Building an E-newsletter List? Make Sure You Are CAN-SPAM Compliant

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Have you ever felt burned by getting a piece of mail from your bank, cable company or insurer whose envelope blared “Important Account Information Enclosed”? You know the outcome: You opened the envelope, that “important information” turned out to be an ad.

Translate that print tactic into untold millions of e-newsletters in distribution, and you will understand why the CAN-SPAM business compliance guide was created.

Email a Powerful Attraction Tactic

Even in an age of Facebook “likes” and Twitter “tweets,” email and e-newsletters — when handled right — continue to be a robust tool for marketers.

  • According to 2011 statistics published by Exact Target, 42 percent of subscribers are more likely to purchase from a company whose emails they subscribe to.
  • The other side of that coin? Content Marketing Institute notes that the e-newsletter open rate can go as low as 8 percent, with monthly newsletters averaging in the low-20 range.

So the audience making up your e-newsletter lists needs to be one you screen carefully — those on your list should be the people most likely to find your information valuable enough to subscribe and to read at least occasionally with few opt-outs. If you use purchased e-newsletter lists, ensure they are from reputable sources consisting only of “opt in” subscribers.

Keeping Out of Trouble

Once you’ve identified an audience to invite as subscribers, you must establish an acceptable template for your message. Just a few false moves, and your carefully crafted e-newsletter could end up in the spam folder.

CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003) establishes standards for commercial email, including e-newsletters. It spells out what you can and cannot say, and sets penalties for violations.

Under the CAN-SPAM rules, for example, you are required to:

  • Identify the nature of your message as an e-newsletter.
  • Tell recipients where you are located. Your e-newsletter must include both an email return address and a valid physical postal address.
  • Tell recipients how they can opt-out of your e-newsletter, and honor their request within 10 business days.

Conversely, the CAN-SPAM law prohibits:

  • False or misleading header information. In other words, the “To,” “From” and “Reply to” headers must accurately identify the person or company initiating the email.
  • Deceptive subject lines. No false promises, “gotcha” wording or other text that doesn’t reflect on the actual content of the e-newsletter.
  • Sending through an open relay or using harvested email address (both examples of technology that allows spammers to find and use lists).

And of course, the CAN-SPAM act requires you to truthfully describe any products or services you are offering for sale in your e-newsletter — and if you are positioning this information as an ad, you must identify it as such.

How to Attract More Subscribers

Subscribers can quickly become un-subscribers, so identifying and attracting new audiences is an important part of your e-newsletter strategy.

How can you encourage people to opt-in?

  • Promote your e-newsletter on your website’s homepage. Keep a colorful sign-up icon near the top of the screen, as you can never rely on visitors scrolling all the way down.
  • Invite new customers to subscribe. If someone makes a purchase through your website, follow it up with an email invitation to the newsletter. You can use the same tactic with visitors who leave contact information on your landing page.
  • Include a “send to a friend” link on every e-newsletter to encourage forwards from subscribers.
  • Promote your e-newsletter on your social media pages; include sneak-peeks of articles or offers that subscribers will find in the newsletter.
  • Offer a free gift to new subscribers. It can be a special deal or item associated with your business, or something general, such as a drawing for an iPad. (However, all giveaways and drawings must be “no purchase necessary” in nature and something anyone may enter.)

Test and Test Again

The way you handle your e-newsletter lists may change once you see how many people opt-in and opt-out of their subscriptions. As with most forms of web marketing, e-newsletters can benefit from testing and measuring results to create the ideal marketing tool for you.

Boosting Your Business with Loyalty Programs and Incentives – 3 Considerations

As online shopping continues to make the consumer marketplace broader than ever, incentive-based programs remain an effective way to gain, nurture and retain customers. Not convinced? Consider these eye-opening statistics:

• According to a January 2016 report in Chief Marketer, the average North American shopper is a member of 13 loyalty and promotional programs.

• Jupiter Research has found that 80 percent of Internet users enter a sweepstakes at least once a year.

Planning Your Promotional and Loyalty Programs

Promotional programs should be planned carefully to get the most bang for your buck. Here are three factors that play a crucial role in the success of any rebates, contests or loyalty rewards.

1. Big Data
While the term may not sound particularly sophisticated, it gets right to the point: “Big Data” refers to the massive sets of information that can be captured and analyzed to uncover consumer habits, patterns and trends. The amounts of available data are increasing exponentially, so the key is getting your arms around it up-front to keep it organized and consolidated in a way that allows for thorough and accurate analysis to allow you to have actionable information for your promotion.

2. Social Media
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become popular vehicles for promotions, and growing channels Instagram and Snapchat have quickly joined the party. It pays to partner up with a promotions expert who understands how to best leverage social media for easy participation and maximum returns.

3. Rise of the Millennials
Millennials are defined as young adults born between the years of 1980 and 2000. Members of this tech-savvy generation are more willing than their parents to allow access to personal data and web habits when the results, such as personally targeted offers, benefit them. Combine that with an expected spending power of $1.4 trillion by the year 2020, and it’s clear that millennials should be a big part of your promotional plan.

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics: Your One-Stop Solution

For 2020 plan on focusing on growing sales and boosting your marketing efforts and let us handle the rest. We have more than 25 years of experience handling fulfillment services ranging from receiving and warehousing goods to credit card and rebate processing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can be a full-service solution for your fulfillment needs.

More Shopping Carts Now Interface Directly with Our System

We’ve created a collage of the logos of the shopping carts that our fulfillment management software now interfaces with. These new enhancements give you more options. Here are the details.

1. Once connected to our system, orders in your shopping cart are automatically sent to Medallion’s system with no intervention on your part. It’s all automatic!

2. The automatic connection sends back inventory data to your shopping cart interface updating your on-hand counts; allowing you to better manage your ordering and inventory.

3. Shipping data from our system flows back into your shopping cart allowing customers to monitor their order status and for you to know exactly when items have shipped. It’s all automatic!

Isn’t it time for you to take another look at Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics? Call us today for a free account review.

Looking for a Reliable, Cost-Effective Service Partner?

Don’t let rate increases or poor service handcuff you to your old fulfillment provider. With Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, you have scalable options that grow with your business. You can rely on our more than 29 years of experience providing sellers with efficient and cost-effective fulfillment services to understand your warehouse and fulfillment needs.

When Does it Make Sense for a Business to Use a Fulfillment House? When Should You Upgrade Services?

Fulfillment Warehouse Owner

Most ecommerce companies are surprised by how little third-party fulfillment costs, particularly when compared to how much they already spend to warehouse, package, and ship their own products.

Outsourcing order fulfillment is cost effective and allows you to switch variable costs to fixed costs. Gene Kent, President of Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics said, “Many times companies are surprised at the overall cost savings our services have supplied when they review their bottom-line after the first six months. As we have heavily invested in technology, both in order processing and bar coding in our warehouse, we are able to process orders faster and cheaper than you can typically do yourself.”

When you compare the total cost of order fulfillment, i.e. maintaining a warehouse, lease payments, staff, benefits, unemployment taxes, insurance etc., to an order fulfillment provider’s fixed cost model, you quickly realize that making the switch saves money. Your business can save from 20 to 50 percent on current order fulfillment expenses.

Many businesses, who are using a fulfillment house already, forget that as they grow their business needs grow, and they should review their fulfillment agreement periodically in order to add additional work and time saving services. Existing office staff may need to outsource an additional portion of the paperwork that is part of the supply chain process or move to automation for ordering in order to be efficient and handle the increase in sales volume.

Our office staff can help your business office operate more efficiently by taking on the tasks that are closely aligned with the order and shipping functions of your business.

Minimizing Errors Saves Money

A high quality order fulfillment company satisfies customers which lead to repeat business. “Our warehouse bar coding system eliminates problems. When customer merchandise is received in our warehouse it is immediately bar coded and entered into inventory. Handheld scanners are used by our packers and your inventory is tracked all the way to order shipping. We are using one of the most technologically advanced order and inventory management systems allowing business owners to review stock and order statuses of items on our system 24/7 from anywhere in the world just by using the Internet.” said Gene Kent.

Looking to Expand Your Reach?

Looking to expand beyond your current sales base? Fulfillment houses are ideal for companies seeking to sell products overseas because they have the expertise to ensure your products arrive on time and safely. If you’re seeking to expand your company’s customer base by providing customers more alternatives for ordering products and paying, don’t increase your overhead, outsource the fulfillment process.

Wholesale Orders or Business to Business Orders

Our warehouse.As your company expands, a fulfillment company can handle your wholesale or B2B orders. Wholesale orders from large retail chains, catalogs and other mass merchants have different demands than business-to-consumer orders. The penalty for noncompliance with an order from a chain of retail stores for even something trivial, can be costly.

Fulfillment houses routinely work with wholesale orders and can develop order processing checklists for your account to assure that your orders are completed based on the requirements of the wholesaler; saving you costly charge backs.

Huge, Sudden Increase in Orders

If you’re considering adding new distribution channels or initiating major new promotions, be prepared for potentially thousands of new orders overnight. A huge increase in orders may overwhelm your back-end system; delaying shipments which leads to unhappy customers. An experienced fulfillment company knows how to properly take care of a large increase in orders. A fulfillment house allows you to ramp up very quickly without increasing your overhead.

If your company has a difficult time maintaining a balance between inventory supply and demand, a knowledgeable order fulfillment company can make a huge difference.

Foreign Companies Selling in the U.S.

Businesses based outside of the United States, partnering with a fulfillment service save time and money because they don’t need a warehouse, office and a staff in the United States; they can focus on obtaining new customers.

The Real Advantages of Partnering with a Fulfillment Service:

  • They know how to handle opportunities and problems which may occur as your business expands.
  • Only pay for fulfillment services when you generate sales.
  • Reduce fixed cost overhead.
  • No need to obtain a larger facility to store products when the business expands.
  • Bulk shipping rates available to fulfillment companies; high shipping cost can break deals with clients.
  • They buy shipping materials in bulk at better rates.
  • An active fulfillment company stays current with the latest software and order processing technology.
  • If your business experiences low volume and high volume days, fulfillment firms eliminate the employee cost associated with the fluctuation.
  • You refine and improve your backdoor operations.

Many nationally known companies reap the benefits of partnering with a third party fulfillment center. Small, medium and large businesses can do the same. With 29 years as a fulfillment service provider, Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics understands your culture, brand, and products from a depth of real world experience.

Isn’t it time to find out how you can save time and money on order processing while you work on expanding your market and sales?

About the Writer Jan Stewart

Jan Stewart is a professional writer for Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics, a family owned Los Angeles based fulfillment firm. She writes exclusively for the Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics newsletter on topics of business tips, how to promote your business online, and establishing your brand in the marketplace.

USPS Holiday Shipping Rate Increases

USPS has raised rates.

We have received notification from the United States Postal Service that shipping prices will temporarily increase on October 18, 2020 until December 27, 2020. These increases are being enacted due to the higher shipping traffic from the pandemic and the expected increase in holiday shipping volume. Read more information.

FEDEX and UPS Shipping Rates

UPS has also announced rate updates due to pandemic shipping volume and extra handling.

FedEx has certain surcharges already enacted but has not announced holiday rate increases at this time.

As we know more, we will communicate any updates to you in our newsletter.