Are your emails Spam?
What is Spam? And how do I avoid breaching Australia’s Spam Laws when sending emails to my mailing list?
Recently we have shared on our blog the benefits of sending out an eNews to past and potential clients as well as our tips for making the most of the eNews as a marketing tool. We hope this has inspired you to have a go at email marketing (if you’re not doing so already).
It is also important to be aware that collecting and collating emails to add to your subscriber list is not always as simple as it seems. Regulations apply to businesses that restrict who they can email (and what those emails entail) without it falling into the definition of ‘spam’. As every country is a little different, we’re going to focus on the regulations that apply to businesses within Australia.
Spam Act 2003
I should start by explaining what I mean by “spam”, for those of you who haven’t heard it used in this context before. No, I’m not talking about a small tin of (questionable) meat. I’m talking about irrelevant or unsolicited marketing messages that are sent electronically (SMS, MMS, instant messenger and emails).
The Spam Act 2003 is what defines what spam is in Australian and how businesses are able to communicate with their audience without falling into this category. The Act is enforced by ACMA (the Australian Communications and Media Authority), who have the power to accept complaints, reports and enquiries about advertising and marketing messages that are sent to an Australian electronically.
In summary, there are three important rules you should comply with:
- Your recipients must have consented to receiving electronic messages from you
- You have provided a way in which people can unsubscribe to future messages
- You have clearly identified who you are
Consent is the main issue to consider when avoiding breaching the Australian regulations. As a business owner, you need consent from the recipient before sending them a commercial electronic message. This includes not only express consent but also inferred consent.
Express consent is where someone has intentionally and deliberately agreed to receive electronic messages from you. An example of this is where you enter your email address into an opt-in form on a business’s website in order to sign up for regular updates or emails. Another example is the option to tick a box at the checkout of an online store, saying that you would like to receive updates from them in the future.
Inferred consent is where there is a relationship between your business and the recipient. This includes your relationship with any current or previous clients or customers. An example used by ACMA is the relationship between a magazine and their customers. If you subscribe to the magazine, then it is reasonably inferred from this that you consent to receiving emails and other electronic messages from the publisher.
Consent can be withdrawn and businesses need to provide a way for the recipient to unsubscribe to any future correspondence. When it comes to emails, this is most commonly done by providing an “unsubscribe” or “manage notification preferences” link at the bottom of the email that allows your readers to take themselves off your contact list.
Any commercial message that is sent needs to identify who the sender is (whether it be an individual or organisation). It also needs into include information about how the reader can contact you. This could include address, phone, email or a link to your website.
If you want more information about ACMA and the Spam Act 2003, you can visit: