In the world of marketing, everyone’s talking about POPIA. Or, to give it its full name, the Protection of Personal Information Act. As you – hopefully – already know, on 1 July 2021 all South African businesses will have to be POPIA compliant.

POPIA has plenty of implications for marketers, specifically relating to how you manage and protect your customers’ data in an increasingly online world. But this month’s blog will focus on an aspect of the Act which applies to all businesses, not just financial planners. Direct email marketing.

In a POPIA world, email marketing is still your friend

Affordable, effective and easy to manage, email marketing is the holy grail of marketing communication. In fact, it’s been shown to have an ROI as high as 4400% in some instances. Under POPIA, email marketing will remain an extremely important arrow in your marketing quiver. You’ll just have to be a little more careful about how you build and maintain your mailing list.

Change is always scary. But instead of throwing your arms up in despair, why not familiarise yourself with the new requirements? POPIA really isn’t rocket science.

First up, all direct marketing communications you send must contain your identity and contact details. This is hardly a big deal, as you almost certainly comply with this requirement already. It gets slightly more complicated when it comes to maintaining your email database.

For your existing clients, POPIA follows an ‘opt out’ approach. This means that your clients must be given the opportunity to say they don’t want to receive marketing emails from you. This needs to happen every time you sign on a new client and in every direct marketing communication they receive from you. This is as simple as adding an unsubscribe button to your email template – if you haven’t already done so.

For potential customers the rules are a bit more onerous, as POPIA requires an ‘opt in’ approach. In other words, you need to ask permission before you add a non-client to your database. POPIA further stipulates that you can only ask for a recipient’s permission ONCE and ONCE ONLY.A great way around this is to include a ‘Sign up for our newsletter’ pop-up on your website.

Putting the shoe on the other foot

Whatever you do, don’t lose sight of the fact that POPIA is actually a fantastic development for all South Africans. Not only will it greatly advance our legal recourse to personal privacy, but it’ll also drastically reduce the amount of marketing spam we all receive.

And if you’re even remotely worried about continuing your direct marketing efforts under POPIA please do reach out to us at FinCommunications. We have been readying ourselves for life under POPIA for over a year, and will gladly help you to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.