Paul Hanrahan
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Stay on the right side of the law and make the most of email marketing.

Email marketing is quick, direct and cost effective marketing. It’s a perfect tool for arts and culture organisations, whether you want to let as many people as possible know about a new exhibition, or you want to gauge interest after an event by inviting feedback and engagement.

But before you start putting plans in place to email everyone in Scotland, take a moment to check the rules of email marketing.

The basics

  1. Get permission

The most important thing to know is that you must not send email marketing to individuals without their permission. Clear, specific consent must have been given, stating that they are happy to receive such emails before you click ‘send’.

  1. Soft opt-in still needs an opt-out

The only exception to this are the previous customers who have bought (or discussed buying) a similar product or service from you in the past. This is called a ‘soft opt-in’. But even these individuals still need to be given the opportunity to opt out of receiving future marketing materials from you and in every subsequent email you send.

  1. Companies vs individuals

You are allowed to send email marketing messages to companies and the rules are not quite as tight here. However, be aware that sole traders and some partnerships are treated as individuals so the same rules apply.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, these rules only relate to the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Things are about to get tighter under the General Data Protection Regulations in 2018. Learn about what’s to come from our summary.

A very detailed set of rules govern email marketing as laid out by the ICO. To find out more and for a full breakdown of the rules head over to the ICO website or get in touch with Culture Republic if you have a particular question.


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