Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing is an extremely effective way to generate qualified traffic and leads. As advertiser ROI and conversions are driven up through strong execution, payouts and commissions also increase. We have developed our excellence in email marketing over many years and provide advertisers with the benefits of our experience by helping them to remain compliant in all of their email initiatives.

Email marketing subjects affiliates to a complex set of problems. Remaining an industry leader in email marketing programs requires attention to detail in the evaluation of offers and creative, cutting edge technology and a significant commitment of time.

It is imperative that affiliates who are operating email marketing programs have well-managed list data and use best practices when sending email. Above all, compliance monitors and supports publisher adherence to the CAN-SPAM Act in all of their email marketing campaigns.

The CAN-SPAM Act

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out violation penalties, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop contacting them.

The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a website. Non-commercial "transactional or relationship messages" may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The CAN-SPAM Act allows e-mail marketers to send unsolicited commercial e-mail as long as it meets the following guidelines:

  • The emailer must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism, which allows a recipient to “opt out” and not receive future email messages to that email address, and the emailer must honor the request. A variety of “opt out” choices may be created, but the option to end all commercial messages from the sender must be included.
  • Any opt-out mechanism offered, must include processing of opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When an opt-out request is received, the law gives the emailer 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address. After an opt-out request, the emailer cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on its behalf to that address. Lastly, it is illegal to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless the addresses are transferred so another entity can comply with the law.
  • The subject line on any email sent, cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
  • An email's "From," "To," and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and allow the receiver to identify the person who initiated the email.
  • The message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and give the recipient the opportunity to opt out of receiving more commercial email from that sender. The email must also include a valid physical postal address.

One of the key aspects to remember about the CAN-SPAM Act and email marketing in general, is that sending unsolicited commercial email is not against the law. As long as the sender follows all of the rules set forth in the Act, these types of emails are perfectly legal.

Email Marketing Advantages

E-mail marketing provides advertisers with a number of important benefits over other forms of direct marketing:

  • Compared to other forms of direct marketing (such as direct mail or printed newsletters) email is significantly less expensive.
  • Return on investment (ROI) has proven to be high when email marketing is utilized properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to Search Marketing as an effective online marketing tactic.
  • Emails can be created and delivered to recipients very quickly. This is especially true compared to direct mail, which requires significant lead time for printing, mailing, etc.
  • Email marketing allows the advertiser to "push" the message to its audience, as opposed to a website that waits for potential customers to visit.
  • It is easy to track performance. An advertiser can track users via bounce messages, unsubscribes, read-receipts, click-throughs, etc. These can be used to measure open rates, positive or negative responses, and correlate sales results with marketing activities.
  • Advertisers can potentially reach a substantial number of e-mail subscribers who have opted in (consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
  • Over half of Internet users report that they check or send e-mail daily, which means recipients are likely to have the opportunity to read an email in a timely manner, once it is received in their inbox.
  • Specific types of interaction (such as clicks) with emails can trigger other emails to be automatically delivered or other events such as updating the profile of the recipient to indicate a specific interest category.
  • An exact ROI can be calculated with "track to basket" - this tracks the journey of the recipient from message delivery all the way through to purchase confirmation.
  • Email marketing is very environmentally friendly. It has almost no impact whatsoever on the environment, if the receiver doesn’t want it, they delete it rather than throwing it away.

Email Marketing Challenges

A successful email marketer is equal parts scientist and artist. Technical competencies are required to manage the data and metrics with each drop and troubleshoot issues within a mail system. It is becoming more and more difficult to get marketing email messages delivered to the intended recipient email addresses. Spam filters (both personal and ISP controlled) often block legitimate emails from reaching the recipient’s inbox. Many filters actually block email that a user has opted in to receive. Deliverability is becoming an ever increasing challenge for email marketers. The creativity to promote the offer, using limited characters of a subject line requires a special skill for writing copy that resonates with consumers.

In collaborating closely with our email publishers, affiliate.com has years of experience managing email campaigns for brands. We make sure to provide the oversight and expertise to support our email affiliates and ensure their contributions to your marketing mix yield positive results and high quality leads.

Additional Helpful Links on Email Marketing

CAN-SPAM Act

2008 CAN-SPAM Update

Affiliate.com Email Marketing Affiliate Obligations

CAN-SPAM: the Subject at Hand