As if you didn’t already know, the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into effect from 25th May 2018. Chances are you’ve already had hundreds of emails enter your inbox asking you to update your marketing preferences or re-opt in to communications, and you’re probably fed up of hearing about it, but how does GDPR affect your email marketing strategy moving forward?

What are the changes?

bigstock-Business-Related-Email-Concept-4953271 Email Marketing in an age of GDPR

For starters, it obviously has an impact on how you collect and store new data such as email addresses. Under the new regulations, consent to contact must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous” in order to be compliant. This means that your audience must tick a box to say they WOULD like to receive contact from you, and NOT that they wouldn’t like to hear from you. This box must be unticked in the first instance, as pre-ticked boxes which assume consent aren’t valid under the new rules.

GDPR also means that customers have to “double opt-in” to marketing communications. Essentially, when they sign up to a newsletter for example, they will then need to be served with another email asking them to confirm that they wanted to sign up to that content.

GDPR also has an effect on your existing data. If you can’t prove that your collected the data by GDPR compliant methods, then you’re going to have to get them to consent, and this means providing them with the option to update their preferences or unsubscribe. Any data you previously held which is not compliant will have to be destroyed. It’s worth noting as well that for both new and existing data, the updating of preferences or opting in must be ‘unbundled’. In the most simple terms, your request for consent must be absolutely crystal clear, which means you need to keep it separate from any other terms and conditions or other content which could distract from it.

What it means for email marketing:

Although it may be causing a few headaches, that’s putting it mildly, GDPR is actually likely to have a positive effect on your email marketing strategy and its effectiveness.
The benefit of your audience having to double opt-in, reopt-in or update their preferences is that you’re really going to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of who really wants to hear from you. The people who want to receive updates from you are more likely to engage with the content you send them, as they have a genuine interest in your brand, products or services, whereas those who don’t update their preferences or choose to unsubscribe probably weren’t too interested in the first place.

This should mean that you see considerably higher open-rates, click-through rates and in some cases, high conversion rates. Providing your audience with content they really want or even need is only going to enhance your brand’s reputation, and have a positive effect on business.

So, with that in mind, it would seem that it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to GDPR, despite the seemingly endless emails from brands and sleepless nights for marketers. As long as you’re compliant by the 25th May, you’ll be absolutely fine!