Most subscriber lists are compliant already
Customers who receive brand emails spend 138% more on average than those who don’t subscribe so why are so many brands sending unnecessary emails asking consumers to re-consent? This is largely unnecessary and will cost brands as consumers develop apathy towards taking another step. From a commercial perspective this is bonkers – brands are annoying customers with messages they don’t want or understand, which opens the door for them to walk away from any future conversation.
The fear of a fine of up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover for failing to comply with GDPR has sent many brands into a blind panic where they are taking unnecessary steps that could in fact be harmful to their brand.
A curious domino effect seems to be underway with brands looking over their shoulder, seeing that other companies are sending these re-opt in messages and jump on an unnecessary bandwagon to do the same.
According to 80% of retail professionals email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention with social media coming a distant second at 44%. Shrinking a marketing list unnecessarily could be calamitous for marketers, when all they need do is properly categorise the subscribers they have and contact people who perhaps are on an older list that may not be PECR compliant.
The new standard of consent benefits everyone. It means that consumers who do subscribe want to be engaged with. List numbers may shrink slightly if re-consent is sought only from those that possibly fall into a grey area, but results will also improve as a result.
GDPR aims in part to protect consumers from nuisance mail or having their contact email acquired unethically. For example, soft-opt methods like asking a customer for an email address for a receipt and then sending them marketing emails they did not consent to.
In future, there are seven simple rules when seeking consent for email marketing contact, which will keep everyone compliant and should increase positive engagement even further. The new rules are not particularly confusing and easy to implement.
Under GDPR, consent must be:
- Unbundled: When asking for consent, it needs to be separate from other terms and conditions. Brands cannot make consent a precondition for signing up for a service, unless not doing so would render the brand unable to provide that service.
- Active: Opt-in boxes (or a similar binary method, where each choice is equally prominent) must be empty so that customers can actively choose to give consent. Pre-ticked opt-in boxes are no longer valid.
- Clear: The request for consent must be clear, explicit and in easy to understand language.
- Granular: Granular, specific options that customers to consent to each way a brand intends to use their data separately.
- Named: The brand requesting consent and any third-party involved must be named, so that consumers know exactly who they are allowing to contact them.
- Easy to withdraw: Consent must be easy to withdraw. This means an obvious unsubscribe option that is as simple to use as possible.
- Documented: Brands must keep a record of what each person has consented to, what they were told, and when and how they consented.
Email remains the best way for brands to communicate with consumers and the relationship is a valuable one. In the last couple of days before GDPR, brands should think twice about alienating existing subscribers as it is always harder to acquire them again.