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Back to basics: do you know all the email marketing regulations?

In our hurry to embrace new forms of email marketing, even old hands could find themselves falling fall foul of basic email marketing regulations. Time for a refresher course…

With the ongoing explosion of different types of email marketing and associated technologies; (more automated email, more triggered real-time emails) it’s important not to lose sight of the basics. Keeping up with email marketing regulations is more vital than ever before, to ensure you don’t inadvertently trip up.

Keep yourself up-to-date and compliant, with our five tips for keeping your recipients and the Information Commissioners Office on your side.

Back to Basics: do you know all the email marketing regulations?

Engage them, don’t spam them

Recipients are tired of spam email, and you don’t want your business inadvertently tarnished with that brush. After all, the merest suggestion of spam can kill your reputation quicker than any investigation by the ICO.

Avoid accusations of being a spammer:

  • Use a clear sender name and address.
  • Limit the use of CAPS and exclamation marks in your emails.
  • Keep file sizes down.
  • Don’t send attachments in bulk emails.
  • Use words that could set off spam filters (such as ‘free’) sparingly.


Opt them in ‘softly’

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, you must not send marketing emails to prospects unless you have their prior consent. The exception to this rule is (and you must meet all three stipulations):

  • The prospect’s email address was collected ‘in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale’.
  • You’re sending promotional messages relating to your ‘similar products and services’.
  • The prospect was given the option to opt out when their email address was collected initially, and they chose to remain opted-in. This rule only applies to unsolicited marketing messages sent by electronic mail to individual subscribers.


Empower them

Email marketing regulations state that recipients of your commercial emails must be able to opt-out of receiving further missives from you. To protect yourself:

  • Include a clear and valid unsubscribe link in your email.
  • Ensure that you keep a list of the contacts who have opted out.
  • Remove said contacts from any future marketing lists.


Inform them

Both the Companies Act 1985 and the Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 state that ‘in characters that can be read with the naked eye’, you must include the following information in any marketing email:

  • Your company’s registered name.
  • Your company registration number.
  • Your place of registration.
  • Your registered office address.

Potential fine for not including this information: Up to £1,000

Additional penalty for each day said information is not included: £300


Protect yourself

If you are handling personal client information, you may be required to register with the ICO as a data controller. Contact the government body here to see if you qualify.


  • Avoid making your emails look like spam.
  • Empower your contacts to opt-out if they want to.
  • Ensure your email states your full company details.
  • Check if it’s necessary to register with the ICO.
  • Make sure your list of prospects have all signed up to being contacted.

Where should you invest your precious marketing budget? Download our free eGuide: Email Vs Social Media Vs Website Marketing: Which Gives the Best ROI? Fight!

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