Paul Hanrahan
Written by

Stay on the right side of the law with your organisation’s EMAIL communications.

Are you among the many arts and cultural organisations in Scotland using email marketing to keep your audience up to date with news and events?

If so, you may have spotted our recent article on the Rules of Email Marketing in which we covered the basics about permission, soft opt-in and who you can contact.

We hope it was a helpful introduction, but once you start ramping up your email marketing efforts you’ll soon realise there is a lot more you need to know.

Continued consent

Ensuring that you only send emails to people who have opted into your communications is the first stage. But don’t forget that the recipient of your messages is entitled to withdraw their consent at any time. Once they do, you must be sure to stop contacting them.

Suppress don’t delete

While you need to stop contacting anyone that opts out of your communications, deleting their information from your records entirely is another matter. In fact, in most cases unless they request the removal of their information, it’s advisable to keep their records but move them to another database.

This removes the risk of them being accidentally re-subscribed to your newsletter against their will. Any new list uploaded can be cross-referenced with the database of unsubscribers just to be 100% sure that people who have opted out of your communications don’t accidentally sneak back into your active lists through other sources.

Record everything

Stick to the rules and you’re very unlikely to ever find yourself handling a complaint regarding your email marketing. But to be on the extra safe side, keep hold of your records of consent and opt-ins. This will give you the evidence you need to handle any complaints or issues quickly. Formalising these records will put you on the road to being prepared for GDPR.

Extend your horizons

Don’t forget, the rules don’t just apply to emails, but also to texts, video messages, social media, phone calls … and just about any means of communication you could use to connect with your audiences. So keep a close eye on conduct on all your marketing platforms.

Time for change

Finally, if you’re just starting to explore the potential of email marketing you’ve chosen an interesting time to do so. The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) rules are changing in 2018.

These changes are coming from the European Union, but the ICO has confirmed that UK businesses and organisations will still have to adhere to these regulations regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations

So we’d strongly advise you to start reading up now to ensure you’re following not only best practice in your email marketing, but a forthcoming legal requirement.

Main image credit: Email by Bruno Girin (CC BY-SA 2.0)