By Alexandra English, Marketing Manager, LBM Direct Marketing Ltd

Email marketing is the core communication tool for the vast majority of B2B and B2C companies throughout the UK and is fast taking over direct mail as the main form of marketing communications. Despite this, the legalities surrounding email marketing are yet to be clearly defined. In a recent on-line survey almost a third of respondents were unclear what their obligations are when conducting e-mail marketing campaigns.

Given the ease with which emails can be broadcast, this lack of guidance is particularly concerning to both data suppliers and buyers. Marketers need to be able to contact prospects and promote new products, but without clear boundaries, this is becoming increasingly difficult. At LBM we operate at both ends of the spectrum, selling B2B and B2C email addresses and broadcasting to them. Over the years we have developed our own code of conduct, which we believe will allow marketers the flexibility they need, whilst working to the client or prospect’s best interests.

1. Always offer opt-out. Provide a simple way for recipients to opt out, making sure that the option is clearly visible in the email.

2. Never ignore opt-out requests. This could have legal implications and will also damage your brand and reputation.

3. Record Opt-out requests. When you receive an opt-out request, suppress any individual or company details rather than deleting them so that you’ll have a record of who not to contact.

4. Multiple opt-in. One opt-in allows you to email about the specific product or similar products in a range, however you cannot market totally new products without permission.

5. Don’t bombard people. Don’t over use email. Consider the frequency of your communications and try to limit emails on the same topic. Opt-in newsletters can be more frequent, but again must be relevant.

6. Consider compatibility. There are a wide range of email providers who may display emails differently. Set up test accounts with the major email providers and test your creative to ensure it displays correctly.

7. Meet your audience’s needs. Offering the option at opt-in stage to receive html or plain text emails will help to meet the expectations of your target audience.

8. Targeted emails. Only send targeted and timely information to the relevant audience to avoid spam traps and opt-outs

9. Complaint handling. Do not ignore complaints you may receive following an email marketing campaign. Have a system in place to deal with complaints about unwanted marketing.

10. Use accurate subject lines. Embellishing subject lines to make the email sound more interesting is misleading and will alienate your audience.

So complying to the guidelines above should go some way to ensuring that you and your brand are protected when using email marketing. If you have any other guidelines to add or would like to find out more about LBM’s email marketing policies, please email enquiries@lbm.co.uk

Join us on