In other words … do you really know where your email list has been?
Just getting your kids in by curfew isn’t all there is to being a parent, and just getting lists that are probably good enough isn’t all there is to being an Internet retailer. Yet how can you make sure that your list has been cleaned, cleared, sanitized?
The first step is elementary: don’t ever simply just rent a list and send to it. Even the most honest of list brokers make mistakes, but it’s your company name that is going to be viewed as the sender. The reality is that many if not most lists are compiled from various sources, and that can leave you with multisourced junk.
Often lists are amalgamated from various sources in order to give them bulk, or bought as whole chunks and cut up into pieces and sold. What this means is that there’s no recency: You may be getting addresses that were collected years ago.
For example, someone may have filled out a postcard at a retail store two years ago in order to receive some sale and coupon information from that retailer, not expecting it would lead to email offers for peanut butter or vacation rentals. There’s no identification as to where these offers came from, nor any relevancy to the information that the consumer was originally requesting.
In addition, these are typically the emails that subsist on click fraud, where there can be a 17% open rate—and no sales.
Email lists should be pure; they should contain one source, place, and relevant offers that consumers understand—and sign up for.
In the days of direct mail, companies used to send names and postal addresses in an Excel file. Some online retailers continue that practice with email and are buying files from brokers, aggregators, data compilers—and this is in clear violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.
It’s very simple: you cannot mail to a list. Full stop. What you should do is give your creative to the owner of the email list, the company that has received permission to email to the prospect, and have that company send your offer for you. Some email service providers are now offering SaaS solutions to list sanitization, and it’s a good thing to consider.
Be a good “parent.” Know where your list has been, and exactly who it’s going to. After all, it’s a scary world out there: give your customers every reason in the world to trust you … no matter what time it is!
Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor in the creative services group of eWayDirect.