As cloud sharing and data breaches become widespread, people are more vulnerable to having personal information exposed. The goal of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules is to protect citizen data by having companies adhere to certain digital protocols.
Even though GDPR compliance has global importance, only about 36% of business leaders know about GDPR. It’s important to understand these rules in order to avoid huge fines and penalties (in some cases up to millions of dollars!)
The Intent of GDPR
GDPR is an EU law that went into effect in 2018 to help protect personal data and privacy. Even though it’s a European Union law, it affects businesses around the world who might have EU email subscribers or customers. This also includes any collecting, storing, or usage of data from EU citizens.
One of the biggest impacts GDPR has had on businesses is the infamous cookie approval banners that pop up on websites now. If your website uses a HTTP cookie to help record browsing activity or other information, then you need to ask viewers permission to use these cookies. This is by far the most obvious impact from GDPR’s inception, but there are also other influences it has had on email marketing.
GDPR Rules and Protocol
“Data subjects” or citizens have the right to the following under GDPR law:
- Must consent to data collection
- The right to ask why data is being used
- Request deletion of data under certain circumstances
- Be told when a data breach occurs and which pieces of data were exposed
So what do these rules mean for email marketing? Here are some ways GDPR has changed email tactics for American businesses:
- Subscription processes and requests must be very clear when people sign up for an email list or purchase a product
- There should be opt-in and opt-out features on emails (such as an “unsubscribe” button)
- Emails should have a double opt-in feature when subscribers first sign up, meaning they need to reconfirm via email one more time when they request to be a subscriber
Another segment of GDPR is the requirement to delete unneeded personal data after a certain period of time. Some email services such as ProtonEmail will delete the emails you send to subscribers after a set length of time in order to reduce data breach exposure. Even though this is referring more to business emails than to advertising emails, it’s still another component to consider when reviewing these guidelines.
By making subscribing protocol so strict, GDPR has actually helped businesses increase click-through rates because only very keen leads opt-in to receive email content. Essentially, you’re shifting through the weeds rather than marketing to a larger, more random user group. Now brands are focusing on consumer trust instead of ambiguous outreach.
To reduce the risk of facing serious fines and GDPR penalties, you can follow guidelines such as Usercentrics GDPR Checklist to give yourself peace of mind.
GDPR rules are yet another reason why marketing automation is crucial for your business. Marketing automation makes it easy to organize and manage user data in the event that you need to opt-in or unsubscribe someone.
If all of this sounds overwhelming to you, hire a professional marketing automation agency to manage your email strategy and make sure your operations are GDPR compliant. REAS Marketing can boost your email influence to a wider audience while keeping your procedures safe and secure.