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GDPR Embrace Opportunity!

What we have been seeing recently are messages that can generating a feeling of fear and reprisal around GDPR and yet very little on the potential opportunity this change can bring to a business! So ever the optimists at Philosophi, we're going to focus on that.

GDPR - embrace opportunity post


With the new GDPR rules coming into play next year, we’ve seen a lot of content focusing on the negatives and spreading fear. Whilst change like this is always going to be challenging, there are actually many positive opportunities that these changes can bring to a business! So, ever the optimists at Philosophi, we’re going to focus on that.

We know that in May 2018 new regulations will be in place (GDPR) to protect us all from cyber crime, unsolicited sales and marketing communications and a greater control over who has access to our personal data.

What does GDPR mean?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR is a new legal framework for any business who has a day to day responsibility for data protection. Quite simply, if you have a list of email subscribers, that’s you!

Looking at email marketing specifically, one of the changes to consider is how marketers promote, obtain and store consent provided by subscribers. GDPR is going to demand that mailing list consent is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous” in order to be compliant.

Let’s put this into real terms.Say you ran a competition, a prize draw perhaps on a social platform directing users to sign up with their email address. Your prize draw is all legal and above board, but you did not specifically state that you’d be adding users to your mailing list (but in fact this is exactly what you did).. this will be non compliant. Equally, if you have ever assumed implied consent (when someone doesn’t say no), through asking for an email address in return for a whitepaper download for example, this is also non compliant.

Where’s the Opportunity? 

Like it or not, we are all going to need to clean up our data and while this might make you feel a bit fearful, why can’t it have the opposite effect? Many people will have an email database that has taken years to grow and nurture, it’s cost you time, effort and ultimately money. Most campaign platforms charge per subscriber so it can also cost you money every time you send a marketing email. With open rates at around 10% and click through rates at 1.1% for ecommerce (according to Mailchimp) that’s a lot of email that is not working for you.

So, what would you rather have?  A smaller marketing list that contains users who are actively engaged in your brand and offering, who mostly open and click on your emails or a bigger list with only a  small percentage of users who are ever engaging with you?

How to Maximise on this Opportunity

The reality is that pre May 2018 you are going to need to make sure that every single contact on your list has definitely given you full consent to email them. This is going to result in some very careful communication and a rather large data cleaning exercise. Will lots of people unsubscribe? yes most likely, are these the people you want to talk to? no, probably not.

This is the perfect time to start a data cleaning campaign that will most likely see more engagement from your database than ever. So where to start? here are our tips:

Segment your data into data that is compliant with GDPR and non compliant- i.e implied consent (they’ve bought from you before, or downloaded a  whitepaper), or did not double opt-in (where they receive a confirmation email on sign up and confirm their email address). Depending on the power of your email marketing system, it should be possible to have users segmented to new lists after completing an action, for example, reconfirmed consent, not yet opened etc

Design an email Tell them that you are GDPR compliant, their data is safe and give them the opportunity to stay on your list or leave (a clear and automated unsubscribe button is needed), why not offer an special promotion or discount at this stage? A specific code for this list will allow you to track the effectiveness of not only who remains on your list but also who uses the code.  Use this as a great opportunity to engage these users and ask for their feedback, what do they want to hear about? what sort of frequency are they happy receiving emails from you?

Design a second email for your non-Compliant database.  Be honest and clear about what you need them to do. People respond well to brands who are up front about these things and you will develop a more trusting relationship with your customers for doing so.  Tell them you need them to opt in, and make it clear what they will receive from you by way of emails. You could say something along the lines of ‘by staying on our email list you will receive special emails regarding promotions, products launches and exclusive discount codes.’ that sort of thing. People are more likely to engage if there is good reason – discounts and exclusive news can be a great incentive. As above, use the opportunity to find out what they want and like from you via email and how often they want it.

Design a follow up email for users who have not responded and opted in to the first one (non-compliant only) – ‘we don’t want to lose you’ ‘please stay, we’ll miss you’ that sort of thing. Depending on your business you can be quirky and cheeky to encourage a response if it’s appropriate 🙂 The Joules emails for example have subject lines like ‘ hello stranger’ and ‘it’s been a while’ with quirky animal related email designs:

joules email 2

philosophi - email examples - joules - sheep


Amend your email sign up box on your website to make it clear what subscribers are signing up for and make sure this is a double opt in process. This covers you under GDPR rules.

To ensure you are GDPR compliant, you will need to remove all users who did not open these emails from your list. This is not to be cried over, anyone who wants to be there and engage with your product or brand already is and now they trust you even more than they did before! priceless!

If you want to read about the GDPR regulation changes, check out the ICO site for more detail

For further help and advice, give us a tinkle on 01326 567182, drop us an email, yes we are ok with that 🙂 or chat to us on twitter at @ourphilosophi

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