Is the GDPR a Death Sentence for Email Marketing?

April 19, 2018

Is the GDPR a Death Sentence for Email Marketing?

In our last blog post, we talked about the general implications the GDPR will have for marketers, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t dive into the specifics when it comes to email marketing. This is by no means the end of your email marketing efforts, and taking the right steps now (if you haven’t already) will ensure continued success and maintained compliance.

It’s important to remember that the GDPR is not a death sentence to email marketing, rather it should be considered a positive influence data privacy around each the data marketers collect and the campaigns in which this data is used. Subscribers, or Data Subjects, will look at your company in a more positive light because of transparency, which often translates into brand trust, and gives subscribers a sense of empowerment of their own data. Further, implementing GDPR practices will inevitably clean up your mailing list and disqualify anyone who is no longer interested in your services or products. We’ve put together four ways to button up your email marketing efforts ahead of May 25th – read on and reap the benefits!

1. Clean House

It is important to know exactly where your contacts are located when you are auditing your current database, and eliminate any inactive subscribers – especially those in EU countries. The next step is to send an email to the rest of your subscribers, asking for their consent to be enrolled in a mailing list.

If there is no response, consider that equivalent to no consent and remove them from your mailing list. If they do provide consent, be sure to keep a close record and send a confirmation email. This will keep you covered in the event of an audit or investigation.

2. Be Organized

You should be keeping a full list of all the emails you collect, as well as a clear process of consent. There must be enough information on both permission and source to provide substantial evidence should your processes be audited or challenged. The extra steps may seem tedious at first, but they will keep you from any trouble down the road.

3. Say “No” to Lists and Misleading Language

Once you streamline the process for your existing subscribers, you should assess and put into place how you handle new subscribers. Use the same transparency and record-keeping across the board, detailing how data is collected, stored, transferred and processed. You need to be completely clear about the purpose of the data collection upon obtaining consent, and understand that “blanket” consent is unacceptable. For example, if someone consents to using their data for a blog subscription, you cannot then email them marketing material related to promotional products or services. It is also important to remember that you should never, under any circumstances, be buying lists or using vague language to gather email addresses.

4. Make Unsubscribing Easy

Unsubscribe links should be a part of every single email you send out – and they should be completely visible. This unsubscribe link or opt-out should allow the person to unsubscribe to that specific type of marketing conversation as well as any or all of your communications.

When May 25th comes around, you and your email marketing campaigns will be prepared – as long as you follow the four tips outlined above!