After a few weeks and lots of conversations with email marketers, it’s clear that the major impact of GDPR for marketers is the pressure of maintaining a large and healthy list. Here are a few anecdotes that illustrate the kind of challengesGDPR presents:
Re-permissioning: Many marketers decided to re-permission their lists to ensure that they had affirmative consent. To do this, many sent an email requesting that subscribers click on a link within the email to “stay connected.” While this is just one of many approaches to re-permissioning, our clients have reported “save” rates below 30 percent in most cases for this strategy, leading to dramatically smaller lists — which presents a major challenge.
Changing permission techniques: Since GDPR requires unambiguous, affirmative consent, many marketers have had to move away from ‘“softer” forms of gathering consent (e.g., pre-checked checkbox, opt-out), and instead implement “harder” forms of gathering consent (e.g., requiring client to take an action to opt into a list). Since harder forms of gathering consent require more subscriber effort, list growth has decreased for many marketers.
So what can a marketer do if his list growth has been affected by GDPR? I’d recommend two broad approaches.
1. Make the most of your current list. If you’ve had to re-permission your list to stay compliant with GDPR, there are several approaches you can take to get more out of the list you have left. These include:
2. Replenish your list. In addition to doing more with what you have, you should also explore being more active in growing your list. Of course, you’ll need to meet GDPR standards for obtaining permission (as applicable). Recommendations include:
Note that as you try new techniques to grow your list, you’ll need to focus on both quantity and quality. Review the activity levels, both good (opens, clicks, conversions) and bad (complaints, unsubscribes) to understand the impact of each acquisition initiative.
In the end, I believe that GDPR will make us all better email marketers. However, in the short run, there are some major challenges to overcome.
This article originally appeared on Media Post.
George Bilbrey is the founder of the industry’s first deliverability service provider, Assurance Systems, which merged with Return Path in 2003. He is a recognized expert on the subjects of email reputation and deliverability and is active in many industry organizations, including the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) and the Online Trust Alliance (OTA). In his role as president of Return Path George is the driving force behind the ongoing innovation of our products and services. Prior to Return Path, George served as Director of Product Management at Worldprints.com and as a partner in the telecommunications group at Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. in economics from Duke University, and an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina.
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