Successful email marketing depends on building trust with your audience; abuse that trust and your email transforms into spam.
I was involved in a situation this week where it was suggested that email marketing addresses had been shared between organisations. Sharing data is bad practice, and potentially a breach of the Data Protection Act.
Fortunately, we had clear records to show that no sharing had taken place. Nerves were jangled and tempers were fraying, but in the end we were on safe ground.
So, remember to keep a clear audit trail of the permissions you receive from your email readers.
On my own website, subscribers to my email newsletter Double Opt-In (meaning they get a confirmation email message asking them to click just one more time to finally confirm their subscription.) The email marketing service I use keeps the proof of that Opt-in.
I’d also recommend using a customer relationship management system that keeps track of how you met people and why you added their email address to your database.