Email Marketing Tactics #13: Maintain Privacy

Maintaining privacy is essential when running an email marketing campaign. Subscribers have signed up to receive communications from your organization, nothing more, nothing less.  Don’t betray that trust.  Maintain subscriber information privacy.

There are two common ways that email marketers violate subscriber privacy:

  • Cross promoting with other organizations
  • Selling their list to other organizations

Cross promoting can be a tricky issue.  In some cases it does make sense to highlight another organization because it syncs up nicely with the topic the email marketing campaign covers.

An example might be a business partner that is holding an event.  The business partner might ask you to send their invite to your list.  Assuming the business partner’s event closely aligns with the subject of the email campaign, it’s likely that the subscribers would be interested in the information.

However, simply sending the invite for the business partner or worse yet handing over your email subscriber list would likely violate subscriber policy.  They didn’t sign up for communications from your business partner, only from you.  There is likely going to be some resentment or confusion as to why they are receiving a promotion from the business partner.

A work-around for this situation would be to feature the event in a newsletter or upcoming events email.  If it is included in normal communications and maintains consistency with other emails, then it likely does not violate privacy.  It simply highlights a related event that they have the choice to get more information about.  We are still providing value by doing data collection for our subscribers.

The other privacy violation is selling the subscriber list.  The course of action here is simple: don’t do it.

There is no excuse for selling off your email list.  Subscribers represent a valuable resource in prospects and clients that are interested in hearing from your company.  Treat it as the asset it is.

Post a privacy policy on your site for subscribers to see when they opt-in.  Then follow the policy by protecting subscriber privacy and they will likely reward you with an ongoing relationship.  The ongoing contact will improve awareness about your organization and likely lead to leads or sales over time.

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