It’s been almost six months since the May 25, 2018 deadline of strict compliance with the dictate of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) . Prior to the deadline, businesses in their thousands who are directly or indirectly affected by GDPR have put in place mechanisms to ensure that they are found in the right side of the law. It’s quite a lot of hassle especially when months turned to days and most businesses are yet to fully comply, but that’s a story for another day. News of lawsuits against big corporations such as Google, Facebook, Whatsapp and others might have dominated the airwaves but the most affected people are email marketers. Other digital marketers who have been impacted include: marketing automation specialists, and public relations executives.
Before forging ahead, it is important to consider the build up to the May 25, 2018 deadline. Thousands of businesses all over the globe adopted the appropriate steps to GDPR compliance despite having less than 24 months’ notice. The European Union provided every business and person ample time to get their acts together. Unfortunately, 40% of businesses could not meet the May 25th deadline, according to a study by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. This occurs against the backdrop of many EU states claiming a lack of resources to ensure compliance with GDPR.
The concern of this article is to look into what has happened since May 25, 2018. Basically, a quick look into how it has affected email marketing and how you should continue as an email marketer.
What’s The Challenge?
Let’s start by stating that it’s not only email marketing that is affected by GDPR but every other marketing related activity. However, it is currently having a major impact on how email marketing is being carried out. Easing out the areas of challenge is the first step to knowing how to overcome them.
1. Consenting and Double Opt-In
Ask any email marketer since May 25th 2018, their most challenging issue has been getting user consent. You cannot just send emails to anyone you want anymore. All recipients must fully agree to receive your emails even if they offer a once in a lifetime opportunity.
It is important as an email marketer that you provide an option for the recipient to opt out of your subscription. There must be a clear method out of the subscription. Simply put, GDPR is all about making the subscribers feel they are in control, that they can opt out of the subscription when they feel like. GDPR abhors using any form of trickery in building your email list. That’s the key factors of what consenting and double opt in is all about.
Firstly, take note of every consent provided by your subscribers. This will help you in the future if, you are required to present this information at any time to the authorities.
Scan through your email list immediately, remove all subscribers that you did not obtain through proper GDPR compliance.
Before we close this chapter on double opt-in, you should know that this is just as much a safety net for you, the email marketer. In as much that a subscriber opts-in by themselves without any coercion or dubious method, they’ve provided consent. One thing however is that you must be able to prove the provision of consent whenever you are asked.
2. Asking For Data You Don’t Need Yet or Won’t Need At All
Every email marketer has done it before. GDPR isn’t stopping you from collecting and generating leads, it’s just asking you to be cautious in how you handle personal information. You have to ensure that you are treating the data with care and precision.
GDPR frowns at requesting data for a different purpose than what you use it for later. Right from the point of acquiring the data, you must be certain of what you will do with it afterwards. Be sure you are collecting the right data for the right purpose.
Your options are quite simple and straightforward in this instance. Never ask for a data you won’t use. Why ask for a home address when you won’t be sending a package through the post office? It’s irrelevant.
Just as well, you should not be interested in their income level when you already know if they can afford what you are selling. As far as GDPR is concerned, there’s nothing reserved for safekeeping purpose. For instance, ask for phone number only if you’ll be calling or sending a text. Outside of that purpose, it’s of no use.
3. When You’re Asked To Erase Information
You’ll definitely find yourself at this juncture as an email marketer. The point where an aggrieved subscriber will require you to delete all the personal information you have about them. It will happen if it has not already happened.
In GDPR, erasure means that they no longer want to be contacted, not even by mistake. They are asking you to forget that they even exist. You are required by law to do this. Erase them and all of their data.
However, there’s a silver lining for email marketers in regards to their needs for data. Firstly, understanding the area of interest of consumers while seeking consent. Secondly, straightforward targeting of consumers via their right to be forgotten and lastly, showing that you care about the privacy of your consumers by being open. All of these can make you a better digital marketer despite the clamp down on the use of data by GDPR.