The Internet is growing and changing industries so fast, some countries are still trying to keep up and have not been able to establish necessary regulations to control its influence related to privacy and commercial activities. No, I am not talking about Internet censorship (which I am totally against btw). I am referring to one thing that kills productivity the most, that is spam.
What is spam? Quoting from Wikipedia:
Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media.
I particularly find the word indiscriminately to be spot on. You are not expecting it, decide not to receive it anymore, or whatever other reason, but you cannot stop it from keep getting into your inbox. Even if you have a legitimate business and only send one or two emails a year with “hard to resist” offers without giving your customers to opt-out from your list, to me that is spamming.
Some countries have created laws to regulate these types of advertising by requiring any type of business or person to put an unsubscribe link in their promotional emails. Unfortunately for many businesses which base of operations are in countries that do not have local rules that enforce it yet, they feel that it is not required. The main reason is mostly because they do not want to loose their potential market and believe they have nothing to loose. Well, I beg to differ. There are risks involved, which I am going to explain below.
Getting your email and IP addresses banned
By not allowing your recipients to unsubscribe, you are increasing the chance of them to mark the email as spam and it will go to their junk mail inbox instead. Note that when anybody marks an email as spam, the email service provider will also log its sender email address and IP. When it receives too many complaints from the same sender, it can put your email or IP address into a blacklist and you cannot send to all customers that use that email service anymore. Imagine if 30% of your customers use Gmail and your server is banned by them, that will be a big loss.
Cost efficiency and effective targeting
If you run your email campaigns from a third party service provider, there are usually two types of pricing:
- Pay by the number of your subscribers on your lists
- Pay by the number of emails sent
In any case, the bigger your list then you are paying more money to maintain it and send out email campaigns. If you have 100,000 subscribers but with only 10% of average open rate, compared with 50,000 subscribers with 20% open rate, you are probably already saving half of the operation costs.
What about if you send out the emails from your own server? Speaking from my own experience, hosting your own mailing list application takes a lot of resources. With every extra email you send out, you need to provide extra time for the spooling, server resources (CPU, memory), and bandwidth. Why doubling your hosting costs just to send out emails that will only end up at junk inboxes?
Building better trust relationship with your customer
Do you get annoyed by sales rep who is pushing you every single week with new product offers that you are not interested at all, even after you said no already? Do you prefer to deal with reps who can provide the information you need but allow you to think first before making a decision? The same rule with emails. By allowing them to decide when to receive or stop information from you, it builds better trust and respect from your customers.
In conclusion, I would like to state that you have more things to loose by not placing that unsubscribe link on your emails whether it is required by the local laws or not.