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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on May 25th 2018, bringing with it the biggest data overhaul seen in over 20 years. Due to the seemingly colossal change in the way we gather and store information, businesses of all sizes are getting themselves in a bit of a tiz.

If that’s you, don’t panic. GDPR is actually a good thing. Once you get your head around what it is and how best to prepare, you’ll find it actually improves your digital marketing activities.

But first, what is GDPR?

GDPR is the EU’s new framework for data protection, which replaces the previous 1995 data protection directive

The law will streamline all data privacy laws across Europe and give greater protection and rights to individuals. It also protects businesses. If we’re following the rules and doing our due diligence, we won’t be subject to data leaks that could cost us our livelihood. 

The new GDPR legislation changes how personal data can be used. Personal data is anything that allows someone to be directly or indirectly identified this could be a name, an email address, or even an IP address.

GDPR will be covered in the UK by a new Data Protection Bill, which means businesses will be more accountable for their handling of people’s information. You’ll need compliant data protection policies, data protection impact assessments and relevant documents on how data is processed.

There’s also a requirement for businesses to obtain consent to hold and use people’s data, including for email marketing, and you’ll need to clearly explain that consent has been given with a “positive opt-in”. Review the ICO’s consent checklist here.

So, how will GDPR improve my marketing?

The difficult part is getting all your ducks in a row before the 25th May. To do this, you need to ensure you have documentation of all your policies and processes.  You might want to run an opt-in campaign to ensure your data is properly compliant Once your data is up to scratch, you have the opportunity to create marketing campaigns that are far more effective.


Effective marketing is all about engagement. You can get your message in front of thousands of people, but if the message isn’t relevant to them, your marketing efforts will fall flat.

GDPR forces you to clean your lists. Although you’ll be left with a smaller database, it’ll be comprised of people who actually want to hear from you. This means your open rates will be higher and your email marketing campaigns more successful.

One platform we work with, Sharpspring introduced  engagement metrics last year (not GDPR related) that will prevent emails being sent to anyone who isn’t engaged with you. This shows the level of attention platforms are placing on engagement regardless of the new legislation. GDPR will only help to boost your performance.

Better targeting

Opt-ins will be more granular, which means your audience can choose how they want to be contacted and what information they want to receive. This results in more targeted campaigns created through a better understanding of your audiences.

GDPR will reduce email fatigue people will actually want to hear from you and you’ll get to know what your audiences on a more intimate level. This will help you to better develop your product or service.

Improved delivery rates

If your list is opted in properly, you’ll have better quality email addresses and the delivery will be higher. Bounce rates will be lower and there’s less chance of your carefully crafted emails landing in someone’s spam folders.

This will also impact the way your email provider ranks you. The main reasons why email campaigns have high bounce rates is because the data is old or the domain is wrong and this is spam. If you are classed as spam, the platform will drop you to alower quality IP pool, which means your emails won’t be delivered as effectively and will impact your overall success.

Are you panicking about GDPR? Well, don’t. It’s a case of cleaning your data and creating transparent, compliant processes.  For help and advice on creating compliant data processes or granular opt-in email campaigns with growing power, get in touch today.