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    How to prepare your email marketing for GDPR

    Mar 06, 2018 Zuzana Tomascikova 4 min read

    Has your company rehearsed for GDPR, but you are still lost as a marketer? What should you do to be ready and safe from the harm?

    Not only big businesses, but also SMEs have to be thinking ahead how to comply. Exponea worked out seven tips that would help any affected e-commerce, regardless of the size.

    1. Start using hashes for communication between 3rd party providers

    Are you using one vendor for sending and evaluating a customer satisfaction survey, and another one to deliver it to your customers?

    Establish a new ID, for example use SHA-256 hashing algorithm from your lower-cased emails, and let vendors exchange data this way. Only you hold the key which pairs the real email to a hashed ID.

    Exponea lets you set up multiple IDs to empower you in this decision. You can still automatically pair customers based on the new ID, but make sure that you renew your data policy agreement with your vendors to keep your customers informed, should they wish to review it any time.

    1. Dig up your consent data, if you did not use it now

    Sometimes, when you had been transferring data from an older to a newer solution, you did not import columns which you did not consider important. Just a subscription and an opted-out-flag was usually enough.

    Dig through your old automation tool data (e.g. Mailchimp, Mailgun) for an opt-in timestamp, IP and so on, which can be used as a basis for your customers’ consents.

    Exponea lets you additionally import any historical data or data from other systems to existing customers, so you will be able to fill in the consents, if you did not have them in Exponea yet.

    1. Analyze current and future campaigns

    Find out whether you have asked the customer for their consent for every purpose…Think ahead and ask for a consent for future use cases, instead of relying on your general existing consent, e.g. a consent you obtained from your user just to use an email as a channel.

    Can you use all the data you have collected in a new use case? If it is a yes, because your previously gained consent allows that – happy days.

    1. Targeted campaigns to regain consent

    Establish purposes of collecting and processing data and start thinking about the reactivation campaign (GDPR: Consent reactivation campaign). Engaged users are more likely to give you their continuous consent, but what about the non-engaged ones?

    Your subscriber count will probably lower at first, but engagement rates will go up, as you are keeping engaged customers, with their explicit consent.

    Do you know what else does come hand in hand with this? Deliverability and inbox placement increases. Why? You are now targeting only engaged people and receiving domains will notice: your spam complaint rates or straight delete rates, which come into play, will get significantly lower with the engaged audience.

    Exponea helps you to use previous purchase, browsing or email data to personalize the subject line or the content, and make your creative content even more powerful.

    By undertaking Subject-line experiments Exponea can test the best ways for getting consent and revamp our communication with clients. Also, maybe it is worth mentioning that getting consent via SMS has a high open rate.

    1. Update your opt-out policies and establish consent groups

    Allow your subscribers to opt-out as easily as it was to opt-in.
    Ideal situation is one landing page in their profile, which allows the customers to exercise their GDPR rights: data deletion, anonymization, or just the option to unsubscribe from a daily newsletter should ideally be in one place.

    Use this place to emphasize the benefits of keeping the data: you can emphasize what could the customer get as a subscriber – that he would not get normally.

    In Exponea you can use the  custom consent page in Exponea’s Privacy Tutorial  to manage this portal. Likewise, you can use Data API to build your own and send relevant data to Exponea.

    Allow subscribers to take a one-month vacation from your emails, using a simple scenario in Exponea.

    1. Clean up your emailing database

    In order to do the spring-cleaning in your database, you can start with the following action points. Make sure that you are:

    • Using email as the main, unique ID
    • Pairing customers based on other ID, coming from your CRM, ecommerce solution or internal SQL database
    • Aware of all duplicate emails

    Regarding the duplicate emails, it is eminent to be aware of the consequences of one unsubscribed “profile”, where the customer receives an email next day anyway – due to her other existing profile… Do you think the customer would he care that you have had duplicate records?

    Can you pinpoint customers with session and purchases, who never open their email?

    Maybe it would make sense to ask your customers to use a web layer, next time they will be on site, providing that an email is the best channel for them, and that you can reach them in a better way.

    To make things easier, Exponea can help you with automatic deduplication of emails, apart from reports showing you who are the duplicates.

    Further Reading: We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on email deliverability to help you get your emails to the inbox.

    1. Map your data

    Before anything else, the best advice on hand would be an actionable checklist. Make sure you tick the following boxes and you have the answers ready.
    You should know…

    • the way your data flows between different processors
    • where your databases are
    • your weak points from the security point of view
    • for how long do you keep customer data
    • your data retention policies and you also identified their impact on the long-term user cases and programmes

    Do you have more questions? Have a look at the FAQs and the business impact of the new regulation and get GDPR savier.

    Read GDPR e-book

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