If your business implements email marketing, it is non-negotiable that it meets GDPR requirements, either in-house or via a GDPR representative. Simply put, you must ensure that you obtain consent from your email database before contacting any customers via email marketing.
Don’t worry. There are a couple of steps you can take to ensure your business is not hit with any GDPR fines. Once you implement these steps, you will find it much easier to comply and not get penalized.
This article will show you how to optimize your email marketing to meet GDPR regulations.
Let’s dive straight in!
Optimizing your Email Marketing to Meet GDPR Requirements
It is essential to any business that email marketing programs are up and running as quickly as possible. Email marketing is an excellent tool for converting leads, winning back customers, and maintaining or building customer loyalty.
Let’s look at the five steps you can take to ensure your email marketing is compliant and up to scratch.
Enquire with Your Email Marketing Service
The first thing to do is to get on the phone with your current email marketing platform. Any professional platform should have specific tools on hand that you can use to help you get GDPR compliant. After the introduction of GDPR, many email marking platforms produced useful guides and instructions specific to their software.
One great example is MailChimp, which offers a GDPR consent collection form, which will help you with their software.
If you contact your email marketing provider and they cannot support you with GDPR compliance, now might be the time to change.
Get Consent from Your Customers
An essential element of GDPR is that you cannot contact anyone with marketing information or store data if you have not received consent. That includes information such as email addresses or phone numbers.
To get that consent, you must be sure it is freely given, not forced, or provided under false pretenses.
If you have emails within your database that got added and you are unsure if you got permission from the owner, now is a good time to send an email asking for their consent to stay on your email list. This email also provides proof that you asked for consent for data collection.
Include a Clear Opt-Out in Your Email Footers
As well as making your opt-in as clear and concise as possible, GDPR also requires you to offer users a clear option to withdraw consent.
For email marketing, this opt-out option can be as simple as an unsubscribe button or hyperlink in the footer of each email you send.
Some email marketing services allow you to customize this customer journey, to try and deter any unsubscribers.
Some even offer you the chance to tweak the unsubscribe page, so you encourage your customers to stay opted in for great deals and important updates about your business.
Review Your Data Retention Practices
The fourth step you need to take is in regard to storing customer data, a key component of the GDPR legislation. This legislation requires you to store any retained data such as email addresses in a secure location and never hold it longer than necessary.
The ICO has provided a guide for you to follow in regard to data retention and GDPR. If you run a large business, you might be required to develop a data retention policy, but even small businesses must follow the checklist outlined by the ICO.
Utilize an Outsourced DPO or GDPR Representative
Finally, one way to ensure your company is completely GDPR compliant is to outsource this aspect of your company. If you are concerned that your internal skillset is not fit for meeting these requirements with confidence, or you are skeptical about hiring someone specifically for this role, there are many excellent external agencies that can support you with your GDPR needs.
Email Marketing and GDPR: Summary and Key Takeaways
Since GDPR regulations came to fruition, now more than ever, you have to be careful with how you gather and hold personal data, or you could face a hefty fine.
Even if your business does not have a UK or EU base, if your email list contains EU-based customers, you must comply.
For complete assurance that your business is GDPR compliant, using an outsourced DPO might be the best approach.
Other than that, if you stick to the following basics, you will go a long way to ensuring you are GDPR compliant:
- Enquire with Your Email Marketing Service
- Get Consent from Your Customers
- Include a Clear Opt-Out in Your Email Footers
- Review Your Data Retention Practices
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