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    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Desktop

    Sometimes you can use your CRM to send out mass emails. Some desktop apps will allow unlimited number of emails (i.e., Goldmine, etc.).  You can send large email campaigns (including your own monthly customer newsletter (sometimes to hundreds of thousands of customers)) easily if you have your own server.  However, there may be email volume limits if you are using an ISP.

    Internet Service Providers (ISP) or Hosting Service

    If you are going to send from your personal computer and use an Internet Service Provider (such as Time Warner (now Spectrum)) to send emails, they will usually have a limit on your account to reduce the number of total emails per hour–the same is true if you use a self-hosted CRM or email software that resides on an ISP (such as BlueHost, GoDaddy, Gator, etc.).  If you contact them they will sometimes remove it, but they will usually raise the limit—so you’ll need to know the maximum number of emails per hour so you can set this parameter in your software (some CRMs have the option, most dedicated email software has it).

    You should always be careful with emails sent from your own URL (whether you have a direct connection or use and ISP), so your domain name reputation is not harmed (put on a global black list by crowd-sourced anti-spam apps (the more people who click your email and classify it as spam, the more they block you from everyone’s list).  So you should only use your own URL for an internal, or verified double-opt-in list that should have up-to-date information for fewer bounce-backs and there is less chance recipient will report you for spamming (if they do and it is verified double-opt in, you can be forgiven and your ISP will turn your system back on—but clean them out so you don’t get in trouble again).

    You will want to create a NEW URL that you will use JUST for large email campaigns. They are so cheap ($5.95 to $9.99). Then if it gets blacklisted, you can start another campaign with another new URL.

    If it is an older database that you have not used for a while and may have a lot of changes (even if recipients double opt-in originally), you may wish to use an email cleaning service first, remove the bounce-backs and then use the list as normal.

    Email List Verification & Validation Service

    Following are a few review sites that list several of these cleaning services along with their rates:

    CRMs – Web-based (SaaS)

    If you use a web-based or SaaS CRMs (like Salesforce) they will usually limit the number of emails per batch, day or per month. For example, Salesforce Pro only allows 250 emails per batch—so you would have to divide a 10,000 person list into 40 groups—which is prohibitive. Other CRM’s may have higher limits, but they also regulate the kinds of lists you can use (since they don’t want their general URL to get blacklisted).

    Email Services – Double Opt-In ONLY

    All of the popular email services (like iContact, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc.) require double opt-in list or they WILL shut you down (or slow your sending rate) if they get too many bounce backs, opt-outs or spam reports.  If you have a clean, double opt-in lists, then you can use these services. However, many of the lists you receive, including a generic reseller database, have some opt-in and others were pulled from competitor’s websites.  Some of the emails are accurate, and some are old (especially those with the individual’s name—versus sales@ or info@).  As such, you should NOT use one of the popular email services—you WILL be shut down (certainly if you do not clean your own or the generic database first.  For these lists, you will need to use an email service that does not require double opt-in.

    Email Services – No Double Opt-In required

    There are several email services that will help you with mixed lists. Even still, they may still have a double opt-in requirement, but they don’t enforce it unless the lists get out of hand.  If you pre-clean your lists, you shouldn’t have a problem.  These companies will usually setup a dedicated domain for these campaigns (either new or an existing that you provide)—this way it can be turned off and replaced if for any reason it gets blocked.  You also want to ensure you are not using an IP address from one of these companies that is ALREADY blocked (it happens) or your perfectly good list may be blocked from someone else’s bad campaign (these are questions to ask your provider).

    Here is a location that checks multiple DNS blacklists (you will need to ask for the IP address—or you can Google for it once setup):

    • – checks the blacklist status of your mail server’s IP address on more than 100 DNS blacklists.

    Here is what you would LIKE to see:

    I have used numerous non-opt-in sites, but I recommend (say they “allow purchased lists” and it can also be used to clean your email list).  It usually takes a day from the time you sign up before they have the system and the domain setup.  You will also want them to increase the emails per hour.  If the hourly email rate is low, you can setup an automatic schedule to run the campaign (during work hours is best—higher open rates) over a few days (depending on how big your list is).

    Spray and Pray

    There are two types of list 1) highly qualified (even competitors) and 2) general.  It is fine to send your campaign to a general list (even if not highly qualified) if you have a product that appeals to a large group. However, if your product is “genome research software” that might only apply to 1% of the entire list, then it is best to avoid a spray and pray approach and just send to a very targeted group.

    Is It Spam?

    Yes or not–depends. Anything not relevant, wanted, annoying or too frequent can be considered spam (even to a double opt-in list).  Sometimes it is defined as unsolicited and bulk. If the prospect may want the item or offer, then they usually don’t consider it spam (I like getting emails about bikes, video products, legitimate deals for consumer electronics, etc.).

    The real question—is it legal?

    There is only one USA law regarding SPAM and it doesn’t differentiate between B2C or B2B.  In addition, only an opt-in lists doesn’t require identifying the email as an ad (body of the copy or otherwise)—but everything else is the same (so be aware). Here are the top seven rules:

    1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. No phishing or changing from.
    2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
    3. Identify the message as an ad. You must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
    4. Tell recipients where you’re located. You must include a valid physical postal address (street address, a registered post office box, or a registered private mailbox).  This STILL APPLIES even to an opt-in list!
    5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
    6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days.
    7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. You can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law.

    BTW, you CAN send unsolicited emails to a non-opt-in list—but you must follow the rules for it to be legal (we all hate the emails that do not (no address, deceptive, questionable opt-out—and a barrage of the same emails).

    One-on-one emails that are not unsolicited or bulk do not appear to have the same rules (not as much detail available)—but they could. Follow the rules above regardless, just to be safe ($40k + penalty is not cool). I would include your address in the signature you use for this type of email and you may be also be fine using a simple line, “P.S. If you aren’t the right person to contact about this, please let me know,” as the personal email opt-out notice.

    See more at the Federal Trade Commission. These are only the USA’s rule, other countries may have different regulations—so be aware.

    Check for Spam

    There are websites that you can test your email to see where it might raise a red flag. The sites seem to come and go, so just type “Check email for spam” and you’ll see several free or trial sites you can use. Make modifications that make sense. You can’t make all the changes or you won’t have an email, but some are fine. Most systems will give you a 1-5 rating (our typical email template is usually about a 1.5 so is relatively safe).

    Best Time to Email?

    There are several studies, but the most common answer for B2B is business hours, usually an hour after they have cleaned out the night’s spam.

    You will want to check your email service to find out how many emails per day—but more so, how many per HOUR. If you email in the US, you will want to hit the west coast no sooner than 8 am (11 am east coast) and you want to shut off at 4:30 pm on the east coast—so this only gives you a 5 ½ window.  So, either break your list by time zones and send during their best times, or you send batches within this window.

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