This article is advisory in nature. Its purpose is to help you make an early check of your mail list compliance with the email marketing best practices and thus avoid running into future trouble by tarnishing your sender reputation with spam complaints.
Below we will be examining a few simple scenarios of compliant and non-compliant mailing lists. For more information on the matter, and especially if none of the examples match your case and you feel unsure of your list classification, we strongly urge you to contact our amazing support team and ask!
For legal advice on the matter it is highly recommended to contact a lawyer who has experience with such issues.
A. Examples of compliant mailing lists
- We recently organised a conference and we had an email opt-in kiosk at our booth. Can I use the emails gathered from the booth to send a "thank you" follow-up campaign?
It's absolutely great to send a "thank you" follow-up campaign to people who visited your booth, as long as the attendees have been informed that they might be receiving such emails from booth owners. Keep in mind that it's good practice, and highly recommended in such cases, to include a Subscribe to our Mailing List form or link inside the "thank you" note to get people to subscribe to your mailing list.
- When people buy from our online store they are asked to tick on a check-box if they are interested in receiving promotions and newsletters from us.
It is perfectly fine to use an email address as a recipient for your newsletters if you were given permission to do so! A really good point here is to avoid having the check-box ticked by default since there is no action required from the user in such case and it might cause distress.
- I own a small business, so I give a little card to every customer in which I ask for their email address as a subscription method to our newsletter.
This is a permission based list and you can most definitely use it as a mailing list for your email marketing campaigns. Since this method is in essence an offline collection method you are strongly advised to keep a physical copy of the subscription cards.
B. Examples of non-compliant mailing lists
- We set up a booth at a conference and the host kindly provided us with a list of all the people who visited. Can I use the emails gathered to send a "thank you" follow-up campaign?
You are kindly advised against sending a "thank you" follow-up campaign to email addresses obtained in such a way. They have not agreed to receiving emails from you. If the subscriber has not signed up to receive emails specifically from your business you risk receiving spam complaints for your campaigns.
- I bought a list of X million emails from the Internet and I have proof.
- I've set up a box right next to our cash register so that our shop customers drop in their email addresses to participate in a lottery.
Although these people voluntarily provided their email addresses, they didn't specifically ask to receive promotional email campaigns from you. You should avoid adding them to your mailing lists.