You are here: Home » Blog » Email Marketing » Staying within the Law

Staying within the Law

in Email Marketing

Recent legislation on Privacy and Electronic Communication has affected how businesses carry out their email marketing communications. The legislation was brought in to prevent consumers and businesses from receiving unsolicited emails, commonly known as spam.

The new law states that marketing via email to a customer is only permitted if they have given prior consent or opted in to receive email communications.

Building Your Customer Base

The legislation allows businesses to contact existing customers and those who have enquired about a product or service, as they are assumed to have declared their interest in receiving more information.

For new customer registrations explicit consent should be obtained before contacting a customer via email. This explicit consent can be written next to a check-box which must be ticked when signing up, and should be incorporated into the Terms and Conditions of your website.

Finally, every email sent to a customer should contain an ‘opt-out’ option at the bottom on the email, where the customer can freely opt out of any future communications. This is also best practice, as it doesn’t make sense to continue communicating with someone who doesn’t want to receive your email communications.


Looking for an email marketing solution? iContact allows you to create, send, and track all emails to your subscriber base. Take the free trial >>


Sourcing Data Lists

Renting and buying data lists are popular ways of attracting new customers via email marketing. Known as ‘customer data’, the data using contains contact details along with profile data such as age, location, occupation, and so on. This information allows you to assess the suitability of the data for promoting your product or service.

Always ask how the data was obtained and whether explicit consent was obtained for future communications. If customers on the data list have not given consent then not only will they be significantly more unresponsive than a high-quality list, but they may also complain.

It almost goes without saying that you should avoid websites that claim that you can ‘email the world’ or that they have ‘100 million email addresses’. These email addresses have almost certainly not been obtained legally, they are of very low quality, and imagine the repercussions if only 0.1% of people complained. Breaking the law could result in fines of up to £5,000 so be sure not to break it.

Future Benefits

Whilst this new legislation can appear daunting initially there are future benefits that will gradually appear. As unsolicited emails gradually become eradicated consumers will become more responsive and email marketing will continue to grow into an effective and accepted marketing channel.

Ultimately if you receive explicit consent from everyone that you email then you can’t go far wrong.

Previous post:

Next post: