The GDPR has caused a lot of disruption in the marketing world. When it comes into force on 25th May this year, the EU regulation will change the way that brands interact with consumer data for good. However, while there has been a lot of negative press around the GDPR, in fact, the changes could well have benefits, not just for consumers, but for businesses too. So, how is the GDPR likely to affect your business when it comes to key processes such as email marketing?

How will the GDPR affect email marketing?

One of the actions that the GDPR is designed to stop is a situation where brands are harvesting or collecting data without the consent of data users and then effectively spamming those users to try and get a response. This form of email marketing is often not particularly effective and doesn’t result in especially high quality leads. So, moving away from this kind of email marketing isn’t necessarily a bad idea. But what exactly does the GDPR require?

Consent to receive messages

With the GDPR, email marketing will be restricted to those recipients who have opted in to receive emails from you. Businesses will need to be able to show that a consumer provided affirmative consent that was “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.”

Informed consent

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles for some businesses will be the need to be more specific about consent and inform the user as to its purpose. That means providing information about the business collecting the consent, as well as the reason for collecting the data. So, for example, this will bring to an end practices like taking email addresses that were provided as an entry to a competition and then using them for marketing communications too.

Proving consent

The burden of proof lies on marketers to prove that consent was properly obtained – and when. This will mean keeping consent records for the first time.

Reviewing existing databases

The GDPR is retroactive in that the consent rules will apply to any existing contacts within a database. So, if it’s not possible to prove that consent was obtained from those contacts it may need to be re-obtained. Otherwise, it may not be possible for those contacts to be further marketed to.

What are the benefits of being GDPR compliant?

Taking the time to ensure that your opt-in processes and databases are GDPR compliant has the advantage of improving the quality of your contact lists. You will only be reaching out to people who genuinely want to hear from you and you will have much more information about what aspects of your business they are genuinely interested in. The possible penalties also provide a big incentive to ensure GDPR compliance – the regulation brings with it new fines that could be up to €20 Million or 4% of a brand’s total global annual turnover.

While the GDPR is certainly introducing changes to email marketing, it is still possible to do – and to do well. Contact Iconic Digital today on 020 7100 0726 to find out more about how to make your marketing emails work in the new era of the GDPR.