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By far the most important aspect of email marketing is the concept of permission. These guidelines tell you what constitutes permission for your subscriber lists.
You should only email subscribers if you have obtained their permission in any of the following ways.
- They opted in via your web site
This could either be through a newsletter subscribe form or by ticking a checkbox on another form. This checkbox cannot be checked by default and it must clearly explain that checking it will mean you will be contacting them by email.
They completed an offline form and indicated they wanted to be emailed. If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicating they would like to be contacted.
- They gave you their business card
If someone gives you their business card and you have explained to them that you will be in touch by email, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a bowl at a trade show, you should have a sign indicating they might be contacted by email.
- They bought something from you in the last 2 years
By making a purchase from you they have provided their permission implicitly. Feel free to email them but at the same time, we think it's always better to ask anyway, so why not include an opt-in checkbox as part of your checkout process.
There is specific legislation in place stop spam, The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. There are also other legislations in other countries such as the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) act of 2003.
Broadly speaking if you follow our permission guidelines for obtaining email addresses and follow best practices such as including an unsubscribe link which is processed instantly and using a real email address to send from and reply to you will be compliant.
You can read more about Spam by following these links:
A hard bounce is when the email is returned to the sender usually because it's not a valid email address (a typo, domain doesn't exist, address has been changed etc.) or the domain has blocked your server. A hard bounce remains permanently undeliverable.
A soft bounce is an email message that gets as far as the recipient's mail server (it recognizes the address) but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient's mailbox is full, the server is down or swamped with messages, the message is too large or the user has abandoned the mailbox. Our system will try and deliver the email a maximum three times and then if it's still undelivered it becomes a soft bounce.