Today I received two separate emails from businesses where the sender CC'd (carbon copied) a long list of their customers. For those new to email marketing, this is a major "No No"! More on why this is something to avoid later.
First the funny part...
Both emails included the legal disclaimer at the end of the email that lawyers make people use in their email communications! In other words, a business with the resources to have lawyers protecting their interests by attaching disclaimers to outbound emails is committing a cardinal sin of customer information privacy and exposing themselves to tremendous liabilities!
Oh the irony :-)
You see, the email I received included the email addresses of all the other recipients that were CC'd. The sender, probably unwittingly, shared the personal information of each of their customers to hundreds of other customers.
It may seem like a minor mistake. To be sure, many people do this everyday but, there are many businesses where information privacy is crucial and failings can result in huge liabilities.
Regardless of the business you're in, sending email blasts this way creates a terrible impression on your customers. Anyone with experience with email marketing knows this is a rookie mistake. Do you want your customers to think of you as a rookie?
Industries where information privacy is regulated and involves tremendous liabilities include Lawyers, any Health related or Medical business, any Accounting or Financial management or advisory businesses, any Employment related businesses such as PEOs, and any government agency. So, even if you sell office supplies, when you send an email like this to customers in these industries, it doesn't inspire confidence in your business.
In researching this issue, I found an online conversation amongst lawyers discussing the potential liability of exposing customer emails through CC'ing multiple customers. Click here to read the discussion.
There are other risks, like when a recipient Replies-To-All and then all of your customers have superfluous emails flooding their inbox. And the possibility that a competitor could get their hands on the email and thereby easily copy your customer email list. But, the most important reason not market via email in this way is it actually violates the CAN-SPAM legislation. Click here to reach the CAN-SPAM rules and regulations.
Of course, there are many very easy to use and affordable email marketing solutions available that allow you to upload your customer list into a secure database and allow you to easily manage lists and send email blasts with full assurance of the compliance with regulations and email marketing best practices.