Good email practices not only drive sales and foster positive customer relationships. They also help you stay out of trouble. Poor sending habits can result in loss of productivity, legal and compliance issues, and damage to your reputation, among other things. Here are four common email risks corporations face and what you can do to prevent or eliminate them entirely.
Sending to moles, spam traps, and other active threats could land you on the blacklist and totally halt your ability to send emails. Productivity diminishes when you can’t invoice, send transactional emails, or continue your email marketing efforts. Customer service suffers also, as complaints go unresolved.
Imagine you just sent an email containing confidential information to a misspelled email address. Who will receive your email? A competitor? A hacker? Who knows!? Not only could the information become public; you could be subject to compliance issues, legal ramifications, and loss of reputation.
Here are just a few potential regulations regarding customer data that you should be aware of:
- The Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) and the Gramm Leach-Bliley Act both require companies to protect their customers’ sensitive financial information. Penalties include fines or jail time for violations. Poor customer data can limit your ability to protect and organize sensitive financial information.
- HIPPA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provides protections for patient data. Violating HIPPA could cost you $100 to $50,000 per violation and/or jail time.
- SEC rule 17a requires some companies to store email communications and be able to easily retrieve them for a period of three years. If your data is poor, you can’t accurately index or retrieve messages. Already the SEC has fined five large investment banks more than $8 million for noncompliance to this rule.
Even if you accidentally violate one of these regulations, you are still liable for any resulting consequences. Email verification is a simple way to ensure your confidential information goes to the correct recipient so you stay compliant.
Sending to spam traps, honeypots, and other active threats is a serious liability. It can open you up to litigation and fines. Pizza chain Papa John’s recently settled a $16.5 million lawsuit for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in an email-related incident. Additionally, the federal CAN-SPAM Act allows for up to $16,000 in fines for each email in violation.
Breaching customer confidentiality can result in lawsuits from each exposed customer. For example, any consumer whose information was leaked in Target’s data breach had the right to sue the retailer for damages—for everything from unauthorized charges to loss of account access. Target recently settled a class action lawsuit related to the breach for $10 million. You could face similar litigation if you send confidential customer information to the wrong recipient.
Poor email practices can do irreversible damage to your company’s reputation. It’s obvious that poorly written emails or misspellings will make you seem less credible. Sending blindly to an email list is even worse and dramatically affects your reputation. Emailing to duplicate, deceased, or misspelled addresses signals to customers that you might not have all your ducks in a row. Sending to these mistakes every day could result in opt-outs, unhappy customers, and potential blacklisting if you hit a spam trap. All this hurts your sender reputation and ultimately decreases your email deliverability. That means you’ll lose out on potential revenues from messages that never reach their intended recipients.
Email list hygiene and verification are simple best practices that can save you time, money, and headaches down the road. They’ll also help you drive revenues by reaching the correct recipients with relevant messaging and offers.