What's an Opt-in List?
We require that all recipients of your email correspondence opted in to receiving messages from you. This means they willingly and knowingly gave you their address for the purposes you provided them initially. Most times, this involves them signing up using an online subscription form. For extra security, we prefer you use a “double opt-in” method, which means after someone signs up online they also receive a confirmation email that prompts them to confirm they would like to be added to your mailing list. By doing this, you avoid emailing people who may not want to hear from you and consequently lower your abuse complaint rate and have a higher level of engaged subscribers.
Am I using an opt-in list?
The only way to know if your list is an opt-in list is to look at how you obtained your subscribers.
"They signed up using a subscription form on my website. Did they opt-in?"
Yes. If you have a form on your website that clearly states 'Fill out this form to receive our email newsletter', you have an opt-in list. FlutterMail provides the tools needed to create your own subscription form for your website as well as send confirmation emails that ensures subscribers double opted in.
"They checked “please add me to your email list” when checking out on my website. Can I email them?"
Yes. By selecting this box, they have verified that they would like to receive emails from me, and have therefore opted in. However, you must be sure that you explicitly state near this check box that by selecting this option they will receive emails from you. It would also be a good idea to send a confirmation email to allow them to 'double opt-in' to your list, in case they had checked the box by accident.
"I got their email address off a business card at a tradeshow. Is it OK to contact them?"
No. For more information about best practice when it comes to email addresses obtained at trade shows, please read this knowledge base article.
"They’ve ordered products from me before, can I use their email?"
Maybe. If they checked a box during the checkout process that stated they agreed to receive emails from you, then they would have opted in and it would be OK to contact them. If they people on your list have also ordered from you in the past year or have otherwise been in touch with you but have not signed up to receive emails, we do allow you to email them through FlutterMail, but it is still strongly recommended they opt-in through your subscription form. You can do this by inviting them to sign up via email and giving them the link to your subscription page. This way you avoid contacting people who did not want to be added to your list without their consent.
"They’re already a member on my forum or website. That means I can email them, right?"
No. As with an ecommerce site, unless they checked a 'yes, I would like to subscribe to your email' box when they signed up you should not use them in your email list.
"I’m friends with them on Facebook (or another social networking site). Can I use their email address?"
No. This is not in any way an opt-in list. You can certainly link to your subscription form on your Facebook or other social networking page, but you cannot pull information from this site and use it as your email subscriber list.
"They’re already a contact in my email address book. So I can contact them, right?"
No. A subscriber has to explicitly state they would like to receive emails from you in order for you to add them to your subscriber list.
"I purchased a list of 10,000 email addresses, can I use it?"
Absolutely not. Purchased lists are not considered opt-in under any circumstances and are therefore prohibited in our hosted system. Having a large number of addresses is also highly undesirable, as smaller lists obtained more ethically through traditional methods are more likely to have higher interaction rates.