GDPR: What to do with your current data

GDPR is looming. As of the 18th May 2018, EU data handling rules will change - and even though Article 50’s now been triggered, UK businesses that send emails to EU email addresses will still have to comply.

But what exactly is GDPR? We’ve written a more detailed piece on it here, but here are the essentials.

Businesses will need to let their email subscribers know exactly what their personal information is being used for, and will need written consent (such as an opt-in form) from a person before the business can market to them. This consent needs to be recorded, breaches of data security need to be reported - and any business that fails to comply could face fines of up to €20m or 4% of their global turnover.

Compliance may be time-consuming (for many, it’ll mean asking existing subscribers to sign back up to email newsletters), but it’s well worth it. Email marketing continues to top the digital marketing ROI charts: it’s a key growth driver for businesses across industries. There’s no denying that it’s important to be GDPR-ready - and there’s plenty you can do both in the long and short term.

Playing the long game

In email marketing, long term relationships are key: they’re your chance to develop a rapport with your customers and prospects, keep your brand top of mind, and build trust.

In the long term, what’s going to make new subscribers opt in - and persuade existing subscribers to re-opt in - when business users receive an average of 88 emails per day?

The answer, quite simply, is value. Talk to your subscribers and find out exactly what they want from your emails - what would make them indispensable, readable and clickable. Tailor your emails to subscribers’ needs (which may mean segmenting your database), and they’ll stay engaged, making them more likely to re-opt in when the time comes.

Value also means you’ll create more of a relationship of reciprocity (which we delve into here). By giving your subscribers something of value to them, they’ll be more likely to buy from you in the future.

Of course, value is nothing new - it’s standard best practice in email marketing, and it’s certainly our ethos here at Winbox. Use GDPR to boost your campaign performance.

The here and now

In the short term, consider your engagement levels. Your email analytics will show how many of your subscribers engage with each campaign, as well as who’s not engaged for a while.

Why is this important? To prepare for GDPR, you’ll probably need to ask your subscribers to re-opt in. If they’re not engaging with you, they won’t see that ask, and they could well be lost.

This may not be of concern: after all, are subscribers who don’t engage really subscribers you want? It may be, though, that they’re not in the market for your product or service at the moment, but will reconsider you down the line - if you’re top of mind.

GDPR requirements are an opportunity to target lapsed readers with a re-engagement (or winback, or re-activation) campaign. These campaigns are designed to turn inactive contacts into active ones - and also to free your mailing list of dead addresses. You’ll need to set an objective (such as targeting those who haven’t opened your monthly emails in the last six months, increasing clicks, targeting those who’ve not purchased in a year or more) and think about how to target them. A “we miss you” subject line with the promise of a special offer, a “do you still want to hear from us?” campaign? You’ll be able to measure open and click rates (as well as unsubscribe rates), meaning you’ll (hopefully) re-engage some, and know to drop others from your list. As a starting point, you’ll find some great examples of re-engagement emails here

The key to a great email list is quality, not quantity. Market to those who would at least consider buying from you in the future. By combining short term plans with a solid long term strategy, your subscriber base may be lower - but more engaged than ever.

Looking to offer value to your email marketing list, or create a re-engagement campaign to win over inactive subscribers? Contact us to find out how we can help.