GDPR is here, the new legislation brought into effect on the 25th of May 2018, which will affect any business or organisation that uses and hold personal data about an EU citizen. So if your business conducts any form of email marketing or personal data collection, this legislation applies to you! The main concern for marketers is that consumers will have opted out of email lists, or the legislation means that they have had to remove individuals if the business did not have GDPR-compliant permission at the time of collection. Anyone who has gone through a data cleansing exercise over the last few weeks may be feeling rightly despondent about the reduced size of their lists!

However, the new GDPR laws could actually prove to be a competitive advantage for businesses, especially if the email strategy is well planned and executed.

So, here are our 5 top tips for nailing your email marketing with the new GDPR legislation.

1. Get granular and super-targeted

One of the benefits of the new smaller lists should be increased engagement and deliverability rates, as emails are only sent to your most interested prospects or customers. Hyper-targeting can be a great way to connect with consumers and make your business seem more ‘human’. You can segment your new email list into age, gender, geographic location or behavioural segments, then simply start conversations. Ask what they want to see or why they subscribed/re-subscribed to marketing emails. Another way to segment customers is by using customer personas. Group customers together based on attributes and their actions. This could lead to your business being able to send very specifically targeted emails, as you have an idea of your customer base, and see the benefits of these interactions with a more engaged audience.

2. Promote new products or services (upsell)

Amazon Post-Purchase Email

Amazon customers receive post-purchase emails recommending similar items to their recent order

So long as you have the required permissions, you should be able to contact your list with new product or service launches under GDPR, for example, if the new product or service is similar or complimentary to a previous purchase.

Personalisation is still key! You could be able to recommend similar current items or items they may like, based on their previous purchasing activity. Offering bespoke recommendations to consumers could offer you a competitive advantage against other businesses in the same industry.

3. Building consumer trust

This is vital for customers engaging and subscribing to your marketing emails in the first place. You have to make sure that your customers are bought into your brand and will be comfortable with giving their personal details. Building trust in your brand can be a lengthy and ongoing process, but once a potential customer reaches the point of consent you need to ensure that they can see how their information will be processed, as well as the benefits of them sharing their details. This can be done by making sure that your documents, such as privacy policy and consent forms are clear, detailing what personal information you are holding and why.

All 4 Account Registration

When signing up to an All 4 account with Channel 4, there is a link to ‘Our Viewers Promise’ and details how they use your information with a video 

One of the main issues and concerns for businesses with the new GDPR laws is consent. Businesses legally have to have a good reason for holding onto individuals’ data, something called ‘legitimate interest’. But the key attribute a business should have is accountability; a responsibility and to be answerable if something goes wrong. Building trust through transparency and being thorough could prove to be a competitive advantage for businesses post-GDPR.

4. Incentivisation and rewards

ASOS Email Marketing GDPR

ASOS sent GDPR emails which detailed what the customer would receive as soon as they opted in

Continuing with the theme of re-engagement, optimising emails with offers and deals that are only available to people who opt in is a really good way to keep customers engaged, or to opt-back in if they haven’t already. This allows you to bring back the element of exclusivity to those who are subscribed to your email lists, and reward them with thank you’s for doing so, on an ongoing basis. Such rewards needn’t just be financial discounts, but for example early access to special offers, new product launches or other VIP privileges.

5. Learning from mistakes

As always, keep testing and trying new and different things. Find what works and what doesn’t and ask for feedback from customers. Check the results of your new email campaigns carefully and make adjustments where necessary. The legislation is new to all of us, so explore what you can and cannot do. It’s just finding the right way to make it work for you and your business.

Email marketing post-GDPR can seem daunting, with the main issues regarding list size, consent and legitimate interest. But if done well, it is possible to turn things around and provide a competitive advantage for your business, especially if you are accountable for your actions.

If you aren’t yet up to speed on the new regulations, we recommend reviewing the ICO website for full details on the GDPR legislation; the role of organisations and rights of individuals around the collection and use of personal data.

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