Many SMEs find it difficult to digest the fact that Email could be a critical business strategy. This immediately conjures up images of spammers trying to sell Viagra by bombarding your inbox with cheap deals. Its this misuse of the power of Email that have resulted in several ESPs (Email Service Providers) including Enria to shy away from some sectors like medicinal or pharmaceutical marketing over email.

But to use targeted email to an opt-in customer base can be one of the best decisions for customer engagement and long term retention. The key is devising a strategy that will build the trust you represent with your brand. We explore this topic below in two sections: First is about achieving Compliance: actions to ensure you are on the right side of the law and the second is about building Confidence: what you could do to raise the bar and gain lasting respect of your customers.

Compliance: Staying Legal
There are two main governing acts that have set the stage for B2B email list Email Marketing compliance. The CAN-SPAM Act (US) and the EC Directive on Electronic Communications. A good 'sans-legalese' document that lays out interpretation in the UK in great detail has been published by the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK. The basic tenets embedded in these regulations are:

Ensure you have consent:
You need to ensure that you have explicit consent for sending email promotional messages from the recipient. Permission can be obtained in several ways: during a transaction, through a web-form or through 'soft opt-in' methods. Soft opt-in includes customers whose details you may have obtained in the course of a transaction or negotiation, who have been offered a simple method of declining to receive information from you (and they have not done so) and to whom you will market similar products and services that you had originally engaged them for. You still need to comply with other conditions below.

Identify who you are:
It is illegal to conceal your identity when sending bulk emails. You need to use a valid From Name and ensure that the From and the Reply to addresses are fully functional. You also need to include a postal address of your registered organisation.

Provide an opt out link:
Every email needs to include an option for the recipient to opt out which should be processed in 7 days. Enria has a build in single click opt-out mechanism that immediately suppresses the address that has opted out from all future mailings.