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The beast from the EU - GDPR!

This whole GDPR thing is driving me crazy!

Not from the point of knowing what to do, but the junk that people are sharing about the massive amounts of change that you need to make to be compliant.

And to be honest, there is a lot of scaremongering too around what we should and shouldn't be doing with our data when it comes to online and digital marketing.

We have spent a lot of time on the phone with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and have poured over the many resources they have on their website - click here to access the information on their website.

My advice, if you are unsure about anything, call them.

Don't waste your time on going to seminars with people that don't understand what it's all about, one that I paid to go to had a PR person running it, and she couldn't answer my questions about email data already collected. We don't have any offline data, and everything goes through our business system, Kajabi. So to get the answers, I went to the people who are enforcing the "new" rules!

The phone service is aimed at people running small businesses or charities in the UK. Dial the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 and select option 4 to be diverted to staff who can offer support - and their support is AMAZING!

Here's what we have learned in brief - and you should seek direct advice from the ICO or a legal professional for yourself also. They will be able to speak directly into your situation, of which I can't.

The ICO has said to us that with regards to email marketing data, this is not specifically regulated under the new GDPR directive. Currently, it goes hand in hand with the Data Protection Act (which you should already be registered with) and with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. These regulations will soon be replaced by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which is still under review, and there are no guidelines on it yet that the ICO can give us.

Having said all this, confirmed with the ICO, we are recommending that clients look at and consider at least these two things to prepare and be whiter than white when it comes to email marketing.

Number 1 is needed, number 2 is a "good idea" the ICO advisor said to me. These actions will assist in providing an audit trail so this can be tracked from previous data and also make specific changes for future data collection.

1 - Convert all lists to Double-Opt-In or Include a Manual Checkbox to Confirm Subscription

When most people set up their lists they set up with Single Opt-in. This is not allowing subscribers to confirm their consent and the fact that they have opted into the form does not cover us anymore.

From 25th May, if you collect an opt-in from anyone in the EU or as a business in the EU, you must get explicit consent from subscribers that they want future emails from you.

If your email marketing system does not offer a double-opt-in out of the box, you can add a checkbox to forms and checkouts that must be checked by the user (not pre-checked) to confirm the manual action of saying "Yes! I want to get emails from you." Both the double opt-in and the checkbox gives an audit trail to have the human opt-in consent.

We use Kajabi and this provides us with the ability to add checkboxes to opt-in forms and to have a checkbox on our checkout pages to confirm that subscribers want to get marketing emails from us.

A lot of businesses have permission to email, rolled up in terms and conditions. That has to come out and you must get the explicit consent now.

2 - List cleaning and sending a broadcast email advising of GDPR and getting an indication of consent.

For old data, if we have no indication of consent other than the opt in itself, the only way to indicate consent for future mailings is to clean up the list a little.

To do this, you can send an email to your list giving them two links to click.

One that says "Yes, keep me subscribed", send them to an opt-in form and ensure you have the opt-in or checkbox consent.

The other link in the email (which should be in EVERY email you send), should offer them the ability unsubscribe from your list.

These links give people the option to leave the list or to indicate that they want to stay on the list.

– – –

Those are two quick-fire tips, but for your situation, call the ICO, get the advisor on the phone to give specific information with regards to your situation and get compliant before 25th May 2018. There may be more things that you need to consider, they can help you directly AND for free!

There isn't a lot of work to do, we should already be most of the way there, it's just a case of dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

Here's the useful links and numbers again:

I hope this gives you some foresight and guidance on where to go to get the right help.

Have fun!

 

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