Using Data Privacy to Improve Your Subscribers’ Experience

Whether we like it or not, the GDPR has changed best practices for data privacy internationally, even here in Australia. The well-publicized fines for GDPR breaches are creating a landscape where subscribers are more protective of their personal data. To meet expectations we need to use better data privacy to improve your subscribers’ experience.

Of course, we’re all complying with the Australian Privacy and Spam Acts, but how do we improve this? 

The GDPR provides a framework that we can work against to provide better data privacy and a better subscriber experience. This is a general guide, focusing on the GDPR in relation to email marketing. As always, you should get specific legal advice for matters relating directly to your business.

Remind me what the GDPR is again

Before we jump into improving data privacy and subscribers’ experience, let’s take a brief refresher.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is an update to the European regulations that came into effect on 25 May 2018. It ensures that businesses are collecting and handling personal data in a way that protects the privacy of EU citizens.

Some Quick Terms

The GDPR outlines some specific terms, so we’ll just cover them quickly for clarity. As an email service provider, Vision6 is a “Processor” of data on behalf of “Controllers”, the businesses that use Vision6 for their email marketing. Controllers have primary responsibility for data protection (but we have also taken steps to ensure you have all the tools you need to help you become compliant). Lastly, the person that the data relates to is the Data Subject.

Alright, with that clear in our minds it’s time to look at how GDPR can improve our subscribers’ experience. We’re going to do this by examining the GDPR requirements and what we can learn from them.

Obtaining Informed Consent

According to the GDPR
You, as the controller, must obtain consent from the Data Subject for the processing of their data. This consent must be freely given, specific in its intent, and informed. 

Controllers must clearly spell out what type of personal data will be processed and why, as well as who will be processing the data and when. You are required to get separate consents for different data processing operations.

There must be clear evidence that an action has been taken to consent. The coverall phrase “by continuing…” is not good enough.

How does this help improve my subscribers’ experience?
When potential subscribers know exactly what they are going to receive from you they are more likely to sign up. This means you are going to have a more engaged audience and most likely higher engagement rates. 

With the quality of your list improving, your deliverability is also going to improve with lower spam complaints and unsubscribers. The better quality will also mean you will be able to achieve better targeting in your campaigns. Isn’t this sounding better already?

How do I do this in my email marketing?
Make sure that your sign-up webforms are GDPR compliant. They must be unambiguous and inform the subscriber what you will be doing with their data. Leave boxes empty for users to tick as an action of consent.

Vision6 webforms have an easy tickbox to enable GDPR-compliant components.

Another easy way to ensure you can prove consent is to set up a double opt-in process.

Proving Consent

According to the GDPR
In addition to obtaining clear consent, you must also be able to prove that express consent was given. This includes being able to show what has been consented to.

How does this help improve my subscribers’ experience?
If a subscriber’s consent is queried at any time you will be able to clearly prove it was given. Done well, being able to prove consent can characterize you as a transparent and trustworthy company. Do be careful not to share this information in a way that could offend the subscriber. 

How do I do this in my email marketing?
Make sure that the records your email marketing system keeps on subscribers is detailed and easily accessible.

In Vision6 contact details are all kept together. You can easily find the contact details and what they consented to in the Consent History tab. 

Subscriber’s Right to Data Access, to Portability & to Be Forgotten

According to the GDPR
Subscribers can access a record of their data that has been collected and processed. The Controller is to provide the first request for free and electronic requests should be provided in a commonly used form.

At any time, subscribers have the right to withdraw consent and also have their personal data erased.

Subscribers can request that their data be transferred to another organization.

How does this help improve my subscribers’ experience?

Who doesn’t love getting what you’ve asked for promptly? Or how annoying is it when you still receive emails after requesting to unsubscribe?

Being able to quickly respond to your subscribers’ requests can only make you more popular, build trust, and a better relationship.

How do I do this in my email marketing?
The key here, as above, is to make sure that your email marketing system will allow you to do all of these things. Your records need to be detailed and easily accessible, with the functionality to download and share the records.

Vision6 has an email button under the Consent History tab so you can quickly share the details. It has a clear and obvious unsubscribe function included in the footer and so subscribers can easily opt-out at any time. You can easily delete subscribers from your contact lists if requested.

There you have it. Following these GDPR-based tips, you can up your data privacy to improve your subscribers’ experience.

Ready to find out more? Listen to the on-demand webinar, Expert Series: How to Prepare for Tighter Data Protection Regulations.

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