Meeting your legal obligations with email marketing

12th August 2016

You must comply with the Data Protection Act

Beware of data protection laws

This could be related to useful information about the products and services they have bought from you before, special offers or deals, tips about how to save time or money, etc.

Email marketing is governed by laws on data protection, privacy and e-commerce, so you should plan your campaign carefully:

The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates how you build and manage your customer database. You need to comply with the law when sending emails to people who aren’t already customers. Read about privacy laws affecting your email marketing on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website.

It is illegal to reveal recipients’ details on any emails. Create a mailing group that sends a blind carbon copy to each recipient.

When sending email marketing messages, you must not conceal your identity.

Under e-commerce regulations, marketing emails must include certain information about your business, including its full name, contact details and a clear indication of prices if you refer to them.

There must be a valid address for people to opt out of receiving emails from you.

You cannot send unsolicited marketing messages by email to individual subscribers unless you have their prior consent. There are exemptions if their address was collected in the course of a sale or if the recipient has expressed an interest in ‘similar’ items and chose not to opt out when the address was originally collected. ‘Individual subscribers’ do not include companies or individuals within companies.

E-commerce regulations require you to make all commercial email clearly identifiable as such, either in the header or the text of the email.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 are the rules that govern how you conduct your marketing by electronic means, such as by email or by telephone. The Regulations will affect you if you use cookies on your website or if you operate telephone or similar directories.

To comply with the regulations you must:

Identify yourself when you carry out marketing.
Provide appropriate contact details when sending marketing material or messages so that the individual or organisation receiving the marketing can contact you. This should be a postal address, email address or Freephone number.
For telephone marketing, you must identify yourself. You must also give your address or Freephone number if the person you are calling asks for it.

Please see the privacy laws affecting your email marketing on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website

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