How to Use Data Driven Marketing to Deal with Spam
Because data driven marketing mass mailings through e-mail are so inexpensive, these campaigns don’t need to have very high response rates to generate sales. It was this fact that led inevitably to the abuse of the channel. People’s distaste for spam or unsolicited e-mail, especially in large volumes, led to all kinds of technical and legal developments designed to block e-mail solicitations.
In other words, people have gotten to the point where they simply tune out much of the marketing related e-mail that comes to them. They can flag an e-mail as spam and never see another e-mail from that sender again. E-mail service providers block e-mails all the time.
You might have a separate e-mail account that you use for only one thing. You might make a lot of purchases online, and companies invariably require you to provide an e-mail address. Because merchants need an actual e-mail address (yes, websites can check this), you create what amounts to a dummy account to receive the inevitable follow up e-mails.
You reserve your real e-mail address for companies that you frequently do business with. This is becoming a common tactic for online consumers. It is estimated that in the online marketing business there are as many as 15 percent of the e-mail addresses in marketing databases are being used this way.
You must allow customers to opt out of hearing from you — this is standard practice when you collect a customer’s e-mail address online. Usually it involves offering a check box for them to indicate whether they want to receive special offers and other marketing communications from you in the future.
Respect their decision. You are actually legally mandated to do so per the CAN-SPAM law.
There is a loophole in the CAN-SPAM law which allows you to communicate with existing customers. If the communication is related to your relationship with them, you can use e-mail. Shipping information on a recent purchase is an example of such an acceptable use. Confirming a password change is another.