Businesses go through a lot of effort and expense to build and maintain customer lists. This is particularly true with regard to lists of customers that have taken the time to confirm, or “Double Opt-In” their email addresses. The problem is that confirmed opt-in email addresses are not portable. In other words, a business owner can’t take her entire list of confirmed opt-in customer email addresses from one email service provider (ESP) to another.
For example, a business owner starts building their confirmed opt-in customer list with and ESP like AWeber. This process of compiling lists of loyal customers that specifically request that the business continue to communicate with them through email may take years. These lists can quickly become extremely valuable intellectual property assets of their respective companies. For many companies, particularly those that leverage the benefits of Internet marketing techniques, these lists are the life-blood of the business. Well, time goes on and for whatever reason the business owner wants to switch to another ESP.
Here is the problem: the business owner must start building her list all over again with the new ESP!
Why? Because to the new ESP, the existing confirmed opt-in customer list has not been confirmed THROUGH THEIR SYSTEM and therefore is not recognized as being confirmed opt-in addresses. In other words, the confirmed opt-in addresses are not portable. It doesn’t matter which ESP: ExactTarget, 1ShoppingCart, Constant Contact, Sender Score, et cetera. There is currently no standard for packaging confirmed opt-in customer email lists and porting them from one ESP to another.
So what is the solution?
Well, many businesses bite the bullet and re-opt-in their customer lists. There are a number of problems with this approach.
1. It is a negative customer loyalty event in the customer’s lifecycle with the business — customers may feel like the business “lost” or “forgot” about them and needs their information again
2. Customers may not receive the new opt-in request and thus not respond
3. Confuses many customers (didn’t I already say I wanted to receive communications from your company?)
4. Gives the customer a unexpected decision opportunity to reevaluate the company and perhaps not re-confirm their address
Our solution differs from above in that we are willing to act in the place of a business owner, using their login information, and export the confirmed opt-in list directly to the Infusion CRM. This maintains the integrity of the confirmed opt-in status of the list and benefits the business owner by not forcing them to re-double opt-in their already double opted-in list when moving to Infusion CRM. This is a tremendous benefit for those who have invested in and rely on their confirmed customer email lists.
The ultimate solution would be for there to be some sort of 3rd party trust and certification authority, like Habeas or Sender Score, or some new company (does anyone else besides me see a business plan here?) to develop some sort of industry standard of confirmed opt-in certification that would allow these company assets to be portable from one ESP to another. This may be a pipe-dream to call for a confirmed opt-in certification standard as the email deliverability industry is very fragmented. Heck, look at the DKIM adoption lifecycle.
Anyway, there is unquestionably a need to have confirmed opt-in addresses portable from one ESP to another. Infusion solves the problem for our customers, but the bigger solution is for 3rd party certification of confirmed opt-in lists to allow the lists to be portable.