11 March 2010 11:08am
If a customer doesn't opt in for your mailing list, are you still ok to contact them via email in the future? Obviously you wouldn't add them to a regular mass mailing list without their permission, but can a sales person follow up in 6 months to see if they were happy with the service for example?
Best practice is clearly to get them to opt in, but are there actually legal issues with the above?
Thanks for any help and advice you might be able to offer.
Consultant at 120 Feet
12 March 2010 14:55pm
Hi there. You don't explicitly say but you imply that the people you are writing to have given you their email address as part of a sales process. Therefore they are your customers. I am not the right person to give legal advice, but I suggest you take a look at this guidance from the DMA. It may be that you can legitimately write to these customers under the soft opt-in clause on page 7.
Hope this helps.
CEO at Econsultancy
17 March 2010 11:09am
With a disclaimer like Sonia that I'm not a lawyer and not therefore giving legal advice you should trust... ;)
But, yes, you can email them. You should check the wording but, for business customers in particular, you can contact them if you've sold them something or even if you in negotiations (or ever have been) to sell them something. So you don't need opt in if you've already been in sales discussions and they've given their email details.
But of course it's not just about the legal technicalities. More about whether they actually *want* you to contact them and what the impact is in *their eyes* (as opposed to what the law might say). If they mark this contact as spam... how might this damage your overall sender reputation and possibly damage *all* your email deliverability etc.? This, I think, is the bigger consideration.
17 March 2010 14:50pm
thanks for raising this topic as I had the same question. I also have a follow up question. We have two types of 'customers'. Those who have 'parted with money' and as such they are customers. We also have people who have 'evaluated' our products but did not go on to purchase. These people have still given us their email address (as part of the evaluation), and they have 14 days to trial the product for free. Are these people included in the 'can email because its part of a sales process', and if 'yes', for how long afterwards can we contact them? If they dont buy the product after 2-3 months, we assume the dont want to buy, but we still have their email address. So it would be an opportunity to contact them when a new version is out of the product they did not buy. This might be up to 1 year later. Can we do that?
17 March 2010 14:57pm
I think it's worth re-iterating Ashley's point. Although it might be technically legal for you to contact a database of people who have evaluated your product but not purchased, and maybe even contact them up to a year later (you would need to double check that point), you need to consider whether it's really worth it.
Any email recipient can still report you for spam if your email is unwelcome, and this will not do much good for your reputation with either your prospects or the ESPs - potentially ending you up on a black list.
First and foremost you need to consider whether your email would be welcome. If not, then is it really worth hacking people off?
If you think that your email is genuinely going to add value to your recipients then it might be worth using the email subject line to make it clear that you are following up on their sales enquiry. It's not foolproof but it might help?
Consultant at Independent
13 May 2010 02:57am
I think it borders on spammy when you email people who didn't officially opt in. Therefore, I'd err on the side of caution in this case. It's not worth turning a customer or potential customer off and risking losing their business. Just my opinion, of course.
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