GDPR: the end to email marketing…
…As we know it!
I’ve been tinkering around sending this email for a few weeks now, there’s so much noise out there about GDPR I didn’t want to swamp your inbox with yet more dull, compliance related GDPR drudgery.
Which is exactly why I had to send this email!
No doubt every other email you’re seeing right now has something to do with GDPR in it.
Whether it’s a call for action, click here if you want to keep hearing from us style cry for love. Or no end of advice on all the wild and complex stuff you ‘need’ to implement ahead of that big day.
There’s no denying GDPR has got people thinking. And not all of it positive. Which is a shame because I’m seeing this as a brilliant opportunity to re-engage with the people who want to hear from you.
To reconnect and recommit with the people on your ‘list’ and the people whos ‘lists’ you’re on.
And possibly to stop calling them lists altogether!
Because honestly it’s not about the size. It’s not the number on your list. It’s the people. Behind every number in your email system is a person and beyond all the legal speak and technical terms, GDPR is helping remind us all of that.
Whether you’re in the EU or not.
This applies to you.
And not just because of your legal obligations.
Now before I go on, full disclaimer, I am NOT a legal person. I have no legal training, and nothing I say in this email should be taken as, or is remotely intended as legal advice. But you knew that already! I’m just your regular small town gal building her online empire from the comfort of her sun-lit home office, and you’ll never find me wearing anything that resembles a suit!
The thing I am loving most about the impending doom of GDPR day is the big slap-in-the-face reminder that you’re not blasting out emails to lists, you’re sharing a message with people who want to hear it.
And that’s the biggie here. WANT.
GDPR is helping you make sure the people you are communicating with are people who WANT to hear from you.
Which can only be a positive thing.
I know I only want you receiving emails from me if you genuinely want to hear from me. If you don’t then that’s ok, there are no hard feelings, we’re not all going to love hearing from everyone and there’s nothing to fear in the unsubscribe world.
In fact, clicking unsubscribe is a positive thing to do, if you’re honestly not interested in the message you are receiving from someone, if you don’t find yourself wanting to open their emails or see any value in them, then unsubscribe. It’ll free you up for finding the information in a way that does connect with you, and it’ll help the person who was emailing you make sure that they are only emailing people who really WANT to hear from them.
GDPR is your permission to unsubscribe without guilt.
If you ever needed a reason or a deadline then GDPR is the one. Spring clean your email system. The ones you’re receiving and the ones your sending.
Hit unsubscribe on all those unopened emails!
And if you’ve got an email list that you are guilty of neglecting and you’re getting a little confused over what you need to do with GDPR, here’s my simple summary and top actions to take in this GDPR countdown week…
EMAIL THE PEOPLE ON YOUR LIST
With only a week to go till the GDPR deadline if you’ve got people on your email list that you’re not entirely sure meet the GDPR rules, plan a few emails over the next few weeks. Say hi, share value, open some discussions, start treating your email list like you would if you were in a room full of people who had come to see you. Because that’s what these people have done, they decided at some point that they wanted to hear from you, perhaps you’ve been guilty of welcoming them into your home, fixing them a drink, then disappearing, leaving them alone and not investing your time in continuing the conversation. I know I’ve done that. But this year I started the year with a promise to myself to show up and share value, to treat my email as a place for proper conversations.
Start communicating with the people who have given you their email. Share what you know, share value, write emails that people WANT to receive.
That’s the first thing you should be doing, not just for GDPR but for you, for your business. Send emails that people want to receive.
++++ ACTION ++++
Write a mini series of emails, say 4 or 5 emails about the 4 or 5 main themes you help people with in your business. Write them as conversation starters, include a little story telling in there that connects with you as the business owner and introduce some of your brand values, how you help people and why.
Make it super clear, be honest & transparent with what you’re doing with the information people give you.
And yes I have updated mine using Suzanne’s Legal Pack. Take a peek here: https://bydeesign.co.uk/privacy/
When you ask for people’s information online through your well crafted opt-in offers make sure you clearly show EXACTLY what people are opting in for. For bonus GDPR compliance include a tick box, NOT pre-ticked, that states what you’re going to do with this email. If you’re going to send a freebie download and then follow up with an email series that includes an offer in it, say that! If by downloading your super freebie you’re also adding them to your main subscribers’ list for weekly value emails and related offers on your products and services – SAY THAT.
Here’s one of my GDPR updated opt-ins… can you spot the difference?…
See, how this is making all our lives better already.
Being super open with how you are using people’s information is good for us all. I know that when I opt-in for a freebie I’m going to get some follow up and sales related messages, that’s just the nature of online business when you come at it from a marketing perspective it’s kinda obvious, I’d be more concerned if I opted in and then got nothing following up! But you can’t just assume people get this. GDPR is helping us all become a little more transparent when it comes to business.
++++ ACTION ++++
SPRING CLEAN YOUR EMAIL LIST
Whatever system you are using, spend a half hour on a spring clean. Search for emails that are broken, not working, the ones that have never opened an email from you for whatever reason. And remove them. Hit delete. If these people have never opened an email from you in over 6 months of being on your list then why would you want to keep emailing them!
And while you’re at it permanently delete people who have unsubscribed.
Most email systems keep people on your list as ‘unsubscribed’ which can have its uses. But for me I prefer to fully remove these people. And that’s a good move when it comes to GDPR. You’re permanently deleting their information.
++++ ACTION ++++
Do a manual clean-up of your own emails. Delete people who are inactive, have unsubscribed, or you think might be in there from not so legit methods – no judging here, just delete and move on.
And finally, before the 25th of this month. GDPR deadline date!
GIVE YOUR SUBSCRIBERS THE OPTION TO STAY OR GO
There are plenty of ways you could do this, a simple click yes or no in an email to stay or go could work for you, or a series of emails that require action to keep receiving them, a mini-course or pdf download with a tick box that states the necessary GDPR information, or send out an updated version of what they have already opted in for with a link to a fresh GDPR compliant opt-in page – you’re offering updated value for a refreshed consent to stay in contact via email.
You don’t have to do this. If you’re certain your list is GDPR compliant already, you know everyone opted in direct from your opt-in forms without any dodgy scraping of emails from other places, no transferring of email lists from other places, no bought data, anything that wasn’t a direct sign up from your opt-in forms. Then you don’t have to do the ‘refreshed consent’ option.
BUT… and this is just my personal opinion, why not do it? I love a fresh start, I have been known to delete vast numbers from my email list and start afresh many times. Giving people the option to re-consent seems like a brilliant way to make sure you’re contacting the people that WANT to hear from you.
So I say do it. In whatever way works best for you. Reach out to your email list with some valuable content, engage with them, invite them to continue the conversation with you in their inboxes, and offer new valuable content that requires a refresh of consent – either through your new GDPR compliant opt-in forms or a YES/NO style button click in your emails.
++++ ACTION ++++
Send you new GDPR compliant opt-ins to your email list before 25th May and invite people to continue hearing from you. YOU DONT HAVE TO GO FULL GDPR ON THEM – as in, you do not need to send an email saying because of GDPR I need you to reconfirm! That’s dull, and a bit lazy. Send something in your brand style, something of high value and something that people will WANT to recommit to.
That’s it. My basic, non-legal, take on how to start seeing GDPR as a positive tool to build your brand online.
To start more conversations & build a community of people who WANT to hear from you.
Now I’d love to hear from you, what have you been doing with GDPR in your business? Are you’re still hiding from it, confused by it, hoping it’ll disappear like some bad dream… or are you embracing it as a fresh start for your marketing, as a way to connect with more of the right people for more of the right reasons?
Leave a comment and let me know how you’re attacking this and if there’s anything I can help you with while we all navigate this new legislation then I’m always happy to share the good and the bad of this thing called business.