How can your email marketing survive the new GDPr?

Mailrelay , Invited guest @ Mailrelay

In 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation will came into effect, and we’ve already seen how this will affect email marketing campaigns, but what can we do to keep working with email marketing?

Today I’m going to give you my opinion and some impressions of what it is that we can do to work according to the new GDPR and keep working, creating efficient email marketing campaigns.

One of the fundamental changes will be for adding new subscribers to your email list:

  1. It will limit the use of popups and forms
  2. And the way lead magnets are used
  3. You will need to ask permission for the content you send
  4. And only send content the subscriber accepted to receive

With all this, it is normal that there are many people worried about future of email marketing. But what are the marketing strategies that could be implemented?

Well, in this post, I will try to talk about this topic and explain the best options for creating or changing your email marketing strategy.

Do you want to continue reading?

· What is the new GDPR?

It is the new General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into force in May 2018 and was created to unify the different regulations of the Member States of the European Union. This the law will bring clearer, but harder rules for companies and professionals working with email marketing, as well as offering more rights to citizens.

In this article, we will discuss the practical effects of this regulation for those of you who want to send email marketing.

And we will also look at some strategies we can apply to adapt our email campaigns to it.

· The opt-in forms and the GDPR

We have discussed this in a previous article.

You can see here an example of a subscription form:

ejemplo de formulario de suscripción

You can find the original on Marina Brocca’s lexblogger website, ahighly recommended blog, although it is not in English.

We have two main points:

  1. The box to mark the acceptance of the privacy policy
  2. The text with all the necessary information so that the user can give his consent transparently.

Of course, this will complicate and limit the use of popups. As it is a block of text, it will be difficult to insert it into a pop-up without creating a huge pop-up, which would affect its aesthetic.

In the case of many forms created using pop-up windows, we would have the same problem, the text would be too large, which would be a problem regarding layout.

And how about the subscription forms most bloggers add in the middle of the text?

Well, it’s a lot of text, and it would cut a lot of content, which would be a problem, in my opinion.

► What would be the best option for creating opt-in forms from now own?

The most logical thing is to place them at the bottom of the articles, where they bother less and we can put all the legal text necessary to obey the law.

But there is something else.

What is the problem?

That the subscription rates are lower in these positions. Many bloggers will tell you that popups are their most valuable resource for getting new subscribers.

And maybe it’s not just the location.

I have always thought that pop-ups have this effect and many users end up buying by impulse, while a reader who likes your articles and wants to receive more information will consider before signing up.

That means that the form at the bottom of your pages will be  viewed by readers who have reached the end of the article, so if they register, they are interested in more information.

We can think, and we would not be very wrong, that it will be possible to get higher quality leads, from people strongly interested in receiving the news and updates on our blog.

Even so, most websites will attract fewer subscribers, and we will have to adapt our digital marketing strategy.

► And what would be the option to add the forms in crucial points?

Yes, of course, there are options.

Instead of directly adding the form to the sidebar, or in the content, what we can do is add a banner inviting the user to register.

And this banner would lead to a landing page where we could create a subscription form with all the necessary options.

Yes, there are two steps, but it’s a reasonable option, right?

You could even have a popup with a button that would redirect the user to your landing page.

So things will not change that much, right?

What about lead magnets?

· What about lead magnets?

We will have to use our creativity again.

In GDPR it is established that we can send newsletters only if the user gave his specific permission for what will be sent.

That is if you create a subscription form with the following text:

  1. Subscribe to our newsletter to download our beautiful ebook

The only thing you could email to the subscriber would be the ebook because he gave his permission for you only to send him an ebook. Anything else you send would be considered illegal because the user didn’t authorize  you to send him anything else other than the ebook.

That could be a problem!

However, there is a solution. If you write something like:

  1. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our articles, our offers, and promotions. As a welcome gift, you can download our beautiful ebook.

As you can see, in this description, we are requesting permission for everything we will send by email.

Yes, it looks less attractive.

But it is the reality of what we would send to our subscribers.

· Content Marketing, More Important Than Ever

Yes, content marketing was already fundamental to a good email marketing strategy, in my opinion, it will now be even more.


Because, as we have already commented, it is entirely possible that, from now on, it will be more challenging to get new subscribers. And if we say something similar to:

  1. “Sign up for our newsletter so that we can send you promotions and sales emails

Many people will not be interested.

However, if we offer good content, useful material and, in general, something that our subscribers can take advantage of, it will be easier to get new subscribers. This strategy doesn’t only work for getting subscribers; it is beneficial for keeping them engaged.

That is, to increase the retention of subscribers, we have to work with an email marketing strategy that is not just focused on sales.

If before it was possible to work with a strategy that was not centered specifically on subscribers (I’m not saying that this was right), but it could work because before this law, it was easier to capture new subscribers.

But if the number of new subscribers is reduced, you will have to optimize your email marketing strategies, to capture subscribers correctly and don’t lose subscribers. If they are unhappy with your newsletters, they will end up unsubscribing or flagging your email as spam.

· Your email marketing campaigns should be an integral part of your service.

Do you think this is difficult?

It is not.

If we treat our email marketing campaigns as part of the services that we are offering, we will have more opportunities. That is, our newsletter should be:

  1. A channel to receive relevant information, which will help users take more advantage of the products, they have purchased.
  2. And where they can ask for more details.
  3. In addition to receiving useful information related to subscribers’ interests.

That is, our email marketing should be integrated with the service that we provide to our customers.

In my opinion, this way it will be possible to create much more efficient email marketing campaigns.

· Okay, but is it possible to use email marketing just to sell?

Yes, it will be possible, of course, why not?

What changes is that, when you create a subscription form, you will have to  specify clearly what you will send, for instance:

  1. “Subscribe to receive exclusive offerings and promotions”

Of course, described in this way, it looks like the user will sign up just to receive sales emails. Which is not very attractive. However, we could use something like:

  1. Subscribe and get the best articles from X, plus receive all our offerings and promotions. Includes 10% discount on the first purchase.

Now it seems more acceptable, right?

It will be possible to continue growing, but perhaps less aggressively.

· In summary

Email marketing and the laws that regulate it continue to progress and being modified. This shows that it is still a vital channel, that is why many countries create rules for regulating it, with the aim of protecting consumers from malicious messages or spammers.

For us, as companies working with email marketing, we have to adapt and look for ways to comply with the laws, modifying our strategies to offer more and more quality to our customers.

Undoubtedly, it will be possible to comply with the laws and succeed in creating newsletters.

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