A Few Things To Consider For Post-GDPR Marketing
For many online businesses, sending cold emails to prospects and potential customers is an essential digital marketing strategy that has proven both successful and unrewarding. Many businesses consider cold emails a lost cause because of recorded failures, while others actively use it in their marketing campaigns because of its amazing returns.
The difference between cold emails that work and those that don’t boils down to a number of factors. These include the content of the email (sender, subject, introduction, signature), quality of research carried out about the prospect/potential customers, the value being offered, frequency of follow-ups, etc.
Lately, a significant consideration when sending out cold emails is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is a regulation issued by European Union (EU) about the protection of personal data (e.g. phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) of EU citizens.
For businesses looking to send out cold emails, the regulation comes into play when the customers, email subscribers, or potential email recipients are EU citizens. GDPR promotes transparency and fairness, as well as integrity and confidentiality.
As opposed to popular opinion, GDPR does not forbid businesses from sending out cold emails. Rather, the regulation controls the way the personal data of EU citizens are processed and administered.
A careful observation of the regulation reveals that abiding by it actually can bring success to cold email marketing efforts, instead of hindrances or impediments, which was the initial impression many of many marketers when the regulation rolled out.
Businesses can take these steps to follow the rules and improve their post GDPR marketing efforts:
- Email lists must be generated after thorough research: The most direct implication of GDPR marketing is that mass mailing has to be targeted much better. Sending cold emails to promote, say, fishing gear on a website about e-games simply won’t fly anymore.
- Massive email lists become obsolete: Cold contacts can still be used, though. The email lists must be assembled with greater care and diligent research; the potential recipients should be somehow related (consequently, actually interested in) to what you want to send them.
This approach ensures marketers research their target audience better and send out fewer messages. The benefits of both are obvious, as knowing your market is a huge advantage, while sending less mail slashes the expenses associated with mass mailing.
Lastly, if the initial research is done properly, you are bound to get much more positive replies because the recipients of your messages are already interested in what you offer.
But that’s not all.
- Are written in simple language that is easily understandable
- Contain information about what exactly the business will do with the personal data of the prospects/potential customers
- State what kind of personal data will be processed and the third party services that will be used
- Provide instructions on how the prospects and potential customers can modify and remove their personal data
- Give clear instructions on how to go about reporting a breach of GDPR principles by the business
Only store the data of prospects that respond to cold email campaigns. It’s a good thing for businesses to always keep in touch with their customers, but when it comes to cold emails, it’s advisable to only process the personal data of recipients that are positively responsive to the campaigns. This is in line with the data storage limitation principle of GDPR.
Although the regulation does not give a specific timeline for removing the personal data of non-responsive audiences, it is advisable to make such removals when the emails are older than four weeks. Any prospect or potential customer who doesn’t respond within that time frame is probably not interested anyway.
All in all, GDPR is a regulation that protects the end user, but it is written well enough to actually stimulate businesses to improve their data collection and handling practices. It is a regulatory framework that improves the marketplace as a whole and benefits everyone.