At Campaign Monitor we have quite strict permission policies which govern the type of lists that can and cannot be sent to using our service.
Many of you will have gone through our approval process, where we ask for details on how the specific list was put together, to make sure everyone is following the rules. This applies both to you guys and girls as designers, and also to your clients if they have sending access.
While designers can usually provide plenty of details about how they created their own subscriber lists, we often get asked “how am I meant to know if my client’s list meets your guidelines, when I was not involved?”. This is a good question. The obvious answer is to just ask them, and we’ve got permission handouts you can use to explain the rules.
Sometimes though you may not be 100% convinced your client is giving you all the information, or not sure on what to ask to get the full picture. To help you out, here are a few guidelines for exploring how permission was obtained. We’ve based these on the same process our support team follows when we need to get some more details.
- Ask for details
Rather than just saying ‘Does your subscriber list meet these rules?” (to which you may get a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer), try instead “Can you give me a list of the different ways people could get onto this list, like forms at your shop, or by email?”. This will get your client to think in more depth about it, and may bring up some ways that don’t actually meet our rules.
- Restate the answer and ask for confirmation
If you have asked your client if they followed our guidelines and they say they have, but you are still concerned, you can ask for a direct confirmation. “Just to confirm, all 786 of these people signed up on your website? You didn’t add anyone yourself at all?”. Again, this gives your client an opportunity to provide more detail, or to be 100% positive on how the list was made.
- Compare the explanation to the email content
If your client is telling you these are all recent customers, but the email starts ‘Introducing XYZ Company!’, something might not be right. See if the email content makes sense in the context of how the list was gathered.
- Explain why it matters
Everybody thinks that their entire subscriber list will be ecstatic to hear from them. Client’s often won’t realize that there are risks for them if they send to a list that isn’t permission based. If they receive spam complaints, but do have explicit permission from each person, that can be resolved. If they have complaints from people who don’t actually meet our guidelines, their account could be closed (and you as the account owner would be responsible).
Of course it is impossible to guarantee anything with certainty, but in our experience, following these steps often brings up a lot more information and allows us to make a better decision. It can work the same way for you.
### What if I do this, but my client has not told me the truth, or still gets lots of complaints?
This is a fair question. First off, it is actually really rare for this to happen. It would be a tiny, tiny percentage of our customers who ever have any significant spam problems. Of those, most can show they were clearly following all the guidelines, and so we don’t need to take any action.
As long as your emails are clear, with unsubscribes and permission reminders, and you’ve done your homework on how your clients have gathered their lists, you should never have to worry.