The 25th May 2018 was an important date for all businesses across the globe. Stricter rules around data handling meant that brands who collect personal information in European territories have to be transparent about how they use it, how they store it, how they delete it, and how they update it. No longer could brands send blanket emails, and the dreaded ‘Opt-In’ plan was hurriedly deployed a week or two before the final live date of GDPR.
Now that marketers cannot send newsletters and general emails to the masses, brands have had to adapt and be smarter about how they utilise their email channels. The State of Content Marketing 2019 proved this point, by showing that brands value ‘Subscriber Growth’ more than ever, with it even taking over other forms of measurement for content, such as sales impact, and brand awareness.
Not only was the change in regulation high profile, but so was the penalty. With the risk of being fined either 4% of your turnover or €20 million, it was crucial for brands not to open themselves up to breaches. Since GDPR was enforced, there have been over 200,000 reported cases (with 65,000 being actual breaches, and 95,000 complaints). Only 1% of these are facing a challenge in the courts. It has been reported that in total, there has been $55.96 million in fines over the last year - bearing in mind that $50 million of that total belongs solely to Google, for an oversight in transparency and failing to obtain legal basis for processing personal data.
Many consider 2018 and 2019 to be the ‘transition’ years for GDPR - but with these developments and high profile cases of breaches, a challenge for marketers is how to grow the list of engaged customers they can contact freely. So read on to see our tips on how to build your subscriber list in the post GDPR world.
With SEO, you would optimise every page for conversion. So don’t open your brand up to any obvious breaches. Optimise each page for GDPR, and use this little checklist to make sure your top level bases are covered:
This is a little bit of CRO, but for GDPR. You want to make sure that if your goal is subscriber growth, that you are optimising your site for this aim.
Here’s some ideas to get engaged users signing up:
It’s more likely a user will sign up to something specific to what they are interested in, over a general subscription. If you were a travel brand you could split your email communications by territory, such as holidays in Europe and a separate email chain for holidays in the USA. Or create a separate ‘cheap deals’ newsletter, if your audience will be more interested by this topic. Allowing the user to choose what they will receive will be more appealing then general emails and your marketing automation and nurture processes will be more successful.
You could also do this by buyer persona. If you are a B2B brand, this may be more beneficial so that your top level content appeals to those higher up in the organisation with less time, and your functional and in-depth content reaches the readers that need advice or guidance. You could even phrase it as follows:
‘How much time do you have a week to read up on (X industry) news?’
Giving options such as ‘Not enough time as I’d like’, ‘I never have time’ or ‘I want to learn as much as possible’ - this will allow you to tailor email campaigns for each of these types of users, with content to support people short of time, and those with more time to consume useful content.
You could test if providing a Yes and a No option to sign up is better than just a checkbox. This isn’t forced consent but by using both a Yes and No option, intent is clearer and this will allow you to test any copy on your site and further optimise your chances of building those ‘yes’ clickers.
Engage those who haven’t engaged with you in a while with new and useful content. As part of any inbound strategy you should be producing relevant content for your personas, but if this content is not providing real value, then you have stolen the user’s time. These days, consumers are more ruthless than ever and will unsubscribe if an email is not worth their time.
So here are some steps to take to deliver emails that contain the most value, and will hopefully result in more GDPR sign ups.
An alternative tip would be to do email campaigns as described above, but make sure to use messaging that this is their ‘last chance’ and that you will be removing their data if they do not engage (ie: click any links to content or sign up). Deleting all the people who don’t engage may seem counter intuitive, but in the end, this will improve your stats if you have a slightly smaller but more engaged pot of users to contact.
Getting in front of new audiences is a straightforward way to engage new people and hopefully have them sign up. This is key to any marketing campaign, as 25% of marketers want to target new audiences through their content distribution.
Digital PR is a great route to success in targeting new audiences, so it’s important to blog on other sites, get coverage of your content on news sites, that are relevant to your industry and users, and show your value in as many places as possible for your target audience.
One year on from GDPR, many marketers still struggle with the regulations and the many grey areas around what is allowed. If you are ever in doubt, the best port of call is always seek legal advice about your activity, and make the most of nurturing the ‘safe’ contacts you have!
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