Shortcut to this page: http://faq.ph9.com/faq_question.asp?key=1285&topic=who-can-i-send-email-marketing-to-and-how-can-i-not-send-email-marketing-to-gdpr
Who can I send email marketing to, and how can I not send email marketing to? (GDPR)
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1) Who you can send emails to

a) People who have subscribed to your mailing list

The most obvious list of people you can email are people who have consciously signed up to your email mailing list and optted in to receiving emails from you.

They may have subscribed to your email mailing list in one of the following ways:-
  • Filling in a mailing list sign up form
  • Opt'ing in to receive email when filling in an enquiry form
  • Opt'ing in to receive email when buying online

b) People have "soft opt in"

According to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO):-

"The term ‘soft opt-in is sometimes used to describe the rule about existing customers. The idea is that if an individual bought something from you recently, gave you their details, and did not opt out of marketing messages, they are probably happy to receive marketing from you about similar products or services even if they haven t specifically consented. However, you must have given them a clear chance to opt out – both when you first collected their details, and in every message you send."

Our understanding is this that this would apply in the following scenarios:-
  • If you have an email mailing list from your website of all your customers who've bought from you before
  • If you have compiled an email mailing list based on customers who've puchased from you before (eg by going through emails in your Inbox, and copying the email addresses of anyone who has purchased from you before)
  • People who are relevant to your business and you've met at a trade fair or similar, and are likely to want to hear from you.
Under the soft opt-in rule, as long as you provide a clear opt-out in every message (eg an unsubscribe link) then you should normally be ok.

c) Emailing businesses

The rules are different to emailing businesses vs emailing private individuals.

You can email or text any corporate body (a company, Scottish partnership, limited liability partnership or government body) without them optting in.

So for example if the company you want to email is called BobSellsLovelyNiceThings.com Ltd and their email address is email@BobSellsLovelyNiceThings.com then you can email them without them optting in.


d) Using a purchased email mailing list

You can also buy an email mailing list. These email addresses on this list must have optted in however. There are a range of trusted email mailing list companies who sell verified, double opt-in email mailing lists which are safe to use. If going for this option we would encourage you to do your own research and make sure the company you are buying the list from is reputable and following the relevant laws and rules as there are some unscrupulous companies out there as well as trusted ones. Again, do your own research.


2) Making sure people can opt out (unsubscribe)

You'll need to make sure that people can easily opt out of your mailshots. You can do this by making sure you have a clear and visible unsubscribe link on any of your email mailshots.

This usually is included by standard on 99.9% of email marketing platforms so isn't usually something you need to worry about.


3) Further reading


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