Guest post by Ben Abbott.
We live in an age where almost everything we do is recorded in one way or another, especially on the Internet. This reality is disconcerting for large numbers of people, with over 90% of online customers stating that they’re worried about their online security and privacy to some extent. This stems from the fact that customers really don’t have any sort of insight into how their data is being manipulated, so GDPR is here to fix all that.
As of May 25th, 2018, a new set of laws in the EU started to take effect, and these laws are forcing marketers to significantly alter their disclosure practices (and in some cases, their business ethics) in order to avoid some pretty hefty fines. Under the regulation, companies now have to request customers’ permission to use even the smallest piece of their data and keep that usage documented. They’re also required to be transparent about any potential data breaches, and let the customer know if their information has been compromised.
Who is Affected By GDPR?
The main purpose of GDPR is to force businesses to take better care of their customers’ data, and this means the regulation will have the most profound effect on those that are tasked with handling customers’ information the most—marketers. GDPR is definitely something worth talking to a legal specialist about, but if you just want the gist of it, read on:
The first point is obvious: you can no longer simply assume that a person wants to be contacted and give them the option to opt out of your notifications. After GDPR, such practices count as a violation you will have to pay a fine for.
The customer needs to physically confirm that they’re interested in receiving more updates from you. In other words, that means that you’re no longer allowed to use pre-ticked boxes in your email subscription template. The subscriber has to tick the box themselves if they’re interested in receiving updates. This might seem like nitpicking but according to GDPR, it really makes all the difference between whether the customer agreed to receive additional updates or not.
The next important point is to allow your customers to access their stored data and delete it if they so desire. The Internet has grown exponentially in the past two decades and every day there’s an opportunity to subscribe to thousands of online services—all of which require at least some of your personal information. GDPR states that the customer has the right to revoke his permission for usage of his data at any time, and in that event, you’re required to erase any record of his personal information.
Finally, GDPR also touches on the type of data you’re gathering. Before you get any information from your customer, you need to be able to justify and articulate why you need that particular data. For example, if you’re running a music-oriented platform like Spotify, you aren’t going to ask your subscriber about their shoe size, but rather about preferred music artists. Long story short, if you can’t justify why you need a certain type of data, simply don’t ask for it in the first place.
Why Should Marketers Welcome GDPR?
GDPR definitely looks like a knife in the back of marketers at first glance, but the truth is it isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be. In fact, if you really think about it, GDPR has the potential to improve the quality of your marketing campaign, which ultimately means more satisfied customers and increased profits.
The thing is that now you can allow your customers to choose from a range of options for the types of notifications they wish to receive from you. This is an approach that helps you to better target your customers and gain a fair amount of insight into their interests, so you can tailor a more specific marketing strategy that is more likely to make them opt-in.
Another way that GDPR can help your business is it forces you to be more transparent and build trust with your customers. They now know that you are obligated by law to do something about the issue of managing their personal data, something the majority of people feel is very important.
And if you can convince your customers that you’re being transparent with their data and let them know exactly how you’re managing it, you’ll be able to more easily build trust with your brand. Giving people the ability to opt out at any time and delete their data is very important as well, as 93% of online shoppers have reported online privacy is something they’re genuinely concerned about.
Tips on Marketing Strategies For This New GDPR Era
Like it or not, because of GDPR nearly all online marketers are going to have to make some serious changes to their strategy. There are a couple of days you can approach doing this, so let’s go through some of the most efficient ones so you’ll have a better idea about what you can do specifically.
The first thing, which you might have done already, is to change your privacy statement to comply with GDPR requirements. It’s a known fact that nearly no one reads through the traditional terms of service agreement, because it lacks succinctness, uses a lot of complicated legal language and is often quite ambiguous. Even if we were to read through every single agreement, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we understand it. Therefore, you should strive to have a simple and transparent privacy statement that your customers will be able to understand easily, without any double meanings or purposeful ambiguity.
Another strategy you can try is push notifications. The advantage of push notifications is that they do not process any personal data—they just use your IP address in order to send the customer a message after they’ve specifically given their consent by pushing the “Allow notifications” button. This is a great way to market your brand without taking any personal data at all and thereby dodging the GDPR bullet entirely.
Most popular email marketing and lead capture tools have modified their platforms to be GDPR-compliant. Take the time to understand what your marketing technology vendors have done in this regard. Don’t rely on them completely, but do take advantage of the work they’ve already done for you and any additional guidance they provide.
Finally, try to “dumb down” the data you’re collecting to the bare minimum. Be realistic with yourself and ask what data you really need. Most likely you’ll come to the conclusion that the customer’s personal phone number and their home address is something you’ll probably never need, so simply ask for their first name and e-mail—nothing else. This will make your job easier and will make you seem a lot less suspicious in the eyes of your potential customer.
GDPR has definitely been introducing a lot of changes into the world of marketing, and it’s going to keep doing just that until the entire law takes effect. However, it’s very important to remain positive and realize that transparency and online privacy is something that can benefit both the customer and the marketer. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding about what GDPR will mean for your next marketing campaign, and these few tips have given you a good idea about how to start implementing it in a way that doesn’t violate the new regulation. Good luck!
Ben Abbott & Associates is a law firm that focuses on solving car accidents cases which include accidents involving an uninsured driver, drunk driving accidents, and more. With the central office in Garland, TX, this is the firm you’ll want to contact if you ever get into an accident around Dallas or Fort Worth.