This chapter is an extract from LegalVision’s Online Business Manual. Download the full guide here.

Website Content

Creating content for your target audience — whether it’s a blog post, video on Facebook Live or photo on Instagram — can help search engines discover your website and ultimately, generate interest in and sales for your business. When producing content for your website, it is important to keep in mind copyright law and draft a website terms of use to ensure you protect your website and focus on marketing compliance.

Copyright

Copyright is an automatic right in Australia and attaches to the material immediately after it is created. Unlike in the United States, you do not need to register the copyrighted work. At the idea stage, there is no copyright; it is only once the idea is expressed in some sort of creative or artistic work that copyright applies.

As the content creator, the onus is on you to actively protect and enforce your right. If you find someone else is using your material, and they question the ownership of that material, it’s useful to keep a record of the process you undertook
when creating the content. A copyright notice can help you clearly communicate your copyright ownership to others. Place copyright notices on any of your material, including your website.

Website Terms of Use

Another way to protect your content online is to have a website terms of use. This legal document sets out the permissible and prohibited conduct in the use of the website. A well-drafted website terms of use document will include clauses to protect copyrighted material, website content and Intellectual Property rights. It will tell visitors who owns the copyright material and what they can do with content or information. It also limits your liability for the information it contains, through disclaimers.

What’s the Difference Between a Website Terms of Use and Business Terms and Conditions?

These two documents can sound similar but they apply to different people and serve a different purpose.

A website terms of use tells those who visit your website, whether it is a customer with the intention of making a purchase or a competitor looking into what products you sell, how they are allowed to interact with your site.

This legal document is unlike business terms and conditions, whose application is limited to customers. Your online business needs both legal documents.

Privacy Policy

Online businesses can now easily promote their products and services to their target markets through digital marketing, including blog posts, social media and online reviews.

If your website collects personal information, such as email addresses and contact details from newsletters or loyalty programs, you will likely be required to have a privacy policy. Your privacy policy states what personal information you collect, and how your business will deal with the personal information it collects.

There are various laws that regulate different sized businesses and what size you need to be before you’re required to provide a privacy policy to visitors and users. However, it’s easier just to draft one from the start — they are rarely complicated and should not be costly.

Online Marketing Channels

Depending on your budget and which stage of the business lifecycle you are in, the online and digital marketing channels you choose will differ. If you are starting an online business, you want to focus on the channels that will bring the best return on investment (ROI) from your advertising spend. To determine this ROI, you will first need to consider the most important goals for your business.

Common business goals for digital marketing include:

  • increasing sales revenue
  • generating more leads
  • increasing website traffic
  • improving lead quality
  • improving brand awareness

Once you determine your most important goals, concentrate on specific channels that will most effectively generate returns and achieve these goals.

Common online marketing channels include:

  • Website and Conversion Rate Optimisation: Improving the path from a customer visiting your website to purchasing your product or service.
  • Email: Collecting email addresses from potential customers and marketing to them via email.
  • Social Media: Leveraging social media platforms to earn visibility and traffic
  • Organic Search and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): ‘Optimising’ online content to earn more quality and higher-volume traffic in organic (or free) search results of major search engines. Organic search results appear below paid advertisements on the results page.
  • Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Paying a publisher or search engine to list a sponsored advertisement promoting your product or service. The amount of you pay is determined by the competitiveness of the keyword you bid on.
  • Display Ads: Placing ads on third-party websites to create brand awareness and generate traffic.
  • Online Public Relations: Generating media from online outlets to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your website.

Marketing Compliance

Direct Marketing

Email marketing campaigns can help your business engage with customers about special offers and receive real-time feedback about your product or service. But you should make sure that you comply with your obligations under the Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act) when crafting your campaign. The Spam Act protects customers from receiving unsolicited electronic marketing, including emails and SMS messages, that advertise the sale of goods or services.

Compliance Checklist

To comply with the Spam Act, business owners must answer yes to three questions:

  • Have I obtained the recipient’s consent?
  • Have I identified my business and how customers can get in contact?
  • Have I included an unsubscribe function in all my communications?

A prominent unsubscribe function is important not only to comply with legal obligations but also to maintain trust in your brand (no-one likes an inbox overflowing with irrelevant offers!).

Consent

Consent can be either:

  • inferred (e.g. from the customer’s behaviour and actions or the relationship between the sender and the customer); or
  • express (e.g. through a tick box, or customers completing an online form, or otherwise consenting to online terms such as a Privacy Policy, which includes that the person consents to their personal information being used for electronic marketing).

Quick Tip
The Australian Communications and Media Authority recommends managing a subscriber list through a double opt-in process:

  • the customer signs up to an email marketing list; and
  • the retailer sends the customer a confirmation email, including a link they can click to confirm they consent to receive emails.

Doing so will help you prove that a customer’s request to receive marketing material came from their email address..

Cookies

Many online retailers collect information through online cookies (for instance, the number of times an individual visited a webpage). Cookies help retailers customise a visitor’s experience, particularly at checkout. If a customer abandons their cart for whatever reason, cookies make it possible to retrieve their selection next time that customer is on the page.

If the cookies on your website collect personal information, you may have obligations under the Privacy Act. Information like how many times a user visited your page will not be personal information under the Privacy Act unless you can reasonably identify the individual. It is best practice for online retailers to state in their privacy policy that they use cookies to collect information, for transparency with the users of their site.

If you have any questions about your business website, you can contact LegalVision’s online business lawyers by calling 1300 544 755 or filling out the form on this page.

onlinebusiness_coverThis chapter is an extract from LegalVision’s Online Business Manual. Download the free 53-page manual which includes all chapters and features case studies from NAB, Deliveroo, Airtasker and HubSpot.

This manual covers all the essential topics you need to know about starting your online business, including setting up your online business, protecting your brand, growing your team and scaling your business.

Ursula Hogben
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