Email/Database : Special Opts
How to track and manage opt-outs so your customers get exactly what they wantOctober 2012 By Jason Vosu
In the digital marketing world, the unsubscribe link can be the most critical part of an email—even to veteran senders. Every time you send, you could lose a potential customer.
There are many reasons for this, but the good news is if you strive to build relevant, smart-targeted emails and properly manage your opt-out process, you can reduce spam complaints, improve deliverability, achieve higher open/click rates, gain consumer insights and increase the return on your overall email program.
What the FTC Says About Opt-outs
Let's be clear about what the law says about opt-outs: A consumer who unsubscribes from a mailing should not receive that mailing from you again. It is illegal to continue to send emails to a consumer who has opted out of your email program. The Federal CAN-SPAM act of 2003 (updated in 2008) gives you 10 business days to remove someone who has unsubscribed.
An opt-out can also impact the other lists you send from. If subscribers indicate they don't want to receive email from you, that can sometimes mean all emails being sent by your company (referred to, legally, as the "sender"). This also applies if you are using a third-party send engine, or sending communications using a different from name or send domain. (There are a few exceptions to this rule with transactional emails, which include purchase receipts and shipping notifications, to name a few.)
A company found to be in violation of CAN-SPAM compliance can be fined up to $16,000 per email. That's per email. If someone decides to file a class-action suit, those fines and legal fees would add up quickly. While most lawsuits are filed against larger, obvious offenders, you are still breaking the law if you don't comply.
From a non-legal perspective, marketers should be glad when subscribers select the unsubscribe link—it means they did not click the spam button instead.
While the likes of Yahoo!, MSN, AOL and Gmail handle spam clicks differently, most will start blocking emails from your IP sender address if the volume and frequency of those clicks reaches an unacceptable level. Some blocks can be temporary (e.g., 24 hours), some ISPs will put your email into the bulk folder until you get the requisite number of opens and clicks, and some can require additional mitigation from your ESP—for example, if your IP gets blacklisted.