At the time this article is being written, we are less than 10 days from the entry into force of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and you are certainly overwhelmed with information on this subject. For example, you may have already noticed that some measures need to be put in place, such as evaluating your suppliers processing your data to ensure that they are compliant with GDPR. There is also another major question: your contacts’ consent.
Under GDPR, you will need to be able to prove that you have obtained consent from your contacts to continue sending them communications. And please be aware, GDPR will not only apply to new contacts acquired after 25 May 2018, it will also apply to all your existing contacts.
You must now ask yourself this question: What should I do to continue sending marketing emails to my contacts? Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything.
In which case should I conduct a requalification campaign?
A requalification campaign is a method used to update a contact list. In concrete terms, it allows you to re-obtain consent from your recipients. This method is already used by some marketers to maintain a sound base of contacts and continue to send successful email campaigns. In fact, by having less disinterested people in your contact lists and by targeting only people who have explicitly consented to receiving your communication campaigns, marketing emails are sent only to the people most interested in your content.
First of all, you need to determine the contact lists for which a new consent request is necessary. To do this, identify in which of the 3 situations listed below you are:
- Your contacts’ consent has been collected in a clear and transparent manner (via a website, an application, a paper form, etc.) and you have proof of that consent. In this case, there is no need to conduct a requalification campaign with these contacts, you can continue to send them marketing emails, as long as you keep the proof of this consent.
- Your contacts’ consent has not been collected in a clear and transparent manner… or not collected at all! ⛔ Please note, in this case, it is not possible to perform a requalification campaign because these contacts have never explicitly agreed to receive your information.
- Your contacts’ consent has been collected in a clear and transparent manner (via a website, an application, a paper form, etc.) but you do not have proof of that consent. ✅ If you are in this situation, you must conduct a requalification campaign to obtain their consent and prove it, in order to continue sending emails to these contacts after the entry into force of GDPR.
It is very important to emphasize that a requalification campaign should only aim to requalify contacts who have already given you explicit permission to contact them at some point in the past. Such a campaign should not be considered as a last-minute means of obtaining initial consent from your contacts just before the entry into force of the GDPR.
How to conduct a requalification campaign?
1. Use a tool to clean up your lists
The first step is to reduce the risk of a hard bounce (error or final failure message sent by the server of the recipient domain) that would be due to the presence of invalid addresses in your database. For this, we advise you to go through Briteverify. This tool will allow you to carry out an initial cleaning up of your list. Note, however, the following:
- This method does not guarantee that you will not have any hard bounce in your list, but it can reduce the number of invalid addresses.
- This clean-up is not a miracle cure against bad list creation practices. You must perform this clean-up on an already solid base, otherwise your contacts could report your emails as spam and cause your deliverability to plummet.
- The use of this tool does not mean that you have magically obtained the consent of your contacts. In other words, if you were in situation 2 above, you still cannot send them emails!
2. Segment your contact bases
Once this initial “hard bounce” clean-up has been performed, we recommend to segment your list according to the level of engagement of your contacts. To do this, identify customers who have not opened your emails in the last 12 months or more and remove them from your list. Let’s be honest: if they did not open your messages after a year, the game is lost in advance.
3. Look after the frequency and content of your campaigns
In order to create effective requalification campaigns, here are some good practices that we recommend you follow:
- Don’t just send an email that asks for consent. Instead, send an email reminding readers of the benefits of your newsletter and ask them to confirm that they want to continue to receive your valuable information. It is crucial to convince your readers. For example, if you have an e-commerce solution, explain that if they no longer receive your emails they will no longer benefit from your news about your latest products or your exclusive promotional offers.
- Do not send only one requalification email because not everyone will open this email. The frequency of sending is always a delicate subject in the world of email marketing. The idea is not to overwhelm contacts by sending too many communications. However, in order for your requalification message to be taken into account by your recipients, schedule a requalification campaign that contains a series of emails, over a defined period, with different content.
- Do not include just a “Yes, I want to continue to receive your information” button in your email. Allow customers to choose the opposite option, for example, “No, I do not want your information anymore.” This way, you can exclude people who said “No” from your future requalification emails. We recommend that you use clear and detailed statements on these buttons.
- Do not use a single communication channel to obtain new consent, but also target your contacts using other channels. For example, you can start a Facebook campaign to obtain their consent. Whatever the communication channel chosen, however, be sure to keep it once acquired.
And always ensure that your requalification campaign contains clear, transparent and concise information.
To help you, you will find below an example of a requalification email.
In the end, you really need to view the GDPR as an opportunity. This is in fact an opportunity to clean-up your lists by eliminating hard bounces and inactive contacts. This will increase the engagement of your best customers and strengthen the relationship you have with them. This new regulation is therefore a good thing for your marketing strategy!
Note, however, that subscribers may receive many renewal emails from brands and may feel overwhelmed, so the sooner you develop a requalification campaign, the more likely you are to get a response (a positive one for that matter!).
Once the explicit consent has been collected, be sure to keep it with all the necessary information in order to be able to prove it: the trace of the consent, the email address of the recipient as well as the date on which the consent was given.
That’s it, now that you have a sound base and engaged subscribers, you’re ready to send GDPR-compliant email campaigns!