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The perfect excuse to re-connect. Turn GDPR to your advantage

In the spoof documentary movie This is Spinal Tap, there is an infamous scene when the lead guitarist explains the unique feature of the volume control on the band’s amplifiers with the immortal words, ‘These go to 11’.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how concerned is your business about GDPR? Is it 11?

Last week, I delivered a short presentation to a group of business owners on the impact in 2018 of the introduction of the new data protection rules mirroring GDPR.

For many in the room, the new regulations are proving to be an administrative nightmare. Data audits, privacy impact assessments, and vulnerability analysis were all pressing concerns.

However, there was a much larger issue that dominated the session - losing customers and prospects.

Many in the audience were anticipating having to ‘double opt-in’ the majority of personal email address holders within their email marketing databases - with the anticipated reduction in the numbers of those subscribed. The potential result – fewer connections and fewer clients.

However, many also recognised the opportunities the new data protection regime would present in terms of business development and marketing. In fact, GDPR is the perfect opportunity to have a root and branch review of your direct marketing strategy.

Dealing specifically with email marketing, here is a short list of the actions I suggest you consider taking before 25th May 2018:

1. Create a ‘killer’ opt in statement carefully crafted for your industry or sector. Think about what your customers or clients would want to hear or receive from you. Be creative and inventive – think about what would persuade you to receive your own marketing material.

2. Seize the opportunity to cleanse your database of old and out of date connections. Remember that according to the Information Commissioner’s Office you should only be marketing to ‘recent’ contacts, clients and connections.

3. See this as an opportunity to segment your email database into tailored categories such as B2B, B2C, business type, company size, length of relationship etc

4. As a precursor to sending the ‘double opt-in request’, call the intended recipient. This is the perfect excuse to re-engage as well as an opportunity to ask them to agree to subscribe to your emails once the ‘double opt-in’ request has been received.

5. Ensure that this segmentation process is not left to an inexperienced member of staff. This is undoubtedly a task for the business owner or experienced marketing professionals.

6. Finally, make sure that all new connections are GDPR compliant in terms of consent. All staff members (whether involved in marketing or not) should be made aware of the data protection changes and how best to categorise new connections.

The changes that will be brought about as a result of GDPR present a fantastic opportunity for business owners to make their direct marketing initiatives razor sharp. Imagine having a tighter, more focused database of highly engaged clients and prospects who are interested in your products and services and want to hear from you.

That is within your grasp.

Now is the time to turn up your GDPR digital marketing strategy to 11

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