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Email Marketing Under GDPR: What You Need To Know

By Posted on 5 min read 22 views

Frankly, speaking this action was a warranted one.

Aggressive and abusive email marketing tactics had become quite rampant and even I, from a consumer’s point of view, used to get irritated with the flurry of messages being bombarded from all corners of the web.

Previously, it was the Nigerians we would blame it upon.

But a time came when it seemed the whole internet community was out to get you in your inbox.

Seriously marketers, would you learn the Art of Email Marketing from this article first, please?

So, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is nothing but giving back power to the data subjects—internet users like you and me—to decide who holds their information, how long and for what purpose, is warmly welcome.

But howsoever helpful it might be for the consumers, this might turn out to a rather nasty prick in the a*** of hard-core email marketers, to be honest.

What does GDPR mean for future email marketing campaigns?

Unbundled: The potential email recipients must clearly know why the data is being asked for.  And remember, it should be separately and distinctly explained, apart from the terms and conditions. Consent will not be assumed as a result of a customer signing up for a service unless that service specifically requires it.

Active opt-in: Clear opt-in boxes need to be used for the data subjects to notice them properly. Pre-ticked boxes will not be sufficient to confirm consent.

Granular: If different degrees and varieties of data handling are expected to be gathered or utilized, each stratus of such data revelation and the consequences of such needs to be elucidated. This measure means consumers will have maximised control over the data that they are submitting for processing.

Named: Marketers must reveal the name of the data-handling organisation and also the third parties who might get access to such data. For example, stating that information may be shared with other car dealers is evidently not enough. Each such car dealer should be named.

Evidenced: Where compliance increases its hold, evidence becomes crucial in cases of disputes. Records need to be maintained for the data subject, and the data, its purposes and its timeline. Even the method of consent needs to be noted. Why? It is to figure out the scope of the consent given by the data subject.

Easy to withdraw: Data subjects must be given the permission and facilities to withdraw their data promptly and without hassle under GDPR. Marketing teams will have to make efforts to facilitate this option to withdraw from email transactions.

No imbalance: This one—that the power distribution between the marketer and the consumer must be equal—is BIG. Marketers must now keep reminding data subjects about what they have given consent to and regularly ask for consent to be renewed or reconsidered. The data subject must always be in control of its data, whatever the situation might be.

The next question that comes up is…

How to send emails under GDPR?

Good question.

And my answer would be, “Do unto others as you would wish to be done unto you.”

It’s that simple, really.

DO ask for permission whenever required — remember, the data owner has the power over it. You are just a tenant and before utilizing the Lord’s property, you must seek his permission, from time to time. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and asking for direct, affirmative permission to contact someone via email is the most secure process under GDPR and E-Privacy legislation.

DON’T send ANY form of an email to anyone who has asked given you such permission. Exclude anyone from your campaigns who do not wish to be contacted, unsubscribed from a list, or opted-out in any other way.

DO study the divergence between B2B and B2C markets, and part your mailing lists accordingly.

B2B emails are usually sent to a particular business email and not to a particular person. Yes, you might be sending the email to the General Manager or the HR Representative. But business email addresses are normally open to the public to get in touch with.

However, it is not so with personal email addresses. You need explicit permission to promote your product or service to an individual unless he is your uncle who stays in Canada.

That said, DON’T add every business email address you get hold of to every mailing list your company uses. Instead, write them a thoughtful introduction, coupled with some niceties, for him to get curious about your products and services on his own.

No aggressiveness, remember!

Then — now comes the serious bit — ask them if they would like to be added to your email list to receive information on the industry or new updates and offers on your products and services.

If they say no, DON’T add them — silence is not consent!

When dealing with one person companies, sole proprietorships or even small firms with a couple of partners, DO follow B2C rules. Just as with an individual customer, you need to ask for explicit consent for opt-in to send them future emails. (Or else, the GDPR dog watches!)

DON’T assume your prospects wants and desires. Yes, this is the irony. The more Big Data helps us know about our prospects, the lesser we are free to act upon it.

Emailing your past customers needs to comply with the acceptable time period customary between two consecutive emails as suitable for the products and services. Moreover, every email should correlate to the nature of the product or service bought for. (You cannot sell dog laces to someone who bought acne removal creams from you before.)

One important point to note:

If you are using ‘intelligent’ email marketing tools and alter campaigns based on the behavioural metrics of the email recipient, you are violating GDPR. You DO need to inform email recipients about this particular finding and that you might be modifying your campaigns based on that data, giving them the option to opt-out or unsubscribe.

Ideally, if you are communicating with new contacts, DON’T be too rigid. Try to engage them with valuable content in various formats like eBooks, white papers, reports, blogs, etc.

The customer is king.

If you remember this always, you will fare properly.

Below is a MarketingProfs infographic you might love if you are a marketer.

gdpr marketing

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6 Email Marketing Best Practices…Take It Or Leave It

By Posted on 4 min read 23 views

In 2019, the average email user is expected to receive 96 emails per day. How can you make your company’s emails stand out?

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Look, emails can be a great way to build customer engagement and drive sales, but all too often this potentially powerful resource is misused and overused (as is expected, we marketers were never really known for taking our economics classes seriously! We just don’t know when to draw a line. We beat the best strategy to a pulp…always. But that’s best kept for another discussion.)

Okay, so where were we?

Yeah, abuse of email marketing, right.

Improper use of e-mail campaigns is not just a waste of your time and money, it can also wind up driving away customers. Take it from an email marketer with “almost” a decade of experience.

Here are six tips to help you get started with successful, productive e-mail campaigns.

1. Start with a clear goal in mind

This is not just the starting point of a successful campaign—it’s the most important part of planning. Without a clear goal, how can you make your message to the customer clear? A clear goal will include what action you want your customers to take, how you will motivate them towards this action, and which group of your current or potential customers you are targeting with your message.

2. Target the right audience

It doesn’t matter how well-crafted your message is if it isn’t reaching the right people. The segment of your current or prospective customer base should be directly in line with the goal you set for your campaign.

Example 1:  Opening a new physical store

If you’re planning on opening a new physical store, you will want to make your customers aware of this – but, which customers will care? If you’re opening a new store in Arizona, sending this news to your online customers on the East Coast will not be ideal as the news is irrelevant to them. An effective target group would include online customers with Arizona based addresses.

Example 2:  Offering a new product

If you’re trying to make customers aware of a new product being sold on your online store, you will want to target the customers most likely to not only buy the product, and filter out any customers who would not be valuable targets. You might consider building your target group around customers who have purchased items of the same brand before, but have not purchased a similar product recently.

3. Take steps to avoid spam filters

Unfortunately, the prevalence of junk and scam e-mail means that part of creating an effective campaign is taking steps to ensure that your marketing message is not assumed to be spam and filtered out before it ever reaches your customers’ inboxes.

  • Keep your e-mail lists clean. Lists with a large number of invalid e-mail addresses are more likely to lead to future e-mails being considered spam.
  • Have a clean subject line. The most common junk e-mail subject lines are: “Act Now” and “Limited Time Offer.” Spam filters tend to use these as red flags to determine if a message is spam or legitimate marketing. When in doubt about a particular subject line, check your own junk e-mail folder and see what phrases are used there. Similarly, avoid typos, using all capitalized words, or multiple exclamation marks in the subject line, as these are also frequently associated with spam.
  • Don’t use too many images. A high text-to-images ratio is very common in spam. Most e-mail service providers recommend having about a 60/40 ratio of text-to-images in your message.

4. Send your e-mail at the right time

Typically, messages sent overnight or late in the day end up being deleted rather than read. The best time to reach your customers will vary based not only on your industry, but your customer base. MailChimp has done a large amount of analysis on this topic and has a helpful article that covers the best times in detail.

5. Create click-worthy content

Once a customer sees your e-mail in their inbox, the battle is only half won. The effectiveness of your campaign now rests on the content of the message. Consider three things when creating your content: an enticing subject line, an easy-to-navigate layout, a clear call to action.

6. Measure the effectiveness of your e-mails

The most common measurements to look at are open rates and click-through rates. These metrics give you an idea of how many people your message is actually reaching and how many of those customers are actually acting on your messages.

As a marketer, you already know that nothing is set in stone. We create. We innovate. We sell.

However, these are the pointers that have kept the marketing campaigns straight and my clients sane and healthy in today’s tough market.

So, you MAY take the pains to keep this in mind.

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Why Most Email Newsletters Fail

By Posted on 4 min read 18 views
Tools like Curated, Goodbits and TinyLetter made it easier than ever to start a newsletter. Many people took advantage of these great tools and began building lists and curating content.

The problem?

These tools don’t suddenly make people care about what you have to say. Marketers, the chief offenders of bad emails, took it too far this year. Most newsletters flopped, whether the creators are willing to admit it or not.

Here are a few reasons why most newsletters fail along with some suggestions on sending an email that actually works.

They don’t start at the beginning.

Most newsletters send recent posts to subscribers. Regardless of when the subscriber joins, everyone receives the same information at the same time. Dropping a reader into the content slipstream is the easiest way to send a newsletter, but it’s certainly not the best.

A new visitor to your site lacks context. How has your blog evolved? How do you help people succeed? What do other readers know that they don’t?Answering these questions goes a long way towards earning loyal readers.

New subscribers to the Vero blog receive a six-step campaign. The first email welcomes the new subscriber and shares the Vero blog “Hall of Fame.” These aren’t our most-trafficked posts, they are the highest-converting posts.

Next, we send a series of five emails explaining how we can help them succeed. We offer content as well as tips for using our app to send better emails. Within the first few days of subscribing, we send four emails. We want to provide the most useful information we can while the reader’s curiosity is piqued. After this campaign ends, subscribers simply receive our normal weekly newsletter.

Our strategy isn’t perfect, but it’s worked well. More than 50% of the early emails are opened. That’s more than double our weekly newsletter.

New readers need different information. Tailor their initial experience with a simple campaign to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

There is a disconnect between the audience and the content.

This problem isn’t unique to email marketing, but it’s the reason many newsletters go unread. People subscribe to newsletters for information that will help them succeed in their work or personal life. Promotion, therefore, falls on deaf ears.

This is the exact reason email can’t be viewed as a channel. Email can be used to build relationships at scale, but it requires that marketers move away from a “channel” mentality and towards a “user experience” mentality. That may seem like a subtle difference, but it results in completely different messaging. Marketers that view email as a channel gravitates towards blast emails and promotions. They burn through lists without regard for the subscribers’ needs or wants. Marketers that focus on user experience deliver content that helps the subscribers succeed. They, in turn, are rewarded with loyal customers.

It’s what ad man Bob Hoffman calls “brand babble”:

Modern marketing is operating under the delusion that consumers want to interact with brands, and have relationships with brands, and brand experiences, and engage with them, and co-create with them.

Sorry, amigo. Not in this lifetime.

Make sure the content of your emails is what your readers need. Without empathy, your email is doomed to fail.

It’s sent too often or not often enough.

Creating a publishing schedule is a positive constraint that results in big wins for your business. This starts by setting an expectation during the signup. If you promise an email every day, you better send one every day. And if you promise one every month, you can’t send one every week.

A schedule is a key to creating habitual readers. They must know when to expect your emails or your results will be wildly inconsistent. If you plan to test subject lines and calls to action, send time is a variable you need to consider. Make a promise to your readers and keep it.

Users don’t actually ask for them.

Email marketing is the pinnacle of permission-based marketing. This means you have the privilege, not the right, to communicate with prospects, leads and customers. It’s the #1 reason we see email marketers fail and the #1 reason we see them succeed. As Seth Godin says, it’s all about building trust and earning respect.

It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

If you’re sending your newsletter to trial sign-ups who didn’t explicitly request your emails, you’re breaking that trust.

Respect the inbox, deliver value and you can succeed.

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