Email marketing is an inexpensive and very targeted form of marketing. Done correctly, it can help achieve brand awareness, customer retention, advertising revenue and many other marketing goals.
The obvious place to start compiling your own in-house marketing list is to consider your existing satisfied customers – those who have bought goods or services from you, have registered on your website or made an enquiry.
However, you shouldn’t assume that everyone is happy to receive marketing emails. You should make it clear upfront that you intend to use their details for marketing purposes. The best way to get clear consent for your marketing is to provide opt-in boxes that specify the type of messages you plan to send.
You should record when and how you got consent, and what type of messages it covers. If possible, you should also record whether the customer is an individual or a company, as different rules apply. If this is not clear, assume they are an individual.
You must also be very careful before using bought-in lists for emails. You can only use them if all the people on the list specifically consented to receiving emails from you. You must make checks to satisfy yourself that any list is accurate and the details were collected fairly, and that the consent is specific and recent enough to cover your marketing.
As soon as someone objects to or opts out of your marketing, you should add them to a ‘do not contact’ list. You should screen all your marketing against this list to make sure you don’t contact anyone who has opted out. You can send an immediate reply confirming they have unsubscribed, but you must not contact them at a later date even if this is just to ask if they want to opt back in.
You must not simply delete their details altogether, as you need to ensure they are not later put back on your marketing list by mistake (for example if you buy more leads that include the same details). If someone asks you to delete their details, you should explain that you will need to keep them on a ‘do not contact’ list to make sure you comply with their right to opt out.
You must make sure the data is stored securely, in line with guidance from the Data Protection Act. Further information can be found in this Guide to Data Protection on the ICO website. For further information on compiling marketing lists, see the ICO‘s Direct Marketing Guidance.
If you would like to start email marketing, you will need a specialist system that can help you comply with these guidelines and manage the security of the personal data you hold.
Contact us for further information and a free consultation.