One of the themes I harp on with clients is setting recipient expectations. Senders that give recipients the information they need to make an informed subscription decision have much higher inbox and response rates than senders that try to mislead their recipients.
Despite the evidence that correctly setting expectations results in better delivery and higher ROI on lists some senders go out of their way to hide terms from recipients. I’ve heard many of those types of comments over the years.
If we tell recipients how often we’re going to mail them, we don’t think they’ll opt-in.
If you mail people, even those who have opted in, more than they want to be mailed, then they’re going to complain or ignore your mail. And that results in poor delivery. If you’re mailing so much even you think it’s going to drive subscribers away then maybe you need to re-think your email program.
They opted in at one point, and even though they opted out, we thought that they’d be interested in these other things we’d like to sell them.
No, the recipient opted out. An opt-out should be persistent. You cannot arbitrarily decide to opt your unsubscribes back into a new list. That’s going to cause you problems, either with your ESP or your subscribers or both.
We don’t care if the addresses don’t belong to the people who submit them, we’ll just mail those addresses anyway.
If you mail addresses that belong to people who never opted in to your mail, then you’re spamming. There are certain lists that are targets for this kind of abuse, usually partisan or highly political lists. That just means that the senders need to be even more careful about their subscription policies and setting expectations. Failure to do so results in delivery problems at major ISPs.
Setting expectations and listening to recipients is a vital part of successful delivery. Your recipients are your best allies in getting mail delivered to the inbox. Trying to deceive them or second guess their desires leads to diminished returns. Not only are you spending more money and time in strategy, but the more complex the system the less likely it is to be right.
Be clear. Be honest. Be recipient friendly.