GDPR is the most recent effort to safeguard customer data. It’s been in effect since 2018, and there have been numerous misunderstandings regarding how the law affects email marketing since then. That’s why we’re busting 9 GDPR and email marketing myths so you know exactly what you need to do and how you can enhance your email marketing results.
Myths about GDPR and email marketing that are preventing you from succeeding
What Impact Has GDPR Had on Email Marketing?
There’s no denying that GDPR has influenced email marketing. Let’s take a closer look at how GDPR has altered email marketing before we get into the GDPR and email marketing myths.
The Earliest Adoption wins
Brands who jumped right into GDPR compliance appear to have seen significant gains in their email marketing KPIs. Online purchase, targeting, and involvement in customer loyalty programmes all improved for many firms that were early adopters of GDPR laws, as did ratings, customer happiness, and trust (Yieldify). Marketo showed that marketers who approached GDPR compliance from a “marketing first” perspective were 72 percent more likely to exceed their business goals than marketers who approached GDPR compliance from a “legal first” perspective. What’s the difference? GDPR presented a chance for “marketing first” marketers to create trust and solid relationships with their subscribers and consumers.
Cleaning Your Email List
Did you realise that every year, your email marketing list shrinks by roughly 22%? How frequently do you clean it? Since GDPR was implemented, many email marketers with EU subscribers have seen improved email marketing KPIs, with 67% reporting increased deliverability, 74% reporting increased open rates, 75% reporting increased click-through rates, and 67% reporting increased conversion rates from their email marketing campaigns (DMA Marketer Email Tracker report). Furthermore, unsubscribes and spam complaints fell (41 percent and 55 percent , respectively).
This is due to the fact that when GDPR was originally adopted, email marketers had to obtain opt-ins from their email marketing lists. Yes, this lowered their email lists, but it also meant that the subscribers who chose to stay on those lists were individuals who valued the emails they were receiving. These subscribers will be more receptive to marketing from the brands on whose mailing lists they have remained, resulting in increased engagement, sales, and possibilities to convert regular customers into brand ambassadors.
Consumers now have a better understanding of how valuable their personal data is to firms thanks to GDPR. It’s no wonder that marketers have tried to improve the quality of their emails and deliver more “value” information rather than solely promotional content, given that 53% of customers are willing to disclose their data for a “fair exchange” (DMA Consumer Attitudes to Privacy study). Email newsletters including industry news, recommendations, advice, resource guides, and other content that is beneficial to subscribers but not necessarily aimed to sell could be considered “value” content.
Myths about GDPR and Email Marketing
Now that you have a better knowledge of how GDPR has impacted email marketing, let’s look at some of the most common GDPR and email marketing myths. We’ll go over 9 of the most frequent GDPR and email marketing misconceptions.
Keep in mind that this blog article is solely for educational and informational reasons. It is not intended to be taken as legal advice. Please get legal advice to determine how GDPR affects you.
Here’ The Myths Start:
#1. “To comply with GDPR, I must use double opt-in.”
To begin our list of GDPR and email marketing myths, we’ll discuss consent, whether double opt-in is necessary, and whether single opt-in is GDPR compliant (spoiler: it is).
Double opt-in means that after subscribing to your list, your subscribers must take an additional step to affirm that they truly want to be on it. So they sign up for your newsletter and then receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription.
It’s a terrific technique to make sure that only the most engaged customers end up on your mailing list. While many experts believe that double opt-in is required to “prove” permission under GDPR, this is not the case.
Yes, GDPR mandates that you preserve a record of consent to demonstrate that you are obtaining informed consent through affirmative action (like clicking a checkbox). It doesn’t matter how you go about acquiring that consent, though. You could use single opt-in, which adds new subscribers to your list immediately, and as long as you can prove that the subscriber agreed to receive the type of emails you’re sending, you’re fine.
#2. “I need to seek permission from everyone on my email list once more.”
When it comes to GDPR and email marketing myths, this one has some merit. Many email marketers are using GDPR as an opportunity to clean up their email marketing lists and pare them down to only the most engaged subscribers, but you’re in compliance with GDPR as long as you can verify consent from your subscribers or have other valid grounds for processing personal data. It basically comes down to three questions:
- Did I explain how I use subscribers’ personal data and what content they can expect from me on my opt-in form?
- Can subscribers easily unsubscribe from my list?
- Did the subscribers on my email list opt-in (and can I prove it)?
Did any of the questions make you say “no”? Then send a re-engagement message to your subscribers, encouraging them to join your email list again. Remove them if they do not opt-in.
#3. “I use a third-party service provider, therefore they’re in charge of GDPR compliance.”
Another GDPR and email marketing myth with a grain of truth to it. Data controllers (you, the data owner) and data processors (your 3rd-party email marketing service) share responsibility for GDPR compliance. The data controller (you) has complete control over how the information you’ve gathered is used. Many email marketing platforms work hard to ensure that their customers follow GDPR guidelines, but you are ultimately accountable for the information you collect.
#4. “I need to incorporate checkboxes in all of my opt-in forms.”
This is one of the most easily disproved GDPR and email marketing myths. Simply simply, you don’t need to update your opt-in forms to include checkboxes. In order to be GDPR compliant, an opt-in form does not need to have checkboxes.
GDPR does, however, demand clear notification from you to the subscriber about how you plan to process, use, or share the subscriber’s personal data. You can always use a checkbox to obtain consent, but it is not essential. If you don’t want to use checkboxes, a sentence or two can inform subscribers on how their data will be used.
GDPR mandates that consent be specific, not bundled, if you’re requesting consent for several communications. If you’re requesting consent for various purposes, use checkboxes or another method for subscribers to select which communications they consent to and which they don’t. It’s important to remember that checkboxes cannot be pre-checked.
#5. “Nonprofits, charities, and social organizations are exempt from the GDPR.”
Every business and organization that operates in the EU or gathers data from EU residents must comply with GDPR. While GDPR has prompted concern among “big data” companies, data security is a requirement for all firms.
Data Protection Policy: details your internal procedures for how you handle personal data. This will include what you do when data is compromised.
Data Breach Policy: provides a record of where security has been breached, the actions taken, whether the data breach has been reported to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), the data breached, and reasons why you made the decisions you made for this data breach.
Retention and Destruction Policy: details how long consumer data will be kept and how the information will be deleted or destroyed.
You may need to set more policies depending on the size of your firm and how much data you hold. However, for most businesses, these four rules are a good place to start when it comes to GDPR compliance.
#6. “Data gathered before May 25, 2018, is grandfathered in, and GDPR does not apply.”
Another one of the GDPR and email marketing myths with an easy solution: GDPR applies to all personal data gathered after May 25, 2018, regardless of whether it was collected before or after that date. If you can’t prove consent for your existing subscriber list, as we said in Myth #2, you should send a re-engagement campaign to collect that record of approval.
The GDPR also distinguishes between relevant and irrelevant data. GDPR mandates that any data that isn’t deemed relevant be erased, including any irrelevant data you may already have. Yes, you’ll almost certainly need to wipe up your data. Keeping only relevant information, on the other hand, allows you to develop focused marketing messages without having to filter through things that are irrelevant to your email marketing approach.
Note that this does not apply to anonymous data aggregated for statistical reasons, so your Google Analytics data is fine.
#7. “The GDPR does not apply to small firms.” or “Businesses operating outside of the EU are exempt from GDPR compliance.”
As previously stated, all organizations, regardless of size or purpose, must comply with GDPR if they operate in the EU or have EU subscribers. If you collect or process a customer’s personal information, you must comply with GDPR.
#8. “We’ve implemented GDPR policies, so we’re good to go.”
GDPR isn’t something you can “set and forget.” Because technology and your business are always evolving and changing, it’s only natural that your GDPR rules would evolve as well. As a data collector and controller, it is your job to comprehend data protection best practices.
It’s a good idea to examine your policies on a frequent basis to make sure they’re still current and that your actions haven’t changed away from them. Your focus should always be on refining your policies to protect your subscribers’ and customers’ personal information and avoid having your email list clogged with inactive subscribers.
#9. “GDPR is going to destroy my email marketing ROI.”
Many email marketers were afraid when GDPR first went into force that the new restrictions would reduce their email marketing ROI. That, however, has not been the case. Despite the fact that anti-spam rules in the US are significantly laxer, brands in the US generate an average return of 38:1, which is lower than the average ROI of 39:1 in EU countries.
You’re doing your business and your subscribers and customers a disservice if you don’t follow GDPR standards. It’s crucial to remember what GDPR is all about: protecting user data. With this in mind, businesses may develop their email list deliberately, focusing on lead quality rather than number.
You’ll be better positioned to collect user data and handle it in a way that creates trust now that these 9 GDPR and email marketing myths have been debunked. This will result in a higher bottom line for your company.