GDPR – Getting Your Email List Compliant

The last few articles have covered an overview of what GDPR is and helped you to see it doesn’t have to be the big scary monster some are making it out to be.  If you missed any, you can read them through the following links:

Email lists are something complementary practitioners appear to be concerned about, especially when it comes to the changes to data protection.

GDPR imposes higher standards of consent for what you send the people on your list.  This gives recipients greater control and choice over what they receive from you.

This article is to provide an outline of what you can and can’t do with your email list.  It also provides ideas for what you need to do to become compliant.  You need to have done this by 25th May 2018 so this is something you cannot ignore any longer.

GDPR getting your email list compliant

What you can send people

Genuine emails that help your clients get the most from your product or service.  This includes receipts and details on how to use their purchase.  For clarity, this service should be spelt out on your sales page.  This way, your customers will expect to receive the emails and understand why.

What you can’t send without specific permission

Newsletters, even if you only ever share free stuff, it counts as marketing.

Offers to upgrade existing products and services, or sharing new products or services, or promoting future events.  These are all marketing activities.

Existing email lists

If you already have an email list, you have to review how people originally were added to it.

If you received permission to send your marketing emails that already complies with GDPR, you are okay to continue emailing with these people.

People you added to your list after they signed up for a freebie guide, course or any other giveaway (or in marketing terms, a lead magnet), you have to get fresh consent if you want to continue emailing to them.

If you added people to your list because they are your clients, you absolutely need their permission to continue sending them any marketing information.

With the last two options, you will probably lose a lot of people off your list once you seek permission.  These are the people who aren’t engaged with you and don’t read your emails anyway.  It is a scary thought, but it will leave you with those who want to hear from you and you could save money on your email plan if it’s a paid one.

Wake up your list

If you haven’t emailed your list in a while, you are likely to lose a huge number of subscribers when you reach out and ask them for permission to email them.  The sooner you do this the better as a random email from you on the 24th May is far too late!

I suggest sending out a few emails that provide value with questions, surveys and other useful information.  You are reminding people of how helpful you are and that you exist.

Ask for consent

Once your list is used to seeing you pop up in their email feed, start asking for permission to send your marketing emails.  Do this over a series of emails because as you probably know yourself, not everyone reads everything.

You can ask for permission a few times, include a sentence at the bottom of your email asking people to opt into your list and provide a simple a way of doing it.  This will differ depending on how you manage your emails and your email provider.  Check with your supplier to find the best option for you.

End this series with a very honest subject line along the lines of: of something like: ‘This is the last email you will receive from me unless you tell me you want to stay on my list!’

When you are sending these emails requesting consent, include a link to your privacy policy for transparency.

Adding people to your list requires and active opt-in

It’s not good enough to say, if you sign up for my freebie, you will receive my weekly newsletter.    You need to make sure people provide you with separate permission for you to send them any marketing updates.  If you use a tick box system, it must be un-checked so people tick it themselves.

Access to freebies

If you offer free guides, checklists, courses etc. to market your business, you can continue to promote them as part of your marketing strategy.  This will give you the opportunity to provide great value and demonstrate how you help people.  Hopefully the receiver will be inspired to keep in touch with you and sign up to your regular newsletter.

Be aware you do have to provide your freebies to anyone requesting them, even if they don’t want to be added to your list.  You are no longer allowed to give away a freebie and automatically add the recipient to your email list.

Go back to basics with your emails

Work out what you want to achieve with your emails and how you want to communicate with your audience.  Map out the journey of how people get on your list and check every option necessary to opt-in.  This way you will respect peoples wishes if they do or don’t want to join your list.

There is a good chance that your list will dramatically reduce in size which is scary after it took so much effort to build.  See this as an opportunity to have a good clear out to communicate with those people who are really interested in what you have to share.

Make sure you do this in plenty of time so it is completed by 25th May 2018 – don’t put it off any longer or it will be too late!

Just to be clear, this information is my interpretation from my research into GDPR and does not represent legal advice.  Please consult a qualified solicitor for legal advice specific to your situation.