Four Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Will Fail Without Permission

Unlike in the West, where they have anti-spam law like the CAN-SPAM Act, which lays down strict rules for sending commercial email, India does not have a specific law that makes seeking permission before sending email mandatory.

Many organizations hawk email lists, and sell databases for a very low sum. For a company that is new to email marketing and does not have a list of prospects built up, buying such lists might seem like an easy way of reaching their target audience. But it means you have not taken the permission from the readers to send them email.

What is permission exactly?
When your customers enter their email address on your website and specifically allow you to send emails, or request for their email to be added to your list at events, meetings, or at retail locations, it means that they have given you permission to send email messages. This is a simple opt-in permission. Sometimes companies send an email to confirm their subscription. The readers then have to click a message in the email to confirm their participation. This is double opt-in.

Sometimes if the consumers have done business with you online, they may have created an account, and given their email. This does not mean that they have given you permission to send commercial emails. Sometimes the terms of the website might imply such communication, even then it is far from productive to send emails to an audience who isn’t expecting or wanting to hear from you.

There are many reasons why sending out emails without having first built a relationship with the audience or piqued their interest is detrimental to your brand.

1. HoneyPot Spam Traps
Email service providers, or third parties create dummy email accounts and spread them across various forums and websites. These are then scraped by automated email harvesting software employed by spammers to build lists. These honey pot email addresses do not belong to real users and are decoys setup to monitor, collect and catch spammers.

If you send emails to such addresses you could be added to the various spam blacklists databases. Several companies and large ISP’s such as Hotmail, Yahoo consult blacklist databases and may block your emails. Not only will your email deliverability suffer it is detrimental to your brand as well.

2. Reactivated Accounts
When an email account is inactive, or does not exist any more a bounce message is sent back to the marketer. Removing bounced emails from your list improves your chances of getting delivered to the inbox.

Sometimes, service providers activate email accounts that have been deactivated for many years. Emails that are sent to these accounts are very likely to be spam. If you have been sending emails to old email addressed even after they are being bounced you risk your IP being blacklisted. Bounced emails not only affect deliverability, they are an additional cost of sending that you can avoid.

3. Never Opened
If your email message is received in the inbox, but if it isn’t relevant to the reader, it will likely be deleted or never be opened. Email providers like Gmail are likely to put your email messages in the junk folder if your readers never open them.

If a significant portion of your email list never opens your emails, most of your messages could land in the junk folder. This too is a wasted cost.

4. Report Spam
Email service providers are making it very easy for readers to mark the email as spam. It is very likely that readers who have not opted to receive your communication might take the trouble to click the “this is spam” button.

Report Spam

If a significant number of your readers mark your email as spam, you could be blacklisted and may not be able to send messages till the blacklisting is removed.

On the contrary, if a reader has given his email address to you, given you permission to send your messages he or she is a very engaged audience. In fact sending a welcome message is a very good email marketing practice and welcome email campaigns see high open rates.

So if you are a new company and wish to increase your email-marketing subscribers without buying an email list there are various strategies that you can use. We shall cover that in a next post soon.


About the Author:
Geetanjali is passionate about Digital Marketing. She’s used Internet enablers for business since the dot-com boom. As a consultant, she helps companies use digital channels to improve their sales. She writes about digital marketing at various magazines and blogs at