B2B – Opt-in
Where the ‘soft opt-in exemption’ does not apply, you need prior consent to GDPR standard to send a marketing email to B2C contacts.
When undertaking email marketing to B2B contacts, you will need prior consent to send a marketing communication to employees of sole traders and partnerships, as these are treated in the same way as B2C contacts.
Corporate subscribers (limited companies, public limited companies, government departments and their employees) are treated differently. It is permissible to send unsolicited direct marketing e-mails to corporate subscribers and their staff members on an opt-out/unsubscribe basis provided:
- the goods or services being marketed are those which the organisation would purchase in its normal course of business;
- the recipient of the email has not previously objected/opted-out to unsolicited direct marketing e-mails.
- the sender of the email must identify itself and provide contact details
- the sender of the email must provide an unsubscribe/opt-out mechanism which is free of charge and easy to use
B2c – Opt-in
It is not permissible to send unsolicited direct marketing e-mails to individual subscribers (consumers, sole traders/partnerships and their staff members) without their prior consent.
The sender must also clearly identify:
- commercial and unsolicited commercial emails as such;
- natural or legal person on behalf of whom a commercial email is sent;
- promotional offers, competitions and games and conditions for participation.
It is possible to send unsolicited direct marketing e-mails on an opt-out/unsubscribe basis if a commercial relationship with the recipients already exists (the soft opt-in/existing customer exemption), provided all the following conditions are met:
- The email address is collected in the course of negotiations for, or the sale of goods/services;
- The individual is told at the point of data collection that the organisation collecting their email address would send unsolicited email marketing to the email address provided.
- The individual is offered an opt-out/unsubscribe mechanism, which is free of charge and easy to use, from receiving further unsolicited marketing email messages at the point of data collection.
- Any further unsolicited email marketing messages sent relate to similar products and services offered by the same organisation which collected the email address. The organisation cannot send emails advertising goods and services from third parties or pass the email address on to third parties for them to send unsolicited marketing emails without obtaining prior consent.
- Any subsequent unsolicited email marketing message can only be sent to individuals who did not opt-out/unsubscribe at the point of data collection and must contain an opt-out unsubscribe mechanism which is free of charge and easy to use.
It is prohibited to send direct marketing e-mails if:
- the identity of the sender is disguised or concealed;
- an opt-out address is not provided.