Posts Tagged Best Practices
To clarify the three types of digital opt-in procedures when communicating with recipients and prospects the following is a layman’s term guide which should cover off any confusion around this area. Starting with the all essential signing up of new recipients to receive future digital marketing communications there are two well known procedures known as SINGLE opt-in or DOUBLE opt-in. Another form of opt-in which I will cover in this article is the SOFT opt-in.
SINGLE opt-in relates to a prospect indicating that they would like to receive future digital marketing messages from your brand or organisation via your supplied channels. They are then added to the relevant data file or segment for future broadcasts. Best practice procedure is to send them a welcome email or confirmation message to indicate their inclusion and offer them an opportunity to adjust their preferences and indicate what their key interests are. You should use this opportunity to cross sell, up sell and drive the user to your website for a possible first purchase. The use of a welcome discount or special offer is very common in these types of messages.
DOUBLE opt-in involves following-up the previous step to authenticate the user’s details. This is done by sending the new subscriber a further communication preferably in real-time with a confirmation link. They will then need to click this link before their opt-in is accepted and their email address is added to your data file or segment. This is an essential step to completing their registration as this eliminates the risk of fraudulent and 3rd party registrations. The DOUBLE opt-in process is often noted as a best practice however; it is not at all a legal requirement. To outline a further benefit of this, when a user is notified that they will need to respond to your confirmation email it should prompt them to retrieve your email. If it has been directed to their junk folder by their spam filter or settings you could benefit your future inbox delivery based on this engagement.
SOFT opt-in is a muddy waters topic for most digital marketers but can apply in some circumstances as an exception to the rule in digital marketing. This type of opt-in has usually been collected during sale negotiations or at the time of purchasing of goods or services. These messages should only contain the marketing of similar or related products and can only be sent on the basis that you have given the recipient opportunities to object to receiving future marketing communications when their details were harvested. You should also include the opportunity to unsubscribe (opt-out) on every future message and should only continue to send to the recipients if they do not opt-out. The opt-out should be as easy and direct as possible and should allow the option to STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE from any future marketing communications.
The term opt-out refers to several methods by which individuals can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information. This ability is usually associated with direct marketing campaigns such as telemarketing, e-mail marketing, or direct mail.
UNSUBSCRIBE/opt-out law states that you are obligated to allow recipients of your communications to opt-out or unsubscribe at any given time that they may wish to do so. Regardless of which digital marketing channel you are using it is highly recommended that that you comply with any opt-out requests as soon as possible. This begs the question, why market to an audience that are not interested or engaged with your offering?
You may send a confirmation message to confirm the completion of their unsubscription from future marketing messages broadcasted by your your brand or organisation.
If you have anything you would like me to add to this or would like any additional information with regards to this please comment or send me an email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
The email marketing channel will remain as vibrant and attractive to any organisations irrelevant of what their consumer and prospects databases may currently consist of. The additional offerings such as SMS/TEXT, mobile apps and of course social media will be a top priority of leading Email Service Providers in order to further the reach of these fast growing marketing channels for users and customers of their broadcasting platforms.
The introduction of Gmail and Hotmail’s priority inbox, as well as Yahoo’s view ‘email from contacts’ only in your address book will significantly change the idea of carpet bombing to a hefty list with the hopes of returning a small but valuable response rate. The Priority Inbox functionality that was introduced into these webmail applications in 2010 analyze incoming mail, giving it a ranking and sorting it into four customizable sections, what the user then deems as “Important” messages from an established contact or regularly engaged with brand will determine future deliverability to inboxes and bulk folders. This type of feature being introduced into various webmail’s will force senders into building a good reputation that includes regular customer engagement as the key to successful email marketing with a high return on investment. This may lead to reduced sending volumes but does protect the recipients and overall the future integrity of the email channel. The focus on cleaner data, the use of dynamic elements and essentially relevant content on a 1 to 1 relationship with users will become the key drivers for successful brand building and client retention in 2011.
Mobile apps will fast become a transactional point of sale for mobile smartphone users. The use of Android, Nokia (Ovi) and Apple mobile apps for customer email acquisition and customer retention will play a large part in overall marketing strategies. The mobile marketing channel has come a long way in the past three years; mainly due to the uptake in mobile smart phones. Where we once were limited to 160 character text messages with a costly ‘reply to’ call to action; we are now looking at rich content messages with clickable links and images leading to mobile friendly web pages. This opens the door for the transaction that every marketer is essentially working towards. For the first time you are able to literally get your hand into the consumers pocket. This can be a somewhat touchy relationship and a wrong message at the wrong time could mean the end of your texting relationship with the recipient. With email, you could get around to your emails at some point and filter them to your desires, with mobile, your handset bleeps in your pocket and you need to give it your immediate attention. Having said all of this; an email platform having sms/text capabilities will be a part of the decision process when choosing an Email Service Provider in 2011.
I predict a dramatic uptake in facebook.com email that may shake the very settled foundations of the industry’s best practices, the traditional Email Service Providers and the long standing loyalty of their existing webmail users. This will naturally cause a substantial increase in comparing and closely monitoring the adoption rate and response rates at Facebook.com and all existing ISP’s. Facebook email will be taken very seriously and promotion and presence on their site will be at the top of organisations priorities list which will knock on to a frenzy to get email subscribers to “like” brands and pages. I think we can all agree that 500+ million users is enough to secure the resource and financial investment in what will surely be a social presence with a future return on investment.
Merry Christmas and may 2011 be a prosperous and unforgettable year.