Too many times, business owners don’t have an email marketing strategy in place and keep sending out emails over and over again to any list that they can get their hands on. Most use Constant Contact to deliver their email communications and manage their contact lists. Guess what? Constant Contact is cracking down on companies that are sending out continuous emails with no plan in place. If you are one of those people, be prepared for Constant Contact to shut down your account. Yes…they are shutting down accounts for a few valid reasons. It’s important to understand the rules of email marketing and follow it! Don’t let it happen to your company.
Here are some reasons that your email account can get shut down:
- Too many bounces – It’s important to collect your bounced email addresses after every campaign and clean up your internal list. If your bounce rate is continually high, you will be shut down.
- Spam Reports – Spam is unsolicited email also known as UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). By sending email to only to those who have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines. If you receive a high rate of people complaining about being spammed by your company, then you are in jeopardy of being shut down for good. Constant Contact has a no tolerance spam policy.
- Not removing Opt-Outs – Every email generated from Constant Contact contains an unsubscribe link which allows your contacts to opt-out of future emails and automatically updates your contact lists to avoid the chance of sending unwanted emails to visitors who have unsubscribed. It’s important to use one service for all your email campaigns to ensure that your opt-outs don’t receive any further communication via email from you. If you switch to another service, make sure you bring your opt-out (unsubscribe list) with you.
- Invalid Company Contact Information - All of your emails are pre-filled with your contact information including your physical address. If you try to tamper with this or put in a phony address, be prepared to be shut down. Your contact information has to be clearly stated in any email communication.
What happens if your email account has been shut down?
The first step to rectify the situation is to contact a representative at Constant Contact and find out the reason why? Once they give you a reason, you can discuss ways to rectify the situation with your sales agent. Since you are paying anywhere from $28-$75 per month depending on your account preferences, Constant Contact wants to help you get up and running again. Just be very careful to follow their rules so you avoid being shut down for good.
I have spoken to clients that think they will just get another email vendor, but most vendors are following the Spam laws and regulations and will shut you down at some point. Also, another big misconception is that you can just use Microsoft Outlook to send out mass emails. Again, you need to make sure you have an unsubscribe link in your email and your contact information is clearly displayed. I would not recommend using Outlook for mass email communications since it’s not made for this purpose. You are better off using an email service that specializes in email marketing. At the end of the day, you do not want to annoy your customers/prospects with too many emails. You need to develop an email marketing strategy that works for you company and ensure that your email communication is going out to people that want to hear from you!
How to protect yourself from Spam: Take the Spam Test (compliments of Constant Contact)
- Are you importing a purchased list of ANY kind?
- Are you sending to non-specific addresses such as:
- email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or other general addresses.
- Are you sending to distribution lists or mailing lists which send indirectly to a variety of email addresses?
- Are you mailing to anyone who has not explicitly agreed to join your mailing list?
- Have you falsified your originating address or transmission path information?
- Have you used a third party email address or domain name without their permission?
- Does your email’s subject line contain false or misleading information?
- Does your email fail to provide a working link to unsubscribe?
- Are you failing to process any unsubscribe requests that come to you via a reply to your email within 10 days or the request? If you have answered YES to ANY of the above questions you will likely be labeled a SPAMMER.
About Monique Merhige
Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.