GDPR is a good thing!

3 Reasons Why The New Law Is Exactly The Kick In The Pants All Marketers Needed

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If you read email, chances are you’ve come across the acronym “GDPR” about 1,000 times since May 25th.

Are you wondering why your inbox has been flooded with updated Privacy Policy notices or requests that you opt into communications you’ve already opted into?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is a new privacy law that has gone into effect that regulates how businesses collect, use or store the personal data of EU citizens.

If you use Mailchimp, which many of my clients do, you may have seen their explanation of GDPR here.

I am not a lawyer and do not intend to explain the minutiae of the law or provide legal counsel in this post. If you work with or ever plan to work with or collect information from or track the website whereabouts of folks in the EU, you should consider hiring legal counsel to make sure you comply with GDPR.

As a marketer, however, I wanted to reflect on what I’ve seen happening in my inbox for the past few weeks and share my brand of non-panic with all of you. You see, GDPR is a good thing. For all of us. Here’s why.

GDPR IS an endorsement of and push to create a world of permission marketing.

The incredible Seth Godin coined the term permission marketing, which is the opposite of traditional advertising of the bygone Mad Men era where you were forced to sit through TV commercials and your radio programs, and you hoped everyone paid attention to your magazine ads instead of continuing to read their articles.

Permission marketing is all about building meaningful relationships with those who are actually interested in your brand. Asking their permission and letting them opt in to hearing about what you’re up to and what you have to sell them. Seth Godin explains this simply as “turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers.”

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that this is how I roll. I’m not looking for high follower counts on Instagram or massive purchased-from-elsewhere mailing lists.

In the work I do with my clients, we choose quality over quantity. We build a base of raving fans and brand ambassadors. We cherish our loyal followers and make sure they know it. We grow our communities through enthusiastic word of mouth (online and in person).

If GDPR is pushing an embrace of permission marketing from every company everywhere, I’m pretty sure that’s good for all of us.

GDPR Is an excuse to get rid of your disengaged subscribers.

Why do you have an email list in the first place? To build an eager, enthusiastic community and to make that money!!

People who subscribed ages ago and no longer open your emails are not part of that community, and they are certainly not going to buy anything they don’t even know exists. Now that the EU is cracking down on abusing data, you have an excuse to get rid of your disengaged subscribers, no matter what country they live in!

I love a good excuse to clean your email list! If they’re not opening or responding or clicking on what you’re sending, why keep trying?? Good riddance, people who are not a right fit!

GDPR Is a chance to refresh your Privacy Policy.

First, let’s state the obvious. If you don’t have a Privacy Policy for your business and website, you should.

Here’s your kick in the pants to get one.

If you’re like me, and you hadn’t looked at your Privacy Policy in a year of so, it’s probably time to review and revise again. Here’s the thing – not only does your policy protect you in a legal sense, it also serves as a reminder that you actually care about your community and their data. That you are actively seeking their permission and understanding of how you use it. And considering carefully your own personal values and boundaries around that use.

Being as clear as possible about how you use a person’s data (whether that’s their behavior on your website or their email, name, birthdate, etc.) establishes trust between you and your past, present and future clients.

Also… don’t be Facebook.

I have several clients who are hesitant to use Facebook as a marketing tool now that improper use of user data has angered and caused anxiety among their global base. My clients have a social conscience and aren’t too keen to align themselves with a company that profits off our most personal info.

(Many of my clients also don’t realize Facebook owns Instagram so simply creating an Instagram strategy in place of a Facebook one is not the answer. In case you were thinking this… I suggest you use these platforms, but responsibly.)

So, don’t be a Facebook. Protect your users’ data. Use it wisely and with care. Give them ample and easy opportunities to opt out whenever they please. No matter where they live.

I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.

Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.