The EU is updating its Privacy Laws and whether you’re in the EU or you do business with people from the EU (like little old me!) then you need to take a look at what GDPR means for you and your business.
Till now European Privacy laws differed from country to country but starting May 25th, 2018 a new general set of legislation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect. A general privacy law for the whole of Europe sounds like a good thing but it also means that we, as marketers and business owners, need to up our game.
Will the GDPR impact you?
This is the most important question you need to answer, after all, there’s no point in continuing to read this article if none of this is relevant to you or your business.
In a nutshell: If you are storing information from EU citizens then you need to comply with this legislation. That means that whether:
- You are from the European Union;
- You have clients in the EU;
- or you have people from the EU on your mailing list.
You’ll need to take a look at what these laws mean and prepare to comply with them by May 25th.
If you’re wondering “should I even bother” remember this: that’s about 750 Million People that you want to continue doing business with!
What does this mean for your business’ email marketing?
GDPR will change quite a few things when it comes to email marketing and most specifically how you collect and record consent. But don’t freak out just yet! I’ll walk you through what you need to change in your email marketing to comply with these legislations.
Not Saying NO doesn’t mean YES! – Clear and Active Consent:
Under the new GDPR laws, your emails list now needs to actively consent to receive your marketing emails. Here’s how they describe it: consent must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”.
This might mean checking a box to say they want to receive marketing emails. This will always have to be something that your clients actively agree too. This also means that you need to be clear on what exactly you’ll be using the emails for.
On your sign-up forms this will mean:
You’ll need to make clear who’s collecting the emails, what they’ll be used for and what kind of emails they’ll be receiving in their inbox. For example, a notice may look like: “By filling out this form you are agreeing to receive blog updates and updates on offers, services and products from Rebel Firestarters.”
There are two main ways you can update your sign-up forms to comply with GDPR:
- Add a checkbox after the form for people to opt-in to your main list. (If they don’t check the box then you can only send them the freebie you promised.)
- Change your wording to lead with your list. Something like: “By subscribing you’ll be added to my marketing list and you’ll get my awesome Freebie”
You’re not only required to be clear and specific with the consent that you get from your clients but you’ll also need to record it. This means that under GDPR legislation it is the company that needs to proof that consent was sufficiently given.
This means that you’ll need to keep records of where people are giving consent.
How do you Record Consent?
Most marketing platforms are probably not prepared out of the gate to record consent I’d suggest being safe rather than sorry. One expert suggests taking screenshots of your opt-in and consent forms. This will allow you to prove that consent was freely and actively given.
Go ahead and create a Folder on your Google Drive and add screenshots of all your Opt-in Forms, Contact Forms and Landing pages. It’s a drag, but better be safe than sorry!
What about your current email list?
They have to go! Kidding! Don’t have a heart attack on my account! There’s no need to scrub your email list clean but you’ll need to bring it up to date with GDPR. This applies to you whether the emails you have weren’t collected following GDPR guidelines or you can’t prove that they were.
How do you get your list up to standards?
The easiest way to make sure your list is up to standards is to ask them if they are okay with you continuing to email them. You can do this by sending them an email and have them take action so that can happen.
So ask your list to let you know if they want you to keep emailing them. And remember to have this done by May 24th. You’ll need to clean any emails that are not compliant with the new legislation before May 25th
Why Should you Follow these regulations?
There’re other options. You could block all European traffic from your site, but that’s a big chunk of the market to eliminate and I’d miss you! You could also ignore these regulations entirely and risk a fine or process. Or you could create separate forms for European traffic. I’d argue it’s a lot easier to just adapt all your opt-ins to GDPR new Privacy Laws.
Won’t my email list die?
No! It won’t! Will you lose subscribers? Probably, but these people aren’t reading your emails anyway so there’s no point in having them on your email list.
Instead of worrying about the people you’ll lose, think about all the people that you’ll have joining your list excited about all the emails you TOLD THEM they’d be getting!
If you’d like a more in-depth guide to GDPR and what it means for you then I’d suggest you listen to the amazing Gena Jaffe, she’s an amazing lawyer laddy and she did a whole webinar about this. You can find it here.
Please remember that nothing of what I shared here is legal advice of any shape or form. If you need legal advice go hire a lawyer silly!