Legal Considerations for Email Marketing

Posted by: Becky Bradbury


Email marketing can play an integral part in any organisations digital marketing plan, offering high return on investment and trackable results.

However there are a few key points regarding email law that must be remembered when collecting that all important data and when emailing your subscribers.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (2003) is the principle law surrounding email marketing in the UK

With so many emails landing in our inboxes every day it can be frustrating to receive unwanted marketing messages which are irrelevant to us and unauthorised.

So what are the key points to remember

The first and most important rule is that anyone residing within your database must have previously ‘opted in’ – this simply means that each individual should have explicitly stated that they would like you to contact them via email. This could, for example, mean that they have signed up to your newsletters through your website, ticked a box to say that they are happy to hear from you when purchasing an item from your online store or have simply emailed you requesting to become a subscriber.

However, as with most things in life, email law is not all black and white, providing us with some exceptions to the rule.

By UK law you can email

  • Limited companies generic email addresses (info@) or named email addresses providing that the information you are communicating to them is relevant to their job.
  • Someone who already has an established relationship with your organisation. For example:

This could be if someone has purchased something from your store and provided their email address during the transaction.

Or

If some has booked a stay at your hotel and provided their details for communication purposes.

The only ‘people’ not covered by email law are those from a limited company, plc or public sector organisation.

Remember, once sending to your database, you must provide a simple method for subscribers to ‘opt-out’ from receiving your emails – this should take the form of a clear unsubscribe link.

Email marketing is a valuable asset when considering your online presence and strategy, however due care and attention must always be given to how you choose to carry out your marketing methods; ensuring that you are safely within the law is essential to your success.

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