• Emily Malone

Why the GDPR is the best thing to happen to your email marketing

The… uh… ‘ambiguous’ language of The GDPR has summoned a bit of panic and paranoia in email marketing, hasn’t it? Which isn’t surprising, really. I mean, have you read the legislation? Anyone without a background in law would struggle to make sense of it. It’s made marketing teams all over vision themselves shouting into a post-apocalyptic-GDPR wasteland, emptied of all newsletter subscribers and joy. But it’s really not directed at stopping you from marketing, but simply to stop companies from storing unnecessary data for illegitimate purposes. In fact, The GDPR is about to help you really step up your email marketing game. Here’s why.

Cleaner databases

The GDPR has given us the chance to clean up our databases and make sure we’re sending our emails to people who have explicitly expressed an interest in them. This means your email list will be full of people who have opted in or re-opted in recently, instead of old contacts who perhaps no longer engage with your emails. It’s the excuse for a data-Spring-clean that we didn’t particularly want, but we definitely all needed.

Better email marketing statistics

Emailing to those who actually want to hear from you means better engagement, which means your email marketing statistics will make you (and your boss) much, much happier. The better the data surrounding your email marketing efforts, the easier it will be to see what works and what doesn’t for your target audience. And that leads to you creating better-quality emails.

In fact, we’ve just sent our first post-GDPR newsletter out to our new list of subscribers and have so far got a lovely 48.1% open rate, with a 29% click rate — that’s a crazy amount of engagement compared to our previous newsletters, and much higher than the industry average.

Email with confidence

Every marketer knows that sending out emails to big lists of people is… well, really quite scary to be honest. You want your subscribers to want to hear from you. You want to make sure that you’re engaging with the people who want to hear from you, in a way that respects their privacy. And if your emails are irrelevant to the reader, don’t provide them with any value, or aren’t engaging enough, then they’re just going to be seen as a nuisance. If you don’t get it right, it’s bad news for your business — which is a lot of responsibility for you.

It’s about processing personal data in a secure, transparent way, that’s in the legitimate interests of the data subject. This means you definitely need a positive opt-in from them for your email marketing. Why would you want to trick someone into subscribing to your email list if they don’t want to receive them, anyway? It certainly won’t improve your marketing statistics. If they weren’t interested before, they won’t suddenly change their mind because you’ve invaded their inbox with your unwanted marketing email. Making sure that the people in your email lists have consented helps you feel confident that you’re emailing the right people with the right content.

Tips for email marketing in a post-GDPR world

The GDPR is all about giving our contacts the ongoing choice and control about how we use their data. Here’s what that means for your email marketing:

  1. Never try to trick people into subscribing I mean, there’s no point in wasting emails on people who aren’t going to be engaged, is there?

  2. Never collect data you don’t legitimately need For example, if you’re sending them a monthly newsletter, all you could possibly need is a name and an email address.

  3. Make your email content and subject lines as engaging and personalised as possible It’s your job to show people why they would want to hear from you. You need to build trust and truly provide value to your recipients.

  4. Make it as easy for subscribers to opt-out of your mailing list It needs to be clear that they have total control over the data you hold on them, and how easy it is for them to remove consent.

Turns out you don’t need to be a lawyer to understand how to be a successful email marketer in a post-GDPR world. You just need to get people to engage with your emails, and make sure you’re doing it in a way that’s respectful to your audience’s privacy.

See? Everything’s going to be just fine.