It is crucial that you maintain records during the acquisition process and retain the records afterward. When you follow the best practices that are described here, you can keep clean lists and minimize abuse.
Keep records of the following information:
- Date and time of contact
- The method that was used to obtain the email address
- The IP address that submitted the email address
If a email is blocked and requires manual intervention to resolve, ISPs and blacklists often demand proof of permission. Without good records, such proof is impossible to provide and the resolution might take longer.
Website or online forms
If you use a website or online form to collect email addresses, use a check-box that a prospect must select to be added to a marketing program.
Do not use pre-checked boxes. This practice is generally considered duplicitous and confusing. People do not notice the check-box and are surprised and angry when they receive marketing email that they did not expect. They might report the mail as spam and cause IP reputation and branding degradation.
Alternative ways of collecting email addresses
When you collect email addresses by telephone, in-store sign-ups, conferences, fishbowls, and webinars, you risk list contamination. Email addresses that are collected by these methods must be manually transcribed, which increases the chance of human error.
People also might provide addresses that are not theirs or are throw-away addresses. The best practice for this method is to send a confirmation email to the prospect to obtain official, recordable consent. This method eliminates incorrect addresses and ensures that the prospect wants to be added to a marketing list. To minimize complaints, the confirmation email must contain a reminder of where and when the address was collected.
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