Did anyone read your GDPR permission messages?

29th May 2018 | Posted in GDPR, Marketing communications, Newsletters

The deluge of requests in our inboxes left many with GDPR fatigued

GDPR Day has been and gone in the UK. The 25th May was the “deadline” set for organisations of all shapes, sizes and purposes to update their privacy notices and make sure their audience was happy to continue receiving emails. (Apparently it wasn’t a deadline, more a beginning, but we won’t go into that here.)

There’s been a great deal of confusion around who needs to ask for permission and what sort. One article suggested that if you have to ask recipients to re-subscribe then you probably already haven’t got the right to be contacting them, and therefore would be breaking the rules to ask them to confirm their permission. Or something like that.

Whatever the rights and wrongs, a huge number of people have received a huge number of emails asking them to take action.

As an observer as well as a participant, it’s been interesting to see the various approaches people have taken to writing emails they don’t want to send to people who don’t particularly want to receive them.

  1. The “we’re doing this entirely for your benefit” folk. Yeah right, and who do you think is going to believe that? You’ve been told you have to do it by someone, so just be honest.
  2. The “sorry but it has to be done” group. I’m one of the apologists myself. Just say what needs to happen – but remind people what they get and what they’ll miss if they don’t re-sign.
  3. The “nothing to do with me mate” sector. There is one newsletter in particular I’ve been trying to unsubscribe from forever, and I thought this would be my opportunity. But have they been in touch? Nope. It’s a business, albeit small, and based in the UK. So unless they’re part of group 4, they are very naughty.
  4. The “actually we understand this better than most and we don’t need to email you” brigade. There are cases where re-confirmation isn’t needed. Some organisations definitely fall into this category, some are ready to argue the point, and some are just pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, including their own.
  5. The “oh, was I supposed to be sending you newsletters?” people. The ones who apparently have been holding our details for some time, and have suddenly decided to start putting newsletters together. It’s all right, it won’t last, but it may be safer to unsubscribe anyway.

As the dust settles

It’s been pretty scary for marketing. It’s bad enough having to ask readers to be interested enough to confirm they still want to hear from you. But how do you address GDPR confirmation fatigue? All those people who would quite like to read your news and offers, but really can’t be bothered to plough through all those emails, and so just delete everything instead?

Everyone is likely to see their lists severely pruned. I had a mailing list of just 130 people for our village craft group. That’s now down to 30.

But has Mailchimp expert Robin Adams points out, it’s not the end of the world. We can see it as an opportunity. My 30 are actively interested in hearing from us. The others aren’t sufficiently interested to receive the email, so it’s unlikely they will put the effort in to visit our fairs or buy our products. So let’s not waste their time, or ours, telling them about stuff they don’t care about. If they really miss us, they’ll come back.

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