Just because you subscribe to a trash collection service, does that mean you want a weekly email newsletter from the waste disposal company?