I have sent many million e-mails over the last 18 years.
I haven’t kept count, but this month alone with my various Internet properties, it adds up to close to 5 million.
As you can imagine, we’re keen to keep my accounts and relationship with my mailing vendor AWeber in good order. Besides the fact that we’ve been using them for years and years, they also happen to have a very easy-to-use interface, a very useful set of built-in tools, and a very affordable service.
So how can you screw that up?
The first answer is by doing something wrong like spamming. That can and will – and should – get you shut down in a flash.
But can you get your account shut down by accident?
To paraphrase the current rent-free occupant of the White House…Yes you can.
Here are two absolutely innocent ways to go wrong:
Method #1. You see a website you’re really like and you want to tell your subscribers about it. Unbeknownst to you, the owners of the domain the website runs on have managed to terminally piss off AWeber at some point.
When you send your first test e-mail (and you do send test e-mails I hope before you blast your entire list!), the AWeber system will detect that you are mailing on behalf of a domain they consider a bad player and they will take note.
Method #2. Let’s say new hire a new writer/editor for one of your sites and he is new to aweber.
He notes the signature and the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the e-mails your publication sends. So far so good.
Because he is diligent, he manually appends the signature and the unsubscribe link of the last e-mail he received from the last issue on the end of the e-mails he sends out on your behalf.
How big a problem could that be?
Answer: A HUGE problem.
Here’s why…AWeber creates a unique unsubscribe URL for every individual subscriber to your list. That way, when subscribers click on the unsubscribe, they are taken straight to their own personal control panel where they can either change their subscription or unsubscribe entirely.
What happens if there are TWO unsubscribe links and one of them, inconveniently the one that appears first, is the one your newly hired writer/editor copied and pasted from an e-mail sent to him?
Can you see the problem? People who want to unsubscribe will click on the wrong link, think they have unsubscribed, then continue to get e-mails they, for whatever reason, no longer want to receive.
And no matter how often they click on that link and no matter how many e-mails they receive and click on the link, they will never be able to unsubscribe.
This is a near perfect recipe for pissing off a subscriber… Actually LOTS of subscribers. And that is not a good thing to do.
To make matters worse, no matter how many times your writer/editor re-subscribes to the publication he’s writing for, he will always be unsubscribed by somebody or other within minutes of sending out the latest mailing and will never see the problem.
Here’s the rub: e-mail scammers sometimes try to abuse systems like aweber by signing up for an account and DELIBERATELY inserting a bogus unsubscribe link.
Whether you do this by accident or as part of a nefarious scheme, aweber has no choice but to shut your account down to protect their sterling fourteen year record of being a reliable source of legitimate e-mail broadcasts.
It’s something I’ve never experienced personally or even heard about in 18 years of sending e-mails, but as the old saying goes, there’s a first time for everything – and guess who learned this one the hard way 🙂
But all’s well that ends well.
Fortunately, I have a long, deep and very public track record so we were able to sort things out once we got to the bottom of what happened, but for someone newer, without an established record, this might have been a very difficult thing to resolve.
Moral of the story: Pay attention to your outgoing e-mail, even if it looks OK on first glance.
P.S. We discuss important, but non-glamorous, issues like this every month on our private Tech Talk call for members of the System Club.
If you think about it, it’s actually very hard to find detailed, comprehensive, unbiased conversations about the realities of the tools and technology that Internet businesses run on.
Everyone wants to ram the latest sure-fire, gee-whiz, gotta-have-it mystery tool down your throat in this month’s latest “Launch.”
In contrast, few want to take the time to talk about the mechanical realities of Internet marketing and the universe of effective tools that not only greatly out-power the hyped ones, but often cost far less.
P.P.S. It’s easy to take a service like AWeber for granted, but go out there and try to replicate what they do at the price they do it. Not so easy. They’re one of the best values in the business.
For information about The System Club and the Tech Talk program for System Club members, click here.
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.