Getting Your E-mail Newsletter Delivered, Opened and Read
I should start by letting you know that I’m a firm believer that every e-newsletter list should be opt-in. The list should consist of subscribers who said, “Yes,” to receive exactly what you’re sending them and nothing more. Verify the intent by sending each person an e-mail to assure they actually made the request with instructions on how to get off the list if they didn’t.
Some suggest to go the extra yard and do a “double opt-in” where the user who signs up has to do something else to confirm the subscription, for instance click a link or fill-out another short Web form, but in this case your content better be worth subscribers basically telling you twice that they want your e-newsletter.
Keep in mind that by not opting-in someone to receive e-mail, you are not breaking the law. However, you could still easily be perceived as a spammer and the result could be just as harmful. Also (and hopefully), when the law changes and publishers must prove someone asked to receive e-mail, you won’t have any interruptions in your business or lost ad revenue trying to opt-in your subscribers.
Your IT folks or marketing department have probably told you about “whitelists.” Getting on a whitelist means a subscriber has added your e-mail address or domain (i.e., yourcompany.com) to a file on an e-mail server or e-mail client/program consisting of addresses they approve to get e-mail from. The other side of this is a “blacklist,” consisting of the e-mail address or domains of spammers. Compiled by Internet providers that often share them, make sure you’re off any known blacklists.
Lastly, I’m amazed at the number of people who add a message like “be sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your whitelist or approved list of senders” to a challenge or welcome e-mail message, but don’t use the same message on the confirmation Web page after the opt-in request has been made.