There are really two different types of compliance with which email marketers should concern themselves.
The first one is probably the one you were thinking of when you read the headline: Legal compliance with privacy laws like GDPR, CCPA, etc.
For legal compliance issues, you will want to consult with your legal department for guidance on which specific laws apply to your audience and to create the in-house processes for properly handling data according to those laws.
You'll want to ensure that you have your prospects' explicit permission to use their information for legitimate business purposes and also have the records to back it up.
For instance, if you've merged contact databases from multiple sources, you'll likely encounter legal compliance issues. This also applies to purchased email lists, since those prospects have not given explicit permission to be contacted by your organization.
But a second, related form of compliance is also crucial to your email marketing success: complying with your prospects' preferences when they first provide their data.
Think of it as "ethical compliance." And while not complying with your prospects' communication preferences might not result in the same fines that legal non-compliance might (although it very well could, in some jurisdictions), it can still damage your overall email deliverability, sender score, and brand reputation.
To address ethical compliance, start by looking at your preference center. In some cases, your team may have created a landing page where prospects can pick and choose which of your offerings they're interested in, such as specific topics or types of assets they prefer (Case studies? White papers? E-books?). Many marketing automation platforms like Eloqua also have built-in preference centers.
No matter the source of your preference center, be sure that prospects are appropriately segmented according to their stated preferences. And this segmentation isn't just out of respect for your audience. Complying with your prospects' preferences also boosts your own email marketing efforts.
If you are emailing (or over-emailing) your audience with marketing they never asked for, you should expect your opens, clicks, and other metrics to drop while unsubscribes and spam complaints increase. These, in turn, can affect your overall email deliverability, making it more likely that ALL your emails end up in a spam folder somewhere.
But when compliance efforts go wrong — when the best practices outlined by your legal team aren't followed, or the prospect's preferences aren't adhered to — this is where Motiva's Dark Pool data cleanup can step in to sort fact from fiction.
Dark Pool automatically evaluates all the contacts in your database, going beyond just opens and clicks, and looks for signs of actual human activity.
Dark Pool's nuanced analysis provides data-driven insights into your contact database and goes far beyond what other platforms claim to provide.
Think about it this way: do you know how many prospects in your database are real people versus how many are bots programmed to fill out a form? How many contacts in your database were opted-in automatically without their explicit consent?
And at the receiving end, how many of the emails you send are being automatically blocked by the email service provider? How many are greylisted? How many are silently quarantined? Are there any domains that frequently interfere with deliverability?
These are all issues that Motiva's Dark Pool was designed to uncover.
The benefits of clean data go beyond just avoiding massive fines or respect for your prospects. Clean data is the heart and soul of a successful marketing campaign. If you send emails to prospects that never opted-in or aren't human, how do you know if a campaign is successful? If one-quarter, one-third, one-half, or more (and we've seen more) of your contact database is unreachable or non-existent, then your engagement metrics are worthless.
Another point to remember when examining your database's Dark Pool analysis: not all contacts in the red zone are unrecoverable. There may be some prospects in there that need further examination and testing to determine if they're actually unreachable or not interested or if they're just suffering from message fatigue (meaning they are receiving too many emails or emails that aren't aligned with their stated interests).
Our Dark Pool Decision Service for Eloqua can help you implement tests to determine in which category these contacts belong. It allows you to filter out any categories you'd like during campaign configuration, allowing you to determine which contacts can be recovered, and which are just dead weight. We have another blog post that goes into more detail about how to construct these tests.
If you're serious about your email marketing success, then you need an ongoing process for data cleaning. Dark Pool data cleanup takes a nuanced approach that uncovers what other processes miss, allowing you to confidently engage with your audience.
Ready to take the first step? Sign up today for a free, no-obligation Dark Pool database spot check.