My email list isn’t GDPR compliant. Should I cancel my Newsletter?

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I had an email from a company I had been in contact with a few years ago.  The first line read: ‘This is the last newsletter you will receive as we have too small an opted in GDPR compliant email list to make it viable.’ 

What a shame! But it did occur to me that other business would be considering this as well.

This company has no doubt spent a lot of time reviewing the option of calling time on the newsletter. But I think they got this decision wrong.  Here is why:

They forgot why they did the newsletter in the first place

Newsletters keep your customer base informed. They also give potential clients and staff a feel for how you approach your subject matter. Also, if people are reminded of your brand frequently, then they are more likely to think of you they next need a product or service you offer.

They won’t collect as much data from potential customers

A newsletter is a pretty low risk way for a potential customer to say ‘I like what you are doing’.  Without a newsletter or a reason to sign-up, people just won’t leave their details as often, and your company will miss out on some huge benefits in future (see below for more information on this).

They are still investing in producing content – just very few people will read it

This company said they would still be producing content available via the blog and their various social media channels.  If they are investing all the time to produce the content and the cheapest way to distribute it is to email i, why waste that opportunity?! It takes an hour or so to pull an email together – and worst case scenario, you can outsource that for very low cost. Alternatively, drop it to quarterly if this is still an issue.

Saying they would distribute it via social media was also problematic. They seemed to have far too much reliance on organic social reach – with recent changes in Facebook where brands get less reach, this is definitely not a cost effective solution.

Data is the future

How companies used their opted in data is going to make the difference between the companies that do okay, and the companies that do great. Email and phone data is already hugely important for platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, and this is only going to grow.  If you don’t think that data is important, think about why WhatsApp was sold for $19 billion.  It wasn’t for the team of about 40 people!

Email is going to be much cleaner!

After the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) stops 70% of the majority of email spam (a lot still comes from outside Europe) people will actually start to reengage with email.  If you are providing something of use, then people will stop and read it. It will become a much more curated news source.

Here is a simple plan to do before May!

1. Make sure all your new data is collected in a GDPR complaint way

2. If some of your data is not GDPR, identify which is, and which is not. This is a great chance to finally clean up that data base.

3. For the non-compliant data, build a list and email them. Not once, but set up 3 emails to go out over the next few weeks with the first being a request that they confirm there are happy to be emailed. The second, as a reminder and the third as a ‘final chance’.

4. For any emails that do not confirm, add them to a Facebook custom audience and come up with an incentive for them to opt in. Remember to think how much they are worth to you.  You may also want to split this into different segments if some customers are worth a lot more to you.

5. Finally, and if your business type allows a polite call in will mean you can get the contact to opt in. and, if it is a B2B business you may even also end up cleaning the data.