Permission-based Marketing with MailChimp

Do you really have “permission” to send an email?

Permission-based Email Marketing

MailChimp is a permission-based newsletter delivery service. Permission means that the receiver has requested your email. The only way to confirm that you have permission is when a user makes the confirmation and has double-opted into the mailing. A double-opt-in is when the user subscribes, receives a confirmation email and replies to that email confirming their request to subscribe. Anything else is single opt-in or spam. A single opt-in is when the user subscribes but does not reply to the confirmation email. Even users that consider your email valuable may mark their email as spam. Spam is when the receiver has not requested an email from you.

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.” –Seth Godin Feb 1, 2008

If your efforts or the efforts of an outside agency cause harm to your domain and email addresses, we may be able to help. It will take months to attempt to resolve these problems. The process is often too convoluted, time consuming and difficult to navigate without extensive email administration experience. When deep problems arise many small business owners choose to buy a new domain name and rebrand their company. Very expensive indeed. This would be an epic failure on many levels. This article attempts to prevent these issues and manage your domain in a way that builds trust, domain authority and rank among search engines, spam clearing houses and other service providers.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003, establishes the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce its provisions. To understand spam, read the Can-Spam Act. Also read the FTC Compliance Guide for Business.

“Account suspensions are automatic system actions triggered when a single send exceeds industry thresholds.” -MailChimp

“Even if you’re a legitimate marketer who does everything “by the book” and only uses opt-in lists, you can still get reported for spamming. Basically, when a recipient gets your email and thinks it’s spam, or just “junk mail,” they can click the little “Report Spam” or “This is spam” button in their email application (even if they signed up for it!) Some people just think the button is an easy way to unsubscribe from your list. Some people are just too lazy to scroll down and click your opt-out link. That’s why a couple of complaints are understood, but several gets into sticky territory.” –MailChimp Compliance Tips

Running a Professional AND Successful Permission-based Marketing Campaign
When you do not trigger an account warning or suspension and your results all fit within known industry standards for bounce-backs, unsubscribes and spam reports , you have conducted a permission-based email campaign. When you have delighted your readers ie; email recipients, your numbers will reflect your efforts and you can then consider your campaign successful.

But what if you got verbal permission?
Maybe someone added their email to a list you collected at an event. Maybe they gave you their business card and verbally asked for an email. This is called a “contact or a lead” and it is not an email for a permission-based marketing campaign. We call this a rogue email. Could be good, could be a misspelling or just an attempt to make you happy. These emails must be converted to permission-based emails for marketing through MailChimp or other permission-based marketing service providers. When you brand is in alignment with your goals and actions, confusion in marketing dissipates. Pono marketing becomes possible.

Here’s a few steps you can take to get your rogue email lists into a usable condition for a permission-based marketing with MailChimp.

To convert non-permission-based email lists into a permission-based MailChimp list you must sanitize. Sanitize is not the same as clean.

  1. Remove duplicates (Google Contacts can merge duplicates)
  2. Remove bounce backs (Monitor and remove invalid emails using an account that you can trash later. Do not use an email address hosted by Brent.FM)
  3. Send email asking for unsubscribe or indicate a preference eg; name, employer or occupation. Consider including an offer to edit their preferences – include MailChimp (MailChimp edit prefs link). If preference is updated at MailChimp, email is good.
  4. Merge sanitized lists into MailChimp using MailChimp Import.

Read: More email compliance insights from MailChimp

Also read: List management article from MailChimp

After non-permission-based email lists have been sanitized and imported into MailChimp make a best effort to:

  • Include an offer or information only available through this and similar emails. The idea is to create desire to receive your emails.
  • Monitor campaigns for unsubscribes and spam reports. The idea is to know what worked and what didn’t.
  • Have a strategy for account being shut down. Plan and prepare.
  • Make sure automated publishing is not sending too many emails to your subscribers.
  • Change your mindset. Publishing should start and end at WordPress. Thinking of emails as something different than a post is old-school. Viewers smell old-school and unsubscribe. Remember, it’s not about your needs, it’s about your subscriber’s need when you reach out to them and expect to keep them as subscribers. At a minimum, email content directed at subscribers should be included in website posts. So why not start and end with WordPress as your central publishing hub?
  • Get educated. Watch MailChimp video tutorials, read knowledge base articles and follow all instructions.

Using your domain name or other hosted email services to send spam emails.

This can cause many problems beyond email marketing. If you are a Managed Hosting Client under the Business Advantage Plan, we are monitoring activities on your server for spam, blacklisting, greylisting and other issues that may prevent you from a successful marketing campaign. The health of your email is an integrated part of the health of your domain name. We only host websites with healthy domain names under our managed hosting accounts. For our client’s it’s easier and more affordable when we manage email and website hosting.

We manage your brand professionally as well as your website’s healthcare. To help you better understand what Managed Hosting means, we have written a primer on the Basics of Managed WordPress Hosting. We’re always available to provide a price quote for setup and ongoing maintenance of your permission based marketing campaigns using Emma, Constant Contact or MailChimp. Learn what we do to setup and manage your permission based marketing platform.