It is now widely accepted that a well-executed email newsletter can be an incredibly effective marketing tool. It’s a cost-effective, engaging, and enduring way to build and maintain customer relationships. That said, it is also necessary that your newsletter meets all relevant legal obligations in order to provide the benefits without getting you into trouble.
Let’s take a look at the legal requirements needed to safely and effectively maintain an email newsletter.
Be upfront from the start in your email newsletter
Like any relationship, you want your subscriber’s first impression of you to be a good one. Don’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. When you capture email addresses, make it clear on any sign-up forms and landing pages that people are subscribing to your mailing list. Provide a clear overview of the value that your email newsletter offers and what they can expect to receive in each installment.
It will need to include details on:
- What data you process
- How you process it
- The purpose of the processing (e.g., for sending a newsletter or market analysis)
- All third-party involvement
- The user’s rights in regards to their data
- How you handle requests related to their rights
- The actual mechanisms of communication used (e.g. email, paper mail)
- How you protect their data
Familiarize yourself with data protection legislation (particularly GDPR)
A GDPR-compliant newsletter contains several important elements—appropriate registration form contents, a double opt-in cocnent procedure,, protocolling, and the unsubscribe procedure. If you check all these boxes, you’ve got yourself a GDPR-compliant mailing list.
Only emails addresses are mandatory
Remember that although all general personal data can be requested in principle, including name, birthday, and e-mail address, when it comes to GDPR compliance — only such personal data may be requested that is necessary for the performance of the services. In the case of the GDPR newsletter, therefore, only the e-mail address field may be mandatory.
Check if double opt-in is required
In many countries, the double opt-in procedure is the only legally compliant method to generate registrations for newsletter distribution. Once the user has entered their data and activated the checkbox, they receive an email newsletter with a confirmation link. By clicking on it, the user provides the permission you need to store and use their data to send newsletters. If consent is not provided, all personal data must be deleted.
You must keep a record of consent
It is also necessary that you maintain a record of this consent. We recommend making sure that the time stamp (date and time) and the IP data of the entry are logged and stored. When you send your confirmation e-mail, it is also a good idea to list all the information you collected from that newsletter subscriber.
It should be easy to unsubscribe
Finally, every recipient must have the possibility to unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time without having to search high and low or jump through any hoops. For this purpose, it’s necessary in many places to include an unsubscribe link at the end of each email.
Making your newsletter legally compliant is reasonably straightforward. In addition to avoiding rooky mistakes like spamming or over-communicating, just follow the outlined requirements, and you can be on your way to having a successful newsletter in no time.
If you’d like to learn more about how to communicate your brand identify and build trust through a newsletter, please get in touch to discuss your email marketing strategy with one of our experts.