Marketing has evolved over the years and so have the rules that govern it, especially as the internet age flourishes.

Privacy is important, and marketers need to ensure they abide by laws and policies regarding data privacy and spamming. As property marketers, it’s our job to ensure data privacy and security, whether we are sending emails, setting up a website or gathering customer information.

Let’s take a look at two major policies that we must understand and adhere to:

Privacy Act 1988

Direct marketing, from telemarketing to advertising using email, SMS, or post, is covered by the Privacy Act 1988.

Businesses who wish to market directly to individuals with the intent to gather information from their customers and visitors must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP).

To put it simply, businesses are asked to provide a privacy policy that is available to those they want to receive information from (aka customers and leads). This is a brief legal notice often found in the footer of websites or emails that states the organisation’s commitment to: respect a visitor’s privacy, ensure the safety and security of their personal information, and avoid their misuse.

A privacy policy will assure customers, website visitors, and email subscribers that their information won’t be sent to a third-party or shared with anyone else without their consent.

Do you have a privacy policy on your website? If so, consult this checklist to make sure you’ve covered the crucial points:

  1. State the type of personal information that you collect and store from your leads (generally in the property industry they’ll be email address, home address, post code, telephone number etc) and the way you collect and use them.
  2. State the purpose for which you collect, hold, and use their personal information.
  3. State your commitment not to “spam,” sell, or share a visitor’s email address.
  4. State that users have the right to access and correct the information you’re holding on them, usually through the unsubscribe button on emails.
  5. State that the individual may complain about a breach of the APP and how you’ll deal with it.
  6. State whether you disclose personal information to other people or organisations and from which country they are from if overseas.
  7. State your contact details.

Spam Act 2003

Administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Spam Act of 2003 lays out the spam rules in Australia.

These rules prevent intrusion of an individual’s privacy that can cause harm or offence. Under the Spam Act, you are restricted from sending commercial electronic messages to individuals without their consent.

The spam rules are essential for property marketers to consider before they conduct any marketing effort, from email marketing to SMS advertising.

The rules also apply to the offering, providing, advertising, and soliciting of goods and services, land or an interest in land, and even investment opportunities.

Here’s a handy checklist to guide you in abiding with the spam rules:

  1. Make sure you have permission to send marketing messages to your email or contact list.
  2. Provide proper identification in any electronic messages. This includes the registered trading name and contact information.
  3. Allow individuals to opt out of your messages and withdraw their permission through unsubscribing. This must be clear, conspicuous, and easy to understand.
  4. In the event of opt-outs, you need to honour the request within five business days.
  5. Avoid, under any circumstance, the practice of harvesting email addresses and other contact details through a computer program or software that failed to acquire consent.

It is crucial that all property marketers comply with the privacy laws and spam rules that govern certain marketing activities. After all, our customers trust us to safeguard their personal information and use it sensibly.