How to avoid making GDPR a customer turnoff

Article by:Ilona Hitel


(Or, oh no, not another article about GDPR!)
It’s May 25th 2018 and you want to send an email inviting your database of contacts to a great event you’re hosting. But wait, do you have their consent to email them, or to even hold their data?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means you’ll have to ask these questions, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve got to drown your database in regulatory detail. Simply put, it’s time to ask the A-Z of your CRM to confirm they’re happy to continue hearing from you.
Like all of you, we’ve been on the receiving end of more than a few of these emails of late, nudging us to opt in, review our subscription preferences, or, believe it or not, unsubscribe. We’ve also been asked by clients to write a few to help them optimise the process.
As the 3-month countdown gathers pace, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
So amidst all the confusion, here are some simple dos and don’ts to making the GDPR deadline an opportunity to grow your dialogue, rather than turn off your audience.

  • Send an opt-in email to your database, as opposed to an opt-out. Focus on the positive!
  • Use charm, humour and creativity. It is way more likely that they will respond.
  • Choose an interesting subject line… opt in/unsubscribe, not really the best to get your readers to stay engaged.
  • Talk about what they are missing out on – reiterate the benefits of remaining a subscriber.
  • Make it exclusive and highlight the convenience benefits of opting in. Relay that by opting in, they will receive up-to-date news and information “straight to their inbox”.

  • Ask why you might not have heard from them lately. This shows you understand them.
  • Send it from a named individual who might have a title other than sales.
  • Use a single, one-click opt-in process which makes it so much easier to get the customer to turn on, typically these score 20-30% higher ratings than other more convoluted opt-ins.


  • Send an opt-out email to your subscribers sounds obvious, but even the largest organisations have done it.
  • Get bogged down in GDPR minutiae: they’ve heard it all before.
  • Send a lengthy email. Instead, have a clear and concise call to action.
  • Make the subject line unappealing. Make sure it’s personal.
  • Don’t leave it too late!

Imagine sending your campaigns to customers and prospects who have chosen to hear from you! GDPR is an opportunity to improve the quality of communication you have with clients and prospects, and will benefit every industry. This evolution in email communication is only set to make it a more strategic channel in the marketing process, and if marketing automation has taught us anything, an engaged database is a sure path to building a solid pipeline and stronger customer relationships.


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