To have a market legally to your email list should be a top priority for you and your business. One of the strongest marketing tools out there is to market to your clients with email marketing.

We all know that in today’s online world it feels like information is given out freely. This includes personal information such as emails, phone numbers, financials and so on. We as citizens of South Africa have a constitutional right to protection of our privacy. The sharing and distributing of information by companies has a massive impact in breaching this right. That is exactly why the PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT has come into play. We need to have our information protected. But likewise we also need to protect the information that our client gives to us.
On the 1st of July 2020 the bulk of THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT has come into operation. In short this Act really says the following:
1. How companies and people should process information.
2. Marketing tactics to existing clients.
3. How companies must market to new clients.
4. What information companies are allowed to have.

Which brings us to the fact that your way of dealing with the information received needs to be in line with this new piece of legislation. The way in which you market must not go against exactly what this act is trying to accomplish. Apart from a moral duty, there is also a fine of 1 – 10 million Rand or 1 – 10 years’ imprisonment on the table for non-compliance. That really means that this is serious! There is a lot to say about this Act but we are only going to be looking at your email subscriptions to make sure that it is compliant. You can download the FREE SUBSCRIPTION policy here.


1. Marketing to Existing Clients

You probably already have a email list with clients who have signed up for your marketing. This is legal to keep these clients. But you need to make sure that there is an opt-out or unsubscribe option for these clients. You are allowed to market directly to them. This includes phoning and emailing them. As long as you remove there information and stop marketing to them if they request this. This means in short that you don’t have to worry about your existing email list or contacts.

2. Marketing to New Clients

The game of direct marketing has changed and this is where you will have make sure that your legal ducks are in a row. The idea behind the Act is that companies have to obtain information in legal way. This includes being transparent about what you want to use the information for. It also means that your client MUST consent to the use of their information. You cannot have a general sign up page on your website or contracts where a client signs up for a newsletter but you then want to market products to them.

Letting the client sign up and not knowing what for is misleading. Furthermore, this means that clients who approach you for a service or product cannot be automatically added to your email list for future. You would have to get the consent of the client that you can in fact market to them in the future. I know this sounds very confusing so let’s look at it in short:

  1. Your clients must consent to what they are signing up for.
  2. You need to be specific about what the information is going to be used for.
  3. You cannot automatically add clients to your mailing list.

3. The Practical Answer to Market to New Clients

There are different ways in which you can make sure that you are complying with the Act. The easiest way is to include a clause in your contract or on your sign up page for your clients to consent to future marketing. The clause can be general and specific at the same time. (you also don’t want to scare your new clients away)

Your new client will give his information to you and know what you are going to be doing with it. Make sure that it is okay to send them newsletters, marketing, specials or the like. We have created a general clause that you can include in your sign up page.


You have a moral obligation to protect your client’s information. But also you need market legally to new clients. Lastly you can download our free subscription policy wording to add to your sign up page or include it in your contract.