Exercise Caution: List Sharing

List sharing is one of the most common ways to run into trouble within the email marketing world. List sharing can be an effective way to expand your marketing base, however it is essential to use extra caution in how this is done in order to preserve your reputation as a sender over the long run.

While you think your recipients may be interested in other related offers, it is bad practice to give your recipient list to other senders. When a sender shares their list, the recipient begins receiving mail they did not solicit. If the recipient is able to trace it back to the original opted in sender, they may feel that their personal information has been compromised. This will harm the original sender’s business severely because they have opened up the recipient’s address to spam. In turn, the recipient will no longer trust this sender.

So how do you get recipients that you believe would be interested in your product or service to know you exist? One option is to place a “shout out” about your partner in your email. Just be aware that many ESPs scan their incoming emails for blacklisted urls so do not send any email on behalf of other companies that you have not investigated and found to be completely safe and unassociated with spam.

During the opt in process there may be a clause or checkbox that would indicate the possibility of receiving email from affiliated senders. Checkboxes should be unchecked by default so the recipient is taking action to opt into receiving other email. If affiliated senders are going to be utilizing your list, it must be in your Terms and Conditions. Your Terms and Conditions should be very visible and clearly stated on the opt in page, not as a link or different location within the site. Keep in mind that your affiliate senders should be sending content very similar and related to the content the recipient has opted in to receive.

Remember: the most clear opt-in process will always return better recipient satisfaction.