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Question: What should we include in the footer area of our e-mails?

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Answer: Marketers often overlook this prime piece of e-mail real estate. But there are many ways you can put this little space to work for you. In addition to the legally required physical address and opt-out information, your e-mail footer space can provide customers with important facts about your e-mail program, your company and your policies, such as:

  • The e-mail address the message was sent to. Because many people have more than one e-mail account, it is wise to include the e-mail address the message was sent to in the footer, as in, "This e-mail was sent to bill@microsoft.com." This makes troubleshooting opt-out problems much easier.
  • Why they are receiving the message. If you haven’t done it elsewhere in the mailing, you should include a statement about list origin, such as, "This mailing was sent to you because you asked for new product announcements from Company X." This helps remind the customer what he or she signed up for, and from whom.
  • Customer service contact information. Provide an e-mail address, call center or both. Remember to note hours of operation. If the customer has an account rep or sales manager assigned, you might also include the contact information for this individual.
  • Privacy statement. E-mail can be a sensitive subject, so reassure readers by giving them a brief description of your e-mail privacy policy and providing a link to your full privacy statement, in case they want to learn more.
  • Copyright statement. Nearly every company Web site has a copyright statement in the footer, but a surprisingly large number of e-mails from those same companies lack copyright labeling. Check with your legal counsel to see whether your footer should include a copyright statement.
  • Trademark. The most conservative companies also like to identify their proprietary marks in every document, as in, "Silverpop and the ‘dot pattern’ are registered trademarks of Silverpop Systems." Check with your legal department to see if this is a practice you might want to adopt.

One thing you never want to put in your footer is a statement about how well you comply with CAN-SPAM. Not only does it sound a bit self-serving, but ironically, it may actually increase your chances of getting filtered as spam.

Incorporating helpful information into your e-mail footer is good practice, a wise use of space and, moreover, your customers will appreciate it.

Elaine O’Gorman is VP-strategy at Silverpop (http://www.silverpop.com/), a permission-based e-mail marketing solutions provider.

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