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How to get existing contacts to opt into your marketing emails and be GDPR compliant

Short attention span?

How to get existing contacts to opt into your marketing emails and be GDPR compliant

According to a study in Canada in 2015, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span that even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. The results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.

So, what is the attention span of your clients?

With the imminent arrival of GDPR, many businesses are realising that their current email marketing databases run the risk of failing to comply with the stringent requirements for consent.

Let’s pause and remind ourselves of the rules for existing clients/customers and connections within those email databases.

For individual consumers (plus sole traders and partnerships) for whom you hold their personal email address (i.e. not a business email address), in order to continue to send them marketing related emails after the introduction of GDPR, you will need either their consent or proof that you have complied with the strict ‘soft opt in’ requirements.

For ongoing emails to those individuals at businesses (companies and corporate bodies) with business email addresses, after GDPR you can continue to send them marketing emails, but it is good practice to offer the recipient the option to opt out, which they can do at any time.

What many businesses are choosing to do for clients and contacts with both individual and business email addresses is to ask them to opt into marketing emails again (double opt in), so that their consent can be captured and recorded.

However, here lies the conundrum.

The rock.

According to research every completion field you add to an opt in form is probably cutting your conversion rate anywhere from 8% to 50%.

The hard place.

The ICO guidance states:
“Where possible you should provide granular consent options for each type of processing, unless those activities are clearly interdependent – but as a minimum you must specifically cover all processing activities.”
How can you restrict the number of fields to be completed and at the same time be ‘granular’? The honest truth is you can’t.

So what fields do you have to include:
1. The recipient’s name and email address.
2. A tick box for each of email, fax, text (and best practice for mail and calls)
3. A tick box for each marketing initiative that the recipient will be subscribing to (that could in theory be many boxes)
4. A clear and unambiguous tick box for the recipient to confirm their consent to receiving marketing emails about those matters for which they have expressed an interest
5. A clear and unambiguous place to unsubscribe

Without wishing to add additional burden and reduce the likelihood of subscription, here is a list of other potential fields that will enable you to sharpen marketing focus in the future:
1. The recipient’s organisation (or the fact that they are subscribing as an individual).
2. Job title and telephone number
3. How often they would like to receive emails
4. From which department or part of the business they would like to receive marketing emails
5. A confirmation that they have read the privacy statement and/or a link to it
6. A link to enable the subscriber to edit their profile or account – enabling them to add valuable additional information

The introduction of GDPR presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses to consolidate, edit and reassemble their email databases. However, great care needs to be taken if clients are not simply to disappear into the murky depths because your double opt in consent form is long and overcomplicated.

And let’s hope that the goldfish research is wrong. Hello? Are you still there?

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