Promoting your business by email, SMS, MMS or instant message?

Here’s how to make sure your messages keep reaching your customers...

We know that marketing is a great way to grow your business. With technology like smartphones and email, there are now more ways than ever to reach your customers.

Marketing through electronic commercial messages

A commercial electronic message is any message that comes in an electronic form, (such as email, SMS, MMS or instant message), that offers, advertises or promotes a business, good or service.

This can include:

1. a regular email newsletter for your business

2. texting your customers to promote a sale

3. sending a digital coupon to your loyal customers for a discount.

Rules when sending electronic commercial messages

There are rules when sending electronic commercial messages to your customers. Before sending your messages, you must make sure that:

1. you have permission from your customers to send them commercial electronic messages

2. you include a way for your customers to unsubscribe or opt-out.

If you don't follow these principles, you'll be in breach of the Spam Act 2003, and your customers can report you to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Also, if your customers haven’t given you permission to send messages to their emails, they are more likely to mark your emails as spam. If lots of people mark your emails as spam, email systems can block your emails and they won’t reach your customers.

Check out ACMA’s Key elements of the Spam Act to find out more.

What do you need to do?

To send electronic commercial messages to your customers:

1. Get your customer’s consent to send them the messages.

2. Make sure you provide a way for people to unsubscribe from your messages. This is known as an unsubscribe facility.

Here are some things to remember about providing an unsubscribe facility:

1. Your unsubscribe instructions should be clear and easy to see.

2. If your recipient unsubscribes, you should unsubscribe them within five working days.

3. Unsubscribing should be low cost or free.

4. Your recipient should be able to unsubscribe up to 30 days after they receive your original message.

5. If you’ve used a third party to send out the email for you, a recipient’s request to unsubscribe should come to you and not the third party.

For more information, read about mandatory unsubscribe facilities on ACMA’s website.

Examples of unsubscribe facilities

Here are some examples of how you might include, or word, an unsubscribe facility:

1. Email—Unsubscribe: if you no longer want to receive messages from us, simply reply to this email with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

2. Email—If you no longer want to receive these messages, please click "unsubscribe".

3. SMS—Unsub: reply NO

4. A link to a website where the person can easily click a button to remove themselves from a mailing list.

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