There are a number of guidelines and laws that have to be complied with when sending marketing emails and text messages in the UK. If you plan to send any marketing emails you should comply with the following rules and Regulations.
Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
The Regulations apply to marketing by email, text message, telephone or fax sent to individuals. The rules apply to promotions appearing on your own website, through a partner’s website, in a third party e-newsletter, or as part of an advertising or email campaign.
Important: Please note that the rules do not apply to emails sent to organisations, although you must still comply with the disclosure provisions referred to below.
The general rule is that you cannot send marketing emails unless you have obtained prior consent from the person concerned. However, there is an exception if you send marketing emails to existing customers for similar products and services, provided that:
- the customer was given a simple opportunity to opt out from receiving marketing emails when their details were collected; or
- the customer is given a simple way to opt out in future emails i.e. via an unsubscribe option.
When sending an electronic marketing message, you must tell the recipient who you are and you must provide a valid contact address.
CAP Code Advertising Rules
The CAP Code which sets out the rules administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now been amended to include the same rules as above in relation to marketing emails and test messages. Note that it also covers on-line banner ads, pop-ups and moving image posters. Although the CAP Code lacks the force of legislation it should be followed by all businesses to avoid sanctions being imposed, such as adverse media coverage or denial of advertising space.