The date of application of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is approaching. The Regulation affects all businesses and their actions in Digital Marketing and therefore everyone who is involved in Email Marketing. Today we answer the most frequently asked questions about the new regulation and what to do to be ready!
What is GDPR and what its purpose?
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation, General Regulation on Personal Data) is the European regulation that establishes and harmonises the use of personal data in all EU countries. The Regulation gives new and many rights to everyone to know and control, how they process and manage their personal data. At the same time, it has a number of regulations and obligations for companies that manage personal data. In these next to, e.g. in names, addresses, and phone numbers email .
When will it apply?
The new regulation has been passed in 2016 is in place on 25 May 2018 , which means that by then you will have to comply with its requirements.
Why do I have to comply with the Rules?
Compliance with the requirements of the Regulation is mandatory. Not just to be legitimate and use the best and most modern corporate practices. But also to have Transparency and Trust Relations with your subscribers . Failure to comply may result in irreparable damage to the reputation and credibility of your company, as well as dirty fines in the event of a complaint.
What changes to Email Marketing with GDPR?
Not many. Besides, most articles of the Rules have already been added to Greek law, or they are going to be soon to be added . On the other hand, the Regulation places new and rigorous transparency rules on both communication with your subscribers and the use and storage of their personal data .
1. Get user/subscriber consent
As we have highlight in the past , sending email to people who have not given their consent in advance is illegal. The same applies to the new Regulation, which furthermore requires that this consent must be made actively by the user .
What does this mean?
It means that if the current way of obtaining email addresses and consent from users does not meet the GDPR requirements, then it needs to be changed. For example, routine practice on web pages is on registration and sign-up forms, or in the course of a purchase, there are populated fields for subscribing to a newsletter mailing list. Under the Rules of Procedure, this is no longer permissible. The user should actively tease the fields, where he/she agrees to subscribe to the list and therefore receive your newsletter.
Also, it must be emphasized that user consent only concerns the format of the email he has agreed to receive , e.g. a newsletter. For sending any other email that does not belong to the consent, e.g. contact for a targeted bid, you must re-consent to the specific email.
2. File retention and obligation to demonstrate user consent by the sender
An important parameter introduced by the Regulation is that you are required not only to have received the user’s explicit consent but also to be able to prove it if you check for it . This means you should keep a record of how and when each user has consented to receiving email from you.
3. Right to Use Personal Data
You are required to use your subscriber’s personal data solely for the purpose that has been collected and your subscribers have knowledge of it. Also be provided in electronic form if requested.
4. Right to delete the user from your list and from your file
Your subscribers must have the option of deleting from your list and from your database , e.g. by adding a delete link to your email or direct user contact, as well as the right to know how you manage your personal information and email address.
I already have a list or lists with email addresses. How do I get the consent of my subscribers?
To be compliant with the new rules, you should be able to prove your subscribers’ consent to receiving email from you . If you can not do this, for example, you have not kept a file or the method of subscribing to your lists you did not allow the user to explicitly consent, you should ask for it again.
The easiest way to do this is to create a campaign and send a special email to all your subscribers. This will let them know that you need their consent to send your email to them, and by using links you will be able to either confirm that they continue to receive your email or be deleted from your list .
We at EmailSYSTEM have already provided for this, and we have prepared a template for all customers and users of our service who can use via the platform us and you can see the picture below.
By sending this email, you explain why you need the re-consent of your subscribers and urge them to exercise their rights under the new regulation, either to confirm your communication with you or to discontinue it. The link leads to a landing page where it is confirmed that you have been registered or deleted from your email list.
An effective way to give your subscribers a positive incentive to confirm and stay on your list is to reward them for the trust they show you and accompany their consent with an offer , for example. . with a discount for their next purchase, a free benefit or extra exclusive privileges for them.
I have sent email, but I have not received a consent or a deletion request from my list subscribers. What can I do?
If you have done the above steps but someone or some of your subscribers have not reacted for a variety of reasons, e.g. they have not read it, it’s a good idea to resend your email to them .
Always keep in mind that the closing date is May 24th . If you have not received their consent before, you must delete them from your list.
Are I at risk of losing subscribers and customers? Should I Stop Email Marketing?
The risk of losing subscribers and customers as of May 25 , GDPR’s effective date, is the same as you have had so far or will you have in the future, even if GDPR did not exist. strong>
Acquiring and retaining your subscribers and therefore your potential customers does not depend on any regulation or law, but on the effort you make to send unique email with quality content tailored to your audience’s needs and needs. Do not forget that your subscribers are interested or have already shown your preference for the products, services or content you offer. Therefore, the goals you have set with Email Marketing remain the same.
We know very well that there is a fear about the Regulation and its impact on Email Marketing and that second thoughts about its usefulness under the new circumstances are expressed. This confusion causes further GDPR articles on the Greek web, which are simply copied from foreign websites and aimed at foreign markets.
We, as Email Marketing specialists in Greece and 10 years of experience , are trying to offer you the best and most effective email marketing practices for the Greek market, but also to explain it simply and comprehensibly the legal framework governing it. For these reasons, we strongly emphasize that there is no reason for panic or hasty decisions.
Email is and will remain not only the most effective way to increase a company’s clientele, sales and profits, but also the best way to communicate and build trust relationships with your existing and potential customers. new Regulation is a further step in this direction. So if you stop bulk emailing, then you lose an important channel of sales and communication with potential customers that you “donate” to your competitors.
Yes, GDPR brings new challenges to all email marketing professionals. But it also gives them an opportunity to renew their relationship with their existing subscribers/clients and build solid bases for new entrants .
Applying both the legal framework and the best practices of Email Marketing, only benefits can have for you and your business both in the present and in the future.
Finally, with regard to our company, and in particular the EmailSYSTEM platform, we inform you that we have been in compliance for some time now , working with a team of lawyers, business consultants and specialized computer engineers. The need to comply with the European Regulation will speed up the operation of our new, upgraded platform. The new EmailSYSTEM will meet new needs as they arise from modern eMailMarketing. The next article will provide a more extensive overview of the new features and powerful features of the platform!
Dimitris Kroggos is SEA consultant, certified Google AdWords Expert.