Not confirming email addresses can put your customer in physical danger, and can cause you legal liability if they are harmed. We've written before about how not confirming email addresses can potentially create real-world, real legal liability, because in certain settings, and particulately in ecommerce, it can actually lead to your customer suffering physical harm; maybe even death.
Google's Gmail Verified Sender Pilot Program for political campaigns is up and running, and political campaigns can now apply to be part of Google's program which allows political campaign email to bypass the spam filter and be delivered directly to Gmail users' inboxes, but only once unless the user doesn't click on the big red "I don't want this" message that will accompany it.
There is a hidden legal danger in not confirming email addresses, and yes, even in the United States. We talk a lot about email deliverability (because hey, we're the original email deliverability service). And in that context we always explain how using double opt-in (i.e. confirmed opt-in) helps immensely with deliverability by reducing spam complaints and increasing interaction rates. But now we're going to talk about something that people rarely think about: not confirming someone's email address before you use it or add it to a mailing list can have serious legal consequences for you having nothing to do with CAN-SPAM, GDPR, CASL or any email-specific law. It can also have serious consequences for others, consequences that in turn can come back to you in serious, unexpected, but entirely avoidable, legal ways.
The one-click unsubscribe email law (sometimes referred to as the "one-step unsubscribe rule") is part of CAN-SPAM. The CAN-SPAM unsubscribe rules include that a recipient be able to effectuate their opt-out with a one-click unsubscribe, whether that is by replying to the email or by visiting a single web page. The one-click unsubscribe law is part of our Federal law, and so applies to any and all mailing lists and mailing list email.
Why would people who request your email, maybe even pay to receive your email, still report it as spam? Here's why. By way of example, we have a customer who sends email out on behalf of a very large, very well-known institution in the financial investment world. Some of these mailings lists are paid mailing lists. By which we mean that the users paid to receive these emails. And yet, they still report it as spam. Why would they do this? Here's why.
Customer service email response time expectations are such that a lead or customer expects to get an email reply to an email inquiry within minutes or, at worst, a few hours. That means that if you are taking more than a few hours to respond to a customer's email, and especially to a lead or prospect's email, you are both tarnishing your company's reputation, and losing out on business - in fact, you are effectively turning business away. Instead, answer it immediately, or at least as soon as you can, even if it's just to acknowledge it and say that you will get back to them more fully later.
You may not have heard of drip email marketing, or email drip marketing, but I can assure you that you know what it is. You have either sent it, or received it, or in some other way come into contact with it. Wikipedia - not always the most reliable source, but in this case accurate - describes drip email this way: "Email drip marketing is a form of e-mail marketing where a company sends ("drips") email messages to subscribers on a scheduled basis established using e-mail marketing software."
While I'm off at the last of the three conferences in four weeks (actually I'm running the Boulder Business Retreat), I thought I'd share this little example of what not to do with your email marketing. I should be back more regularly next week; I hope you've missed me as much as I've missed you! Today's shining example of a company that just doesn't get it is AmericaRX.com.
This came into my inbox today. This is an example of just about everything we tell you not to do here. And this is a company that is going to have serious deliverability problems.