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Regaining consent for GDPR – you’ve got no chance.

With the GDPR deadline imminently upon us, you’ll be forgiven for being a little bit tired of hearing about it all. Unfortunately for the vast majority of us; the 25th May is not the end of it all, but merely the beginning of compliance.

With that being said, you will have been receiving a vast amount of emails almost begging you to reconfirm your consent in order to continue receiving their ‘valuable content’. However I am sure it is not just me that has been experiencing a slight air of smugness hitting the delete button on some of those emails knowing that after 25th May, I’ll no longer have to deal with their spam anymore.

But this poses a number of questions both about the motivation of myself as a consumer to receive these emails and also the overall motivation of users when they subscribe to emails in the first place.

Did I ever care about receiving email communications from some of these companies?

In a previous article I talked about the Psychological Spam filter, the idea that you become so disillusioned with a company’s communications that you automatically just delete it without even giving the email, subject line or company a second thought. Is this what is happening with re opt-in emails? The frequency of these emails finding their way into my inbox is becoming tedious and it is almost for this reason alone that I don’t even bother clicking on them; simply because it’s easier for me not to.

A large part of it admittedly is that I just simply don’t care about receiving the communications that companies are sending me emails asking me to re-opt into. When originally signing up for an email in the past, I just opted-in at the time probably because the box was already checked and I passively agreed to it.

This time, though; I am being asked to make a conscious decision again about whether I would like to continue receiving comms from the company in question. 90% of the time, the answer is no – not because I don’t like that company anymore but mainly because the likelihood is that I never really wanted to receive comms from them in the first place.

Does this mean that there is something that can be done to your emails in order to encourage people to opt-in again and continue receiving your communications? For a vast majority of people… no, I really don’t think that there is.

There will be a small number of people that see one of these emails and have a compelling reason to re opt-in; I have done so for Manchester United, Gymshark and JustGiving. Just three companies that have sent me a re opt-in email that I have actively clicked and acted upon. But the rest; I have deleted or ignored.

In a previous blog post we provided a template that you can use to try and re opt-in as many people as possible because it is still extremely important to do this. If anything, the people that do re opt-in are actually the ones that are most engaged and more likely to make a purchase from your company so I would recommend running a campaign to these people. Why not try a “thanks for resubscribing” email with a discount for their loyalty; you could see quite a few sales made out of this.

The rest: a small portion you may be able to capture the interest of but it is time to start thinking of other ways to get people to update their preferences.

What else can we do?

Out of all of the companies that I have seen actively engaged with their GDPR duties, Manchester United definitely came out on top for me. They ran campaigns that weren’t solely based online and even ran pitch-side banners instructing people to opt-in to communications. With millions of viewers tuning in for each premier league game as well as just shy of 75,000 people in the stadium for each home match; this is a pretty sizeable audience to appeal to. Throw in social media campaigns and competitions encouraging people to opt-in or out for their chance to win a signed shirt and the club from the west of Manchester deliver a well executed campaign to capture as many re opt-ins as they can.

Image courtesy of BT Sport

While we don’t have the luxury of being a premier league club with millions of followers and one of the biggest stadiums in world football, we do have the same mediums to communicate with existing and potential customers in order to encourage them to opt-in to compliant communications under the GDPR.

My main tips for encouraging the maximum amount of people to engage are as follows:

  • Be honest – tell them about the law, why it has changed and what this means for them. Tell them about how seriously you take personal data protection and that you are committed to being compliant with the new law
  • Explain the benefits for remaining connected – this is where you need to think about the reasons why people would want to be connected with you and receive your communications.
  • Keep it simple – make it really easy for someone to opt-in (or out). Arguably if someone really does want to stay in touch with you they will give their consent however they have to but for those slightly on the fence, a tedious re opt-in process may just be the straw that breaks the camels back.
  • Broaden your horizons – don’t just rely on one medium to try and regain consent – try social media, direct messaging, adverts, personal chats etc

After the 25th May hits it is the beginning of a new era for personal data and data privacy. This is a good thing, no matter how it has been portrayed. With our data more secure and our audiences more refined, we are entering a new phase of marketing where it is better to be up front and conversational with potential customers.

Want to find out how you can make more out of your online presence to engage with your potential future customers? Get in touch and let’s talk – it could be the start of something wonderful.

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