GDPR – Great Darn Pain, Right?

Well, yes and no. A little bit of a pain for us entrepreneurs but for consumers, (which we also are), not so much.

So what the heck is it anyway? It stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is a new law taking effect May 25, 2018 for all European Union (EU) residents.  The goal is to protect consumer privacy and their data.

If you don’t market to or do business with anyone in the EU, you can skip this for now. But, if you collect any data from anyone at any time that reside in the EU, you must comply with GDPR. AND…resident of the EU also means anyone in the world who is staying in the EU at the time of doing any type of business with you. If your friend goes to France on vacation and signs up for your webinar while there, you have to comply with GDPR.

Plus the steps are good business and marketing practices and other countries are already proposing similar standards. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the US do something soon in light of all the Facebook stuff.

If your business is located in the EU non-compliance fines can be up to 4x your revenue (ouch!), in the US, we’re just not sure yet how that’ll play out. But do you really want to be the test case?

There’s a lot of misinformation and scare tactics out there, so we’re breaking down exactly what you need to look at. NOTE: this is not intended to be legal advice we always encourage you to speak to your small business attorney for further guidance – especially if your business is based in the EU.

Check your Privacy Policy.

Privacy is the main reason GDPR exists, so take a look at your Privacy Policy. Be sure it complies with all GDPR requirements which include that you have a link to your policy on every page of your website.

You may need double opt-in. Double opt-in is NOT required, unless…you are collecting sensitive customer data such as race, sexual orientation, health, etc. For a full list go here. Otherwise, you can keep using single opt-in. Now whether that’s the best email marketing practice? Well, that’s a whole other blog.

Confirm Consent.

You may need to update your opt-in forms. GDPR requires an unchecked box on your form that people need to check to confirm they want to receive updates from you. You also need to be explicit on what those updates will be. For example, if you are a Life Coach and your opt-in form is for a Stress Less Ebook, your opt-in form should say something like: “By checking this box I agree that I will receive updates and promotions from Life Coach about stress and healthy living.”
That means you can email that person about stress and healthy living only. You can’t just start selling jewelry and emailing your list asking them to set-up a party with you. By the way, you shouldn’t be doing that now either – it’s Spam.

You may need to Reconfirm Consent. 

For folks on your list already, if you haven’t had a checkbox on your opt-in form, or you did and it was pre-checked, you may need to ask for consent again. BUT…if you had an unchecked box that people had to check and you were also clear on the type of emails they’d receive from you, nothing to worry about. Otherwise, now would be the perfect time to clean-up your list and do a re-engagement campaign. Hit us up if you need help with that.

Send Appropriate Messages.

Can you email everyone on your list? Yes and no. If you sell a Home Organization package to someone, you can’t just add them to your mailing list and send them your newsletter. You can email them about the product they purchased and then ask permission to add them to your promotional list.

Don’t hide your Unsubscribe.

You’re probably already doing this, but be sure there is an unsubscribe link in every single email and make it visible.  Don’t be afraid of this, if people want to unsubscribe they either aren’t your ideal customer or you may have a content problem.

Protect Your Data.

You have to maintain data in a way that the information is secure. Typically this is done using email software such as Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, Drip, etc. In those cases just check the support area for a GDPR compliance notices. All of your bigger ones are up to speed. If you’re not using a software for this and keeping track manually, you want to switch – soon.

Your Action Steps:

  • Add a checkbox to all opt-in forms that is NOT checked already.
  • Use this wording by your checkbox: “By checking this box I agree to receive promotional materials and other marketing messages related to (topic) from (company name).”
  • Add a note to the bottom of your form like: We agree to maintain your privacy, you can view our full privacy agreement here. (link to your privacy policy)
  • Do a list clean-up and a re-engagement campaign.
  • Double-check that all of your emails have an easy and prominent way for people to unsubscribe.
  • If you aren’t already using an email marketing software, sign-up for one. Mailchimp is free and a good choice if you’re just getting started.
  • For more information and resources visit the EU GDPR Website.

Got questions or need help? Just hit us up, we love to chat with our peeps and especially love helping you get the best processes in place for you and your biz. Talk soon!

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