Saturday, July 23, 2011

eMarketing platforms - capabilities and compliance

There are many different eMarketing platforms available for the online marketer to choose from varying in; capabilities, integration, reporting and social media awareness. Be sure to do your homework to select the most appropriate platform for your business needs today, and as you evolve - so ensure it can grow with your online marketing requirements and the platform itself provides access to new features in a fast changing online landscape.

Many eMarketing platforms provide best practice guides, information and eMarketing tips relevant to what the platform can deliver and to ensure that your email newsletters meet deliverability, usability, functionality and marketability! (See: ExactTarget, MailChimp, CommuniGator)

Ensuring your email marketing meets legal compliance is also an important consideration and in an international context it is important to research the current CAN-SPAM legislation and similar requirements for each country. The provision of a double opt-in is but one part of the process and a must-have. Compliance also includes the provision of Privacy Policy, one-click unsubscribes, contact details of the company along with a few other items.

Associated to this category of consideration is the funcationality of your email template and how it renders for users with disabilities and screen reader applications.

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

The legislation in the UK that covers the rights of disabled people – the section of the act on the provision of goods and services includes the requirement that websites should be made accessible.

UK Law

It has been a legal requirement for UK websites to be accessible since 1999. Since then all websites have been expected to make "reasonable adjustments" to ensure their websites accommodate all users regardless of ability, disability.

Is your website legal?

The current information relating to web sites in the UK confirm that many are illegal. They do not include even basic information such as registered company address, VAT details and web site hosting for example.

Making sure your website meets all the current key UK legal requirements is vital to prevent you receiving fines or penalties. Ensure you are up to date with the necessary UK legislation or it could prove very costly to you and your business.

Disability Discrimination Act

UK websites must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, which states that websites must be accessible to all – including users with visual impairments or disabilities.

Responsible business practice

In today's environment corporate and social responsibility have increasingly become fundamental in building trust and reputation with the people you do business with. However, experience of closed doors on your websites can have a negative influence on the way people perceive even the most reliable companies and the strongest brands.

I would also recommend prior to any go-live activity with a new eMarketing platform that you go through a careful process of deliverability and reputation testing on the email sends to ensure everything is in place. And once your email campaigns are active within your new eMarketing platform keep a good eye out for DNSBL black lists to ensure that the integrity of your IP and sender framework is retained.

Did you know?

About the UK Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008

Fines of up to £100 a day could face any registered business whose websites do not comply with these regulations, introduced in October 2008. Further information is available here:

Limited companies must include company details on all electronic communications (website AND email) and this should include:

Your full company name
Where the company is registered
The companies registered address
The Companies Registered No e.g. 123456789
Website Hosting company details: address, postcode, hosting company website
Professional Memberships should be displayed on the website or freely provided upon request
VAT Registered number