POPIA: All your email marketing questions answered


Who can I add to my email marketing list after 1 July 2021 without them having to opt-in?

  • Only people you have a transactional relationship with, for example customers, partners, and suppliers
  • That said, you must provide them with an opportunity to opt-out at any time
  • Therefore, every mailer you send must have an unsubscribe or opt-out option

Who needs to Opt-in after 1 July 2021 and how do I go about getting them to opt-in?

  • Everyone you do not have a transactional relationship with
  • There are many ways to get them to opt-in directly using sign-up forms on your website, social media platforms, links from your business email and even using printed forms
  • You must be able to prove that they have signed up (opted-in).  If the sign-up did not occur directly on the system (such as via a printed form) you would need to keep an original copy thereof.
  • Once they have opted-in, you must continue to provide them with an opportunity to opt-out on all the mailers you send by adding an unsubscribe option

What about people to whom I have sent marketing mailers prior to 1 July 2021 who have not opted in

  • You can continue sending them mailers as long as all the previous mailers you sent to them had an unsubscribe or opt-out option
  • If your mailers did not have this option, you will have to send a once-off opt-in or re-subscribe mailer
  • If they do not opt-in on receipt of this once-off mailer, you would have to remove them permanently from your mailing list and system

Here is what we suggest you do right away:

With your pre- 1 July 2021 Mailing List

  • Clean your mailing list – do list hygiene and email verification to remove all invalid and inactive email addresses from your mailing list
  • Check which recipients have not opened or read any of your mailers for the last 6 or 12 months and either remove them from your list, or send them a once-off opt-in or re-subscribe mailer
  • Ultimately you want your marketing budget to work for you, and it makes no sense spending money on mailers to recipients who do not want to hear from you

To grow your mailing list organically and compliantly going forward

  • Besides making sure that you provide people with an option to join your mailing list wherever and whenever you engage with them (web, email, social media, etc), there is one thing that you simply HAVE TO DO: ACTIVATE AUTOMATED LIST BUILDING for your business.
  • Automated List building is exactly what it says, it is a system which allows you to grow your list effortlessly and automatically
  • So how does this work?
  • Our system will recognise all unique recipients (those with whom you have not yet been in contact before) and add the recipients’ email details to your prospective mailing list subscribers
  • These recipients will receive a follow-up email from you, explaining that you have been in email contact with them and are inviting them to opt-in and join your mailing list
  • If they subscribe, they will be automatically added to your list
  • If they do not subscribe, they will not be added to the list and will not receive another opt-in request
  • As this opt-in is not a promotional mailer, nor your first communication with the recipients, it adheres to the following POPIA regulations
  • You can only request someone who you are already in contact with to opt into your mailing list
  • Once the request has been sent and not responded to, you cannot ask them again or send mailers

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Fax: + 27 86 637 5682


National Partner:
National Small Business Chamber of South Africa

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