Improve ROI by Gaining Consent
- Categorized in: Legal Obligations
This is the first, in a series, to outline the practices of internet marketing professionals vis-a-vis the 10 basic privacy principles of PIPEDA, Canada's privacy act.
Let's start with consent. But, there's also social media and consent as it applies to social media.
Consent is a controversial topic. It taps our own individual sense of ethics, business conduct and boundaries.
In fact, if you want to see it in action, there's a fabulous discussion happening within LinkedIn these days. It's called: Does swapping business cards at a networking event, meeting, social function, etc, give people the right to add you to their database and start sending you their e-newsletter? Join the discussion and see both sides of this fascinating controversy.
Now, my opinion? Here's where I see the industry professionals standing on this topic:
Marketers - Interactive / Online or otherwise
For the savvy marketer helping customers develop customer loyalty, a brand identity and landing page conversions is a long term activity designed to target specific audiences. All the key marketing benchmarks for success such as developing target markets, developing campaigns for theses personas and measuring ROI to achieve the best performance for the price of the campaign are keys to marketing success. Marketers aim at developing the most cost effective customer, the loyal customer or brand advocate. In fact, savvy marketers will avoid an intrusive campaign without consent because the long term relationship with the right target customer is worth much more. So, consent or permission lends itself to achieving key marketing objectives. It makes business development systmes cost effective. Lack of adequate permission is shortsighted and doesn't lend itself well to developing strong ongoing business development activities.
The Internet Service Providers (ISP's)
This professional group wants to reduce spam for the average person. Many would like to see the CAN-SPAM act become tougher and include opt-in as well as opt-out requirements. It would make their job a little easier. They can't make people build opt-in lists but they can sure see the differences. Complaint rates can become unacceptable when opt-in or consent is absent. Open rates drop significantly when people have not opted to receive email marketing. Click thru rates are much lower when the sender has used a shotgun approach to building their list. When a targetted opt-in approach is used, its well known that open rates, click thru rates and conversion rates are improved. ISP's rate our email reputation based on these criteria.
So, if you're wondering who the service providers might be, they include Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Comcast, Verizon and others. Now, these are all the big US providers, but they impact Canadian service providers such as Bell & Rogers as well. They use Email Reputation firm systems to score or rate email reputation. And, lower open rates & click through rates will impact whether they deliver our email to the Inbox. If we want good results vis-a-vis our expenditures for our campaigns, use opt-in to improve your reputation. The ISP's are here to help the good guys and keep out the bad guys. They want to see consent.
Email Service Providers
Email service providers bank their business on email reputation. And, some service providers will take the guess work out of helping you with top email reputation by assuring that a recipient is not on your list unless you have full double opt-in. If ever there is a complaint with an Internet Service Provider, double opt-in records provide the only indisputable proof of permission. These providers include AWeber, inTouch Broadcast and probably, a few other smaller providers.
Now, to be fair, people have also shared their first hand accounts of where they were given a 20 minute lecture from the customer service staff at Constant Contact for having metrics which are indicative of poor reputation or lack of consent. And, having their accounts shut down due to complaints or because they sent email to a spam trap. Not exactly, the reputation you want to be known for but the safeguards are there.
So, yes, the email service providers care for consent. Regardless of the lack of opt-in within the CAN-SPAM act from the U.S., a desire to uphold consent or permission as a primary way to achieve acceptable email reputation. It is very important to these industry professionals. Whether it is left open for you to do or it enforces opt-in safeguards, consent is a primary factor within this segment of the online industry as well.
The email service provider can operate a successful business catering to both the business owner as well as the consumer. It just makes sense to be sensitive to the recipient because one day, they may become the customer.
So, the challenge continues. We'll see if more of the privacy principles are upheld within the marketing community just because it makes good marketing sense.
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