As awareness of email marketing (but not necessarily legislation) increases the more uncomfortable I think I am beginning to feel ;-)
I work for an organisation with offices all over the place and, rather than keeping on top of legislation individually for each region, I want us to produce some kind of global policy that’ll ensure – so long as everyone sticks to it –we are consistent in our application and that we comply with - and even exceed - all of our legislative obligations.
I am thinking of using Campaign Monitor’s (CM’s) definition of spam (http://app.campaignmonitor.com/help/topic.aspx?t=51) as my starting point for such a policy but I am not sure if we need to be more cautious still.
In particular if I was to include 'purchasing something off us in the last 2 years' as an acceptable permission then I am pretty sure that’ll just open the floodgates – we have literally tens of thousands of contacts who’ll fit that criteria and I think it would likely become a free for all!
So I've got a few questions for anyone out there who’s kind enough to offer their opinion…
1. Do you think a global policy is a good way to go?
2. Will we be safe largely sticking with CM’s definitions?
3. Has anyone got experience (good or bad) of sending to a large list of contacts that have been defined by purchasing from the sending organisation within the last two years?
I think 1 & 2 are very close to be honest - CM's policy is already what you term a global policy, and it's an extremely good one. As it already goes further than any passed law on spam currently does, it should certainly mean you are covered on a legal perspective.
The 'people who purchased...' side is a slightly different fish though. Many people ordering online only want confirmation emails as opposed to getting signed up for marketing emails, however many now also half expect it anyway. The real question is, have these people been contacted since their purchase, or will this email come as a bolt from the blue?
It depends on how much of a gamble you want to take. Personally, I'd trim the list down to repeat purchasers, as they are more likely to want to know more about your offers, and maybe limit it to purchases within the past year or even 6 months. I'd also make sure the first email sent out to this group wasn't trying to shovel sales pitches down their throats - keep it light, informative and interesting! You'll trim out the ones who definitely don't want your mails, and then as those who stick with it become more used to getting your mails you can begin introducing other forms of mails to them ie: push some sales pitches in.
Thanks that's really helpful advice.
Trimming down lists to repeat purchasers makes a lot of sense but (and I really should have mentioned this before) we offer services, not products so our emails contain mostly thought leadership type stuff and I guess this maybe changes the dynamic a little bit?
I think I am edging toward leaving previous purchasers out of our policy altogether... just not convinced (maybe this is my real issue) that it'll be dealt with it responsibly if I was to include it.