Fasthosts Warns Small Firms Not to Spam Customer Bases

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Fasthosts Internet Ltd, a leading web hosting provider, today warned UK businesses not to spam their customers with unsolicited newsletters and marketing emails.  Over the past year, the company has seen an 88 per cent rise in the number of spam reports it has received, most commonly where consumers have reported business customers for allegedly sending spam to them.  The data lends weight to the theory that the challenging economy and increasingly competitive online marketplace has perhaps led more small firms to cut corners with their email communication.  The company recommends that small companies take necessary steps to ensure that emails are only sent to the right recipients who have opted-in to receive them.

As more UK firms are adopting email marketing as a valuable sales and communication channel, it would appear that the problem of business-related spam is escalating.  According to Fasthosts, from June 2010 to June 2011 the company has received 88 per cent more reports from the public regarding genuine businesses who they believe have sent them unsolicited and unwanted emails.  A proportion of cases required investigation and/or action by the provider such as a warning or locking of the relevant email account.   In most cases, Fasthosts needed only to provide best practice email advice to the relevant business.

Stephen Holford, Marketing Director, Fasthosts Internet, said: “In a tough economy, small businesses may be tempted to be more aggressive with the frequency of mailings, or begin to take for granted their right to email a contact base.  Every firm must respect the value that consumers place on their Inbox, and take the proper measures to ensure they use email professionally and ethically”.

For the benefit of every email user, it is important that every business does everything possible to minimise spam.  Below Fasthosts offers its Top 5 Tips for ensuring best practice when sending email newsletters and email marketing:

  1. Avoid using unqualified marketing lists provided by third parties
  2. Use only addresses that have opted-in to receive your emails
  3. Always include an opt-out in 1-click within your emails
  4. Send emails in small batches and include a reference to where and how the recipient subscribed to receive the emails
  5. Ensure content is as specific as possible to the audience and avoid words that are commonly detected by spam filters

Internet Psychologist Graham Jones said: “Unwanted email is a major issue which causes frustration, annoyance and stress.  If a business emails people without paying proper attention to opt-in systems they can expect increased negativity from their customers and their prospects. And with the ease with which people can complain about companies on social networks, there is the obvious potential for reputational damage too”.

Jones added: “When people are asked to define spam they simply talk about emails they did not request – no matter who those messages come from.  Many businesses think they are merely doing ‘email marketing’ but their customers actually think they are spamming.  There is a clear difference in thinking between many businesses and their customers – and that is bad for reputation and revenue”.

Whilst still rare, it is possible for businesses to become involved in the distribution of spam without even realising.   Problems can arise as a result of their email becoming compromised locally, commonly through a virus or Trojan on their hardware such as a PC.  It is vital that all businesses they keep mailboxes secure and regularly update passwords to minimise the risk of exploitation of their domain or mail servers.

Fasthosts offers a range of business email packages based on Microsoft Exchange 2010, priced from  £9.99/month+VAT, that comprise an efficient mobile email system which can lead to increased productivity and better response times for businesses in handling customer enquiries.  Furthermore, Fasthosts web hosting customers can receive the full functionality of the Microsoft Exchange 2010 platform as part of their web hosting package.  Especially important for business users, all email data is hosted in Fasthosts’ highly secure state-of-the-art UK data centres, and benefits from industry-leading virus scanning and multi-level spam filtering.   Fasthosts also provides the reassurance of a dedicated technical support team on hand 24/7.

Holford added, “Whilst spam is not new, the damage that it can do to business reputation and customer loyalty should definitely be cause for thought.  The more responsibility a company shows towards their use of email, the more credible and rewarding email marketing will become as a channel”.

As a leading web hosting provider, and Technology Sponsor of The Great Exhibition 2012, Fasthosts offers a comprehensive range of web solutions including domain name registrations, web hosting, dedicated and virtual servers, secure online storage and back-up, online payment services, reseller web hosting and feature-rich broadband packages.  Fasthosts is well placed to deliver a high quality service.

Fasthosts recently won Microsoft’s Hosting Partner of the Year Award.  Fasthosts and its state-of-the-art DataCenter on Demand (DCoD) service, was recognised for providing outstanding virtualised solutions and service.  The award further recognises Fasthosts’ ability to address end customers’ business challenges and utilise technology innovation to address these.

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