Ticking the box – email marketing and consent

We all have ever fuller inboxes (unless you operate a rigorous deletion regime like I do – more here!) and avoiding as much email marketing material as possible might be high on the agenda for some.

In case you haven’t yet heard, regulations are changing in the Spring of 2018 … a new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is scheduled to come into force, and the UK Government has indicated that it will apply to UK business, irrespective of ‘Brexit’.

You can see some of the key changes that are likely to com about as a result of this regulation here.

One of the most important is the strengthening of consent.  Although it is currently not acceptable to simply grab a business card at a networking meeting, and then add someone to your mailing list, a lot of people do it.  It’s poor practice, and won’t benefit you in the long run as you will soon get a reputation for it, but if that’s how you want to grow your business, so be it.

Under the existing Data Protection directives, there are essentially two ways in which you can opt to receive marketing emails: you can agree, or you can not disagree.

This element of inaction being seen as acceptance is going out of the window, along with the annoying practice of pre-ticking tickboxes, so that you have to untick them to opt out.  In the future, you will have to explicitly tick a box in order to accept emails, so there will be far less doubt that it was a deliberate opt-in.

The process of unsubscribing is also likely to be improved, so that there is more obligation on the sender to ensure that youare removed from the list totally, if that is what you have requested.

 

Do I need to do anything?

The area will, no doubt, remain a minefield as the competition for our attention heats up in an ever more crowded world, but these regulations tighten up some loose ends, so make sure you are aware of your obligations as a business.

Specifically. make sure that your opt-in and consent forms are:

  • easy to read, and in plain English
  • totally clear about the consent being given
  • link to your company’s privacy policy (you have one, right?)
  • clearly mention what anyone signing up can do if they change their mind.

On the subject of that all-important privacy policy, check that [a] you have one and [b] it is up to date and compliant.

 

 

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