It is unfortunate that every industry has some shady characters and shady businesses practices. And believe me, travel is no exception. But today, I am not talking about MLMs and the “become an agent and travel the world for free” scams; I am talking about the way you market to your clients. Are you above board? Or do your clients find your mailings a nuisance. Do you know? Believe it or not, you could be a dirty, rotten, spamming scoundrel without even knowing it. Here is some food for thought.
When you send an email, it could be a promotional mailing; or it might be a transaction related mailing. To be honest, the Internet is stupid (as we all know) and can’t tell the difference unless someone squawks.
If you are doing any type of e-marketing (newsletters, promotions, etc.) you must periodically check your domains and servers to make sure they are not blacklisted.
While some ISPs will bounce your message, telling you that you are a scoundrel, most will not and will simply delete your message. Your client never gets your message; and worse, you never know your client didn’t receive it!
This is not horribly critical for a promotional piece, but if you are all of a sudden emailing a client about a change in flights or that Princess Cruises is bouncing them from their cruise this weekend, you need to be assured your mail goes through.
Here is a good tool I have been using. It will tell you where the block originates and if you follow the links and directions you will have a clear path to getting on the right side of the Internet law!
Another concern is that even though you may be on the up and up, your neighbor may not. For example, say that billybobtravel.com is perfectly in compliance with CanSPAM and plays by the rules and operates on a XYZHost server with an IP address of 126.96.36.199. Unless you have a dedicated server (and most people in the industry don’t) guess what happens when nameyoursexualfetishandwehavepictures.com comes along and shares server space? Yes, you are now guilty by association; and getting that straightened out can be a time consuming mess.
Another rocky harbor in your e-mail journey involves having people unsubscribe from your mailings. We all make it easy…right? But most email clients (the programs used to read email) have a nifty feature that reports an e-mail as SPAM and deletes it. To the consumer it serves the same purpose—gets rid of unwanted email; but to you it is a poke in the eye. If enough people poke you in the eye, eventually you will get a black eye! You cannot control what your clients do, but in each mailing, I emphasize that we are a responsible mailer and honor all opt-out requests immediately. I ask them to use that feature rather than report it as spam—and it has a great response.
Are you a responsible e-mailer? Have you discovered any tips to make sure that your messages are read? Please leave a comment!