What You Need to Know About Permission

es_screen_tabletBy far the most important aspect of email marketing is the concept of permission. Its the only thing separating you from the spammers of this world, but for many it remains a grey area. It doesnt need to be. First of all, lets clarify what spam is, and then what kind of permission you will need to use an email marketing service like Edge Sender.

This is so important, because clients will land themselves in legal trouble if they dont comply, and end up at the wrong end of the law.

Being ‘legal is not enough – our definition of spam

While the CAN-SPAM laws are a step in the right direction for classifying and reducing spam, we dont feel they go far enough. Our definition of spam goes beyond the laws in most countries and encompasses what we believe to be true permission email marketing.

Spam is any email you send to someone who hasnt given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of the email.

But thats not enough. Permission is a fuzzy word open to interpretation. Lets get into some specific scenarios so its clear what does and doesnt constitute permission.

The type of permission you MUST have

You can only email subscribers using Edge Sender if you obtained their permission in any of the following ways.

  • They opted in via your web site

    This could either be through a newsletter subscribe form or by ticking a checkbox on another form. This checkbox cannot be checked by default and it must clearly explain that checking it will mean you will be contacting them by email.

  • They completed an offline form and indicated they wanted to be emailed

    If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like to be contacted.

  • They gave you their business card

    If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your list, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by email about the specific topic.

  • They purchased something off you in the last 2 years

    By making a purchase from you they have provided their permission implicitly. Feel free to email them but at the same time, we think its always better to ask anyway, so why not include an opt-in checkbox as part of the checkout process.

Scenarios that DONT equate to permission

Basically, anything outside the examples above doesnt equal permission in our eyes, but here are some examples to make sure were crystal clear.

  • You obtained the email addresses from a third party

    Whether you purchased a list, were provided one by a partner or bought a bankrupt competitors customer list, those people never gave YOU permission to email them and they will consider your email spam. No matter the claims of the source of this list, you cannot email them with Edge Sender.

  • You scraped or “copy and pasted” the addresses from the Internet

    Just because people publish their email address doesnt mean they want to hear from you.

  • You havent emailed that address for more than 2 years

    Permission doesnt age well. Even if you got their permission legitimately, they wont remember giving it to you. If you havent sent something to that address in the last 2 years, you cant start now.

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