E-Commerce Link: E-mail Strategies for Corporate Governance
Most of your messages fall under the Can Spam definition of “commercial messages,” and require elements such as your company’s postal address and a way for recipients to opt out of future e-mails. Is your sales department aware of this? It should be, since individual salespersons act as agents of the company and are subject to compliance with the law. Do your third-party advertising e-mail procedures include suppression of previous opt-outs from advertisers? The law defines the advertiser as the sender because the content is about its product or service; and a main requirement of Can Spam is that prior opt-out requests must be honored. It is likely that some individuals on your list previously have opted out from the advertiser.
Some of your e-mails are likely to fall outside of Can Spam requirements because they are “transactional messages,” such as customer service replies to customers or order confirmations. However, there are best practices for the content of these messages.
You should document legal requirements and permission standards for your company. It is a good idea to hold educational briefings so that all departments are aware of the law and the penalties for noncompliance.
Set Brand Standards
Your company’s e-mails should promote your brand consistently. This starts with creating standards for fonts, logo use, terminology and legal language. It also includes establishing rules for departments. Can they create their own e-mails or must they only use preapproved templates? For example, some organizations empower their salespeople to select e-mail content from a series of preset messages. This controls the messaging and presentation, but allows sales to make dynamic use of the e-mail channel.
It’s also important to make sure your templates and messaging are in alignment with your Web site, direct mail programs, print advertising and other communications.
Centralize Deployment for Most Touches
Ideally, you should use the same e-mail deployment system for most of your messaging. (Groups such as customer service and public relations may require different facilities.) A centralized system allows you to provide consistent access to a selection of e-mail lists or subsets of e-mail lists, and also ensures that opt-out activity is managed properly. A good system also provides companies with the ability to control who has access to the system and what they can do within it.