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Why GDPR is Good for Email Marketers

by Jenny Henderson | Jul 30, 2018

If you send email to any entity in the European Union, or to any business or entity with E.U. subscribers, the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation applies to you. If you fail to comply with the regulations, you could face a fine of 20 million Euros, or 4 percent of your global revenue (whichever is more). So GDPR has made some marketers and website administrators a little nervous.

GDPR clocks in at 261 pages. If you don’t feel like wading through all of that, we’ve plucked out the points most relevant for marketers – and we’ve concluded GDPR isn’t really that scary. Many of its requirements can help you improve email deliverability and increase the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

GDPR Forces You to Fine-Tune Your Opt-In

GDPR was enacted to strengthen consumer data privacy and prevent misuse of data. So it requires businesses to spell-out at the opt-in stage how subscriber data will be used and how long it will be stored. You can’t collect email addresses for one reason and use them for some other purpose (that would require a new opt-in from subscribers).

[I-FRAME]: “The data subject shall have the right to withdraw his or her consent at any time. The withdrawal of consent shall not affect the lawfulness of processing based on consent before its withdrawal. Prior to giving consent, the data subject shall be informed thereof. It shall be as easy to withdraw as to give consent.”

GDPR Says ‘Show Us That Unsubscribe Button’

Have you ever wanted to unsubscribe from emails but had difficulty finding the “unsubscribe” link? That shouldn’t happen again – GDPR is making businesses clarify the unsubscribe process.

The inability to unsubscribe, or to update subscription preferences, has historically been a reason subscribers either flag emails as spam, or set up filters that send messages to the trash can. GDPR doesn’t require businesses to create a detailed email preference center, but it’s worth the effort to do so. Give your subscribers more control over the types of messages they receive and the timing of those messages, and you are bound to increase deliverability and engagement.

GDPR Makes Diligent Email List Curation a Priority

Here’s an annoying thing that’s probably happened to everyone: You unsubscribe from emails, but they keep arriving in your inbox. That’s a hallmark of poor email list management.

Article 17 of the GDPR guarantees people “the right to erasure,” which means when they want to part ways with an organization, they are entitled to be completely removed from all records (unless the company maintains a right to that data under an existing law).

The right to erasure isn’t automatic. A user must formally request erasure. If they do, businesses should have a process that guarantees that user is removed from all records.

Developing a process that cleans-up mailing lists and deletes inactive subscribers can improve overall deliverability. Internet service providers make judgments about the worthiness of your emails, based on deliverability, open rates, and click-through rates. So a small list of engaged subscribers is preferable to a bloated list with inactive subscribers and dormant email addresses.