So when was the last time you reviewed the data you use as part of your email marketing?

Have you fallen into the rut of sending out an email once a month to the same list full of thousands of contacts you have racked up over the years?

It may not be high on your priority list but reviewing your email marketing subscriber list/s is an important task; not only to ensure you are optimising these lists and using them to their full potential, but also generally making sure they are up to date and in line with data protection regulations.

Whether this blog post makes you understand the importance of auditing your subscriber list, the upcoming changes to GDPR will mean that you are likely to require a data audit anyway.

Keep reading to understand the importance of auditing your data, and how GDPR is going to affect you.

Importance of auditing your email list

Keeping your data up to date

The most important change for your email subscriber list, will of course be the email address. Although we wish this was the case, your contacts aren’t going to make the effort to tell you if they have a new email address, or if someone has left the business and this is your replacement contact.

Whatever it may be you need to make sure your data is up to date so you aren’t missing out on opportunities.

In addition to this, if you segment your data based on services or products that customers purchase, are you keeping this up to date? A customer may start out just using one service or product, but overtime this can change, and you wouldn’t want to try to upsell to an audience which is no longer relevant because you haven’t kept your data up to date.

Send targeted email marketing

To fully make the most of your email marketing efforts you need to understand the demographics of your subscribers and even what and how they react to messaging.

If you send out a generic email to a generic data list, the likelihood of this leading to a conversion is minimal. And at the end of the day what is the point in spending time and effort creating emails when you have spent equivalent time and effort to optimising your messaging and target audience. This optimisation is what leads to enquiries and other actions.

Ensuring your data is accurately segmented into demographics and interests will allow you to run targeted email marketing campaigns

Why you should do it now – GDPR

Do you know what GDPR is? The answer is probably not, and even if you do then you probably don’t understand how upcoming changes are going to impact your business.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) helps protect EU citizens from privacy, data breaches, and personal data being used in unwanted ways. However as of the 28th May 2018 changes to the current GDPR directive will come into enforcement. So what are the key changes that you should be aware of, and how could they affect you?

Yes you may be thinking this is an EU regulation it won’t affect us following Brexit. But the UK government have already confirmed that they will be implementing the regulation.

Expanded territorial reach – company’s outside the EU which target customers in the EU will be subject to GDPR whereas this currently is not the case.

Accountability – If you are a data processor (someone/organisation that processes personal data) you will have to demonstrate compliance, this includes maintaining certain documentation, conduct a data protection impact assessment for more risky processing, and implement data protection.

Data protection officers – If your organisation is a public authority, processes data which requires regular monitoring, or process large scale or special data then you will need to assign a Data Protection Officer, whether they be employed or under service contract.

Consent – one of the most important changes for you to be aware of is that consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Consent requests should be separate from other terms and clear and in plain language. Your organisation must be able to clearly provide evidence of data consent if requested. Finally more specifically if your data is used for Direct Marketing then the data provider must have clear right to object.

Fines – if you are found to breach new GDPR then fines can be up to 4% of your annual turnover.

Data subjects’ rights – the update to the regulations have given data subjects increased ability to request information about the data being processed about themselves, access to the data, and correction of the data if it is inaccurate.

What you need to do

So what does this all mean?

Yes May 2018 seems a long time away still but it will come around sooner than you think. You need to start planning how you are going to make sure you are compliant.

Here are the key steps that you need to take:

  1. Understand your data – like why it is important to audit your data you need to understand what data you have, where it is stored, and how you are currently using this. This initial audit will allow you to fully understand your data, which will allow you to understand what your next steps will be
  2. Proof of compliance – As mentioned above you have to be able to prove that you are compliant with GDPR. If you have this already then great! If not then this year is going to be crucial for you to make sure that your data subjects have opted in to receive any form of communication and to all the communication you send them.
  3. I am not or not sure I am compliant – To avoid an unwanted fine then you are going to want to be 100% sure that you are compliant. To do this then you need to contact your data subjects to seek approval for using their data and detail all the purposes you wish to use it for. You must ensure that during this communication you give people the potential to opt out. Bear in mind you can’t expect everyone to reply to an email or letter so include a clause which states that if you have not confirmed you wish to opt out by a reasonable date then we will assume that you wish to continue to be contacted by your business.
  4. Review & Update Your Procedures – Once you know you are compliant with your current data, you will need to ensure that all future data remains that way. It’s time to implement procedures so that you gain proof of consent at the point you collect data, whether that be clear notice on a website sign up form, written consent in an client welcome pack, or much more.

Let us audit your email marketing

Whether you know your email marketing is in dire need of an audit, or you are completely lost with GDPR then get in touch with our team today to find out how we can conduct an email marketing audit for your business to ensure you are maximising your potential and ready for May 2018.

Contact the team on 01793 766040 to find out more.

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