How To Stop Your Email Marketing Campaigns From Giving You A Legal Headache

Despite the rise of social media and search engine marketing in recent years, email remains one of the most effective marketing tools. Last year, 293.6 billion emails sent and received each day worldwide, and it’s expected we’ll see nearly 350 billion emails daily in 2022. But it’s important not to get complacent about your obligations.

The line between alerting shoppers of new deals and spamming them is fine, and the smallest mistake, like a poorly worded subject line, could cost your business dearly.

Over recent months, two of Australia’s biggest companies have been issued record fines for sending emails to those that have previously unsubscribed. At the start of July, Woolworths was fined over $1 million for breaching Australia’s anti-spam laws more than 5 million times, the largest fine the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ever issued. Earlier this year, telco giant Optus was issued a $504,000 fine for sending its own customers spam emails against their will.

But don’t let that turn you off. An effective email campaign can generate a loyal following for years to come and its’s not hard to follow ACMA guidelines once you know what they are. A compliant campaign means you are not wasting your time and money or turning off your customers.

Before you click send, here’s our top things to keep in mind when creating an email marketing campaign.

Get Each Shopper’s Permission

ACMA guidelines say that if send marketing emails to your customers, you need their permission. There are two types of permission express or inferred. Express permission means that each customer knows and accepts receiving marketing emails from you, either by ticking a box on your website, filling out an online form, over the phone or through face-to-face discussions.

Inferred permission is a little less straight-forward. You may infer a customer has given you permission to receive marketing emails from you if they’re both a current customer and the message you want to send them directly relates to a previous product or service they’ve bought. You could also infer permission if the person’s email is publicly available and they haven’t stated they don’t want commercial messages.

Under the Spam Act 2003, it’s up to businesses to prove they’ve received consent from each email recipient. Whether it’s express or inferred, you should keep a record of when each customer gives permission and how they do it. Keep in mind that you can’t ask for consent via email, as that technically qualifies as a marketing message.

Include An ‘Opt Out’ Option

Sometimes shoppers change their minds. While they may have given express permission to receive your marketing emails a few months earlier, some customers may choose to not receive your emails anymore.

This is why nearly all international email laws require businesses to provide your subscribers with an unsubscribe option. Make sure that at the end of each email, you include a click-through for those wishing to opt out of your emails. While you don’t want this mechanism to be tough to spot, at the same time, you don’t want to be encouraging all your customers to unsubscribe.

It’s also important that you make the unsubscribe processes as smooth and seamless as possible. While these customers are currently choosing to not receive your emails anymore, they may very well opt back in down the road. The last thing you want is to leave a long-lasting bad taste in shoppers’ mouths.

Avoid Spam Filters

Spam still accounts for 45 per cent of all emails sent, and according to ReturnPath, around 21 per cent of permission-based emails sent by legitimate email marketers end up in junk folders. While you may have invested a lot of time and money crafting your messaging, there’s a chance that your emails are not being seen at all.

Anti-spam filters scan emails to detect red flags, and one of the most common triggers of spam filters are poorly constructed subject lines. To ensure your emails land in your customer’s inbox, avoid using ‘salesy’ words and phrases like ‘free gift’, ‘100% free’ and ‘order now’

Another common trigger for spam filters is emails that contain too many URL links, as scammers tend to scatter dangerous links all throughout emails. While you should always try to include a call-to-action at the end of your emails for shoppers to take the next step, you should try to limit your links to just one and ensure its visibly prominent.

Email marketing allows you to form genuine connections with customers in a smooth, simple and seamless fashion. The medium also comes with various pitfalls, and even the smallest mistake in your email campaigns can cost you dearly.

Thankfully, all-in-one digital platforms such as TractionNext allow marketers to create and manage complicated email marketing campaigns with ease. Thanks to the platform’s dashboard, you can stay across all potential issues as they arise, before they become a serious financial problem.

Looking to take your email marketing to the next level? Book a meeting with TractionNext’s Digital Communications Director, Alex Catalan, or visit us at to find out more.

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