How to Execute Email Direct Marketing in Australia

There’s no doubt that email direct marketing is one of the most beneficial marketing and communication tools handy for your business, no matter the scale. Why? Direct email marketing hands out you full control over the messaging and images included within them. It also enables you to connect directly with your prospects or clients. It’s prompt. It’s dynamic. It’s personal. It’s direct.

Sure, email marketing can be intimate and personal, however there is a negative side to it as well. As with the nature of it, email direct marketing can be seen as annoying or disturbing to its recipients, specifically when a message is unexpected. Since the emergence of email, mobile devices and mass digital communications in the mid to late 1990s, new technologies have only strengthened the volume and impact of email marketing messages. Even today, email marketing is a targeted marketing tool that remains successful.

So in 2003, with the digital advancement in full swing and email direct marketing becoming increasingly popular, the Australian Government launched the Spam Act 2003 (Cth) (Spam Act). The Spam Act was proposed to relieve users of the “junk mail” burden and, especially, create rules specifying how companies are granted to directly communicate with them via “commercial emails” (including SMS).

What is the Spam Act?

The Spam Act is Australian law that introduces the rules that guide the sending of commercial emails or messages. Breaches have severe effects on businesses with potential fines (or worse).

At its bottom line, it requires three integral requirements to be met when delivering any commercial electronic message – approval (of the recipient), identification (of the sender), and a clear opt-out option.

What is SPAM?

Spam email is uninvited and unwanted junk email sent out in bulk to a broad recipient list. Generally, spam is sent for commercial purposes. It can be sent in extensive volume by botnets, networks of infected systems.

Defining Spam: Email Marketing Laws in Australia

To be a commercial marketing email, it must consist of one or more of the following:

  • an offer
  • a promotion
  • an advertisement

Emails that are entirely transactional or functional in the structure are not recognised to be spam emails. Direct email marketers can deliver emails or electronic messages affirming client appointment details, pointing out updates to client policies, or other similar issues without fear of any backlash.

The Spam Act also blocks the purchase and handling of address harvesting software. That is software that’s devised to search the internet for email addresses to be added to a database. The Spam Act especially forbids the use of lists created using harvesting software, even if that list is taken from a third party, where it is intended to be handled to send unsolicited spam.

Complying With Email Marketing Laws in Australia

There are a few steps you can take to build up compliance with Australia’s email and electronic marketing laws:

  • You must earn the recipient’s consent to send communications through commercial electronic messages (i.e. email or SMS) from you. This can be considered consent (via an ‘opt-in’ checkbox, for example) or inferred. You can often gain consent from present clients who have shopped a product or service from your company, too. Importantly, if you are depending on an ‘opt in’ checkbox, you should not deliver a pre-ticked checkbox on your online forms.
  • You are required to ensure that the recipient knows exactly who you are or who your brand is by clearly distinguishing yourself and your contact details – consisting of your ABN/ACN – in your communications. Your name should be a name they know, so ensure it’s not ‘buried’ in graphics or misleading content.
  • You must provide an easy method for recipients to ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ from getting any further emails from you. You must make sure that this unsubscribe option remains working for at least 30 days after your mail is sent, and ensure that you honour a request to ‘unsubscribe’ within 5 working days.

It’s crucial to understand the rules and regulations for every single commercial email that your business delivers in Australia. Your systems and processes must be devised to ensure that all of your direct marketing complies with the regulations. With so many businesses automating and outsourcing their electronic direct mail (EDM) actions, it’s easy to understand how systemic breaches can crop up, with a greater risk of an error being applied across all of the emails delivered out.

To learn more about email marketing automation for your business and the laws behind email direct marketing, connect with our team anytime.

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