I recently produced a newsletter for a client. We sent it to their entire mailing list that is representative of many years, clients and employee relationships. The list was a mess, and we decided that we’d use the mailing to help us cleanse it. We figured that we could just remove the bounces and opt-outs and we’d have a relatively good working list that we could continue to cleanse. Very bad idea, and we suffered a rather severe hand-slapping.
The vendor alerted us that we had exceeded the acceptable number of bounces/opt-outs (1 per 1,000, apparently the industry standard), so we needed to schedule a meeting to review best practices, then follow up with five assigned, randomly selected bounced names to get them to opt in. We cannot use the application until we complete this task, though we will continue to be billed. (Agreed. This seems a little draconian)
So what if we can’t find these people? Are we in newsletter purgatory, doomed to never again use this application but continue to pay for it? The problem is that even if we do get our designated five people to opt in, we could send our next newsletter to an ostensibly cleansed list and it is not unlikely that there would again be more than the 1/1,000 bounces/opt-outs.
Clearly, html email blasts are abused. We all receive more stuff than we like and probably didn’t formally consent to receive. When I go to a networking event, I exchange cards with a number of people. I fully expect that I will put them on my list and they will put me on theirs. We’re all looking for new business, and newsletters remain a great way to get in front of clients.
My recommendation is to suck it up; it takes a few seconds to delete or unsubscribe. I think this is the cost of doing business. I just wish I could convince my newsletter vendor to be as cavalier about this as I am.