Email marketing is an attractive marketing option for small businesses since it is a low cost way of reaching a wide customer base.
However, spam (the unsolicited sending of emails) is illegal. The law on this area is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
The key rules are:
- You should not send marketing emails without recipients prior consent. This should be in the form of an opt-in or an extremely explicit opt-out.
- Where contact details are collected through the course of a sale or in sale negotiations, emails can be sent if emails relate to similar products or services and when the address was collected the recipient was given the opportunity to opt-out.
- You as a sender should not hide your identity and you should provide a valid email address for the opt-out for future emails.
Breaking the spam law is serious and could result in fines up to £5,000.