E-mail permissions

Email permissions are important when using email marketing, both legally but also for your brand. When you receive a letter in the post, you're much more likely to open it if it comes from someone you know, rather than a company you've never heard of. The same goes for emails.


What are e-mail permissions?

E-mail permissions are very important no matter what type of business you have. Sending an email to someone who has not agreed to receive emails from you can damage your brand reputation and prevent future emails from reaching your customers' inboxes. Therefore, email permission is not only a necessity, but also something you should take seriously if you want your emails to reach your customers' inboxes rather than their spam folders.

In email marketing, having permission means that the recipient has given you explicit and informed consent to send messages to them. Consent can be collected in a number of ways, such as:

  • A new user ticks a box in your sign-up flow indicating that they want to receive emails from you.
  • A customer enters their email address in a form to receive updates and offers from you.
  • An event attendee adds their email address to a list so they can receive additional information from you.

In all these scenarios, the person understands exactly what they are signing up for and knows who you are. They expect emails from you in the future, so they're likely to open them.

Sending unsolicited email is also a criminal offence in many countries - you should consult a legal expert to ensure you comply with all applicable laws and regulations if you have any doubts.

Consequences if you do not obtain email permission

Your email reputation is largely based on how recipients interact with your emails. If someone receives an email from you that they weren't expecting, their actions can negatively affect your success when sending emails in the future.

Opening rate

If you do not have permission to send email to users or a lead, your opening rate the first thing that will be affected. This also applies if the recipient does not recognise who the email is from or does not remember having signed up to receive it. A low open rate will make it harder for emails to land in your customers' inboxes in the future.

Unsubscribe rate

One of the most common reasons for a high unsubscribe rate is sending emails to people who have never consented to receive it.


Spam complaints occur when a person marks an email as "spam" or "junk". Someone may mark a message as spam if they have never agreed to receive your emails or if they no longer want to receive your messages.

Blocked emails

If you send enough email to people who didn't explicitly give you permission, various databases are likely to list your domain as malicious. This will cause your emails to be blocked before they ever reach the recipient and will damage your reputation.


Martino Mike d'Apuzzo

Partner & Senior Digital Advisor

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