There was a bit of discussion about yesterday’s blog post over on my G+ circles. One person was telling me that “did you forget you opted-in?” was a perfectly valid question. He also commented he’s had the same address for 20 years and that he does, sometimes forget he opted in to mail years ago.
As an anti-spammer with the idea that it’s all about consent, I can see his point. Anti-spammers, for years, have chanted the mantra: “it’s about consent, not content.” Which is a short, pithy way to say they don’t care what you send people, as long as the recipients themselves have asked for it.
This is the perfect bumper sticker policy. As with most bumper sticker policies, though, it’s too short to deal with the messy realities.
I’m not knocking consent. Consent is great. Every bulk mailer should only be sending mail to people who have asked or agreed to receive that mail.
But if your focus is on delivery and getting mail to the recipient’s inbox and getting the recipient to react to that mail then you can’t just fall back on consent. You have to send them mail that they expect. You have to send them mail that they like. You have to send them mail they will open, read and interact with.
If your permission based recipients are saying they forgot that they signed up for mail, that is a sign that the sender’s program is futile. These are people who, at one point or another, actually asked to receive mail from a sender, and then the mail they receive is so unremarkable that they totally forget about the sender.
Maybe that’s another reason the question “are you sure you didn’t forget you opted in” from clients bothers me so much. If I signed up and forgot that points to problems in your program, mostly that it’s totally unremarkable and your subscribers can forget.