The USA has very different laws regarding spam to Europe or, I believe, Canada. Your approach will vary depending on your location.
|but I seem to be subscribed to the email newsletter of every store I shop with online and I know I didn't opt into most of them. What do you think? |
In many countries it is not legal to send people email newsletters unless:
- they have agreed to receive them by subscribing
- or you have a business relation with them
That's why it is possible and legal for shops in some countries to send emails to customers. For example where I live I can send emails to my customers without an additional permission if I provide a way to immediately opt out and advertise similar products or services. For example if a customer bought car parts, I am not allowed to send him newsletters advertising computers, only for other car parts.
So check the laws where you are doing business.
|What are the benefits of using a service like Constant Contact or MailChimp instead of writing the mailer myself? |
Obviously the benefit is, that you do not have to write the mailer yourself. ;)
Well, you still have to write the mailer :-), even if you use constant contact or mail chimp. After over 17 years on our own server, I relocated the website to lino$$. I was concerned about sending my my xmas mailer from a new server( in November) , even though we only email to our customers re specific new gifts and offers. Meaning they have signed up in our guestbook for additional information on new yadayas and or purchased specific red glow yadaya wigets is the recent past.
I'm so glad I used an outside service! I was shocked at how many spam reports we received. People just a moving the email to their spam folder, even from some customers have been on our list since 1995! Really, they could not just unsubscribe? Let's just say that the mail service provider was a bit unhappy as well. I'm glad I did not jeopardize our website access when sending out this most recent new gifts mailer.
12 years? 50% or more of the emails will bounce I'm guessing. I think most people have pointed out the pitfalls already. It would have been a lot better 12 years ago if you had an opt in requirement. I always add a "subscribe to newsletter" check box on checkout so there is no question. I have used vertical response in the past. There are many benefits, easy templates, delivery rates, opening rates. Most importantly though when someone unsubscribes that is recorded in their database, future emails will not go to them. Also bounces will be ignored on future emails. Unfortunately until you send that first "blast" you'll never know what emails are good and what aren't.
Legally (and arguably morally) there's nothing wrong with what you want to do. You have an existing relationship with the customer. However, we did the same thing (although it was closer to about 2 years worth of emails). We got kicked off of mailchimp pretty quick because customers reported us as a spammer (not true, but when a customer hasn't heard anything from your company in years their instinct is to click the 'spam' button).
Votrechien says > pretty quick because customers reported us as a spammer (not true, but when a customer hasn't heard anything from your company in years their instinct is to click the 'spam' button).
I usually do a mailer 5-9 times a year. This past year it had been 11 months. I was surprised at the number of bad addys ( bounces) and the spam reports. Cleaning out the bad addys is a good reason to send a mailer more often. The spam reports... well let's just day about 1/3 of my customers are on AOL.... enough said :-)
I'd be very careful about sening out to a list that has not been active for so many years. BIG headaches.
I use icontact with 25K plus subscribers and we send out 3 to 5 emails per month. You will have a higher delivery rate using a 3rd party email marketing provider than sending them yourself off your mail server.
They will also maintain the un-subscribers and provide you with reporting on the bounces, opens, click throughs, etc.
If you have 12 years worth of emails, most likely there would be a good percentage of invalid email addresses and you would be paying a higher monthly fee.