There was an opinion piece in The Times on Saturday about the GDPR. Five days to go it suggested, before email nirvana. I try not to get irritated by poorly researched articles that are meant to be entertaining, but this one, I decided, was worth a few huffs and puffs.
Giles Coren’s 1,100 or so word op-ed was little more than a diatribe against email marketing. He seemed to think that the GDPR will, ‘at last’, stop unsolicited emails. It seems that G. Coren had subscribed to a remarkably high number of email marketing lists in error. Wilde would have suggested that to inadvertently click one subscribe box is a misfortune; to do it seemingly hundreds of times is rather stupid. It appears to be, as always, someone else’s fault.
He used the word 'spamageddon' in the title, and the sub-heading mentioned unwanted junk mail.
What is depressing is that this perhaps shows what the uninformed think email marketing is all about. With many subscribers not replying to emails asking them to check their permissions, we are going to have to go out there and rebuild our lists. With op-ed pieces such as Coren’s, perhaps it is time to be more forceful in our wording.
With the probably universal reduction in the size of email marketing lists, you might feel the need to go harvesting to make up the shortfall. However, it seems likely that a high proportion are like Coren, not only disliking marketing emails but also having too little time available to click the unsubscribe button.
You will probably be considering increasing the tempo of our campaigns to obtain more subscribers. You should, of course, ensure that your website is optimised for getting visitors to sign up. Whilst the advice is normally to remove all unnecessary distractions on the sign-up page, it might well be useful to negate the misconceptions about what email marketing is all about.
Mentions the one-click unsubscribe that takes a few seconds should they decide to leave. It is a bit of a negative and I would normally advise against it, but you might think that reassurance is more important.
If a new customer, not on your email marketing list, buys an item online, then go into charm offensive. Send them follow-up emails, which will contain important information for their purchase, and include a sign-up form in the email together with the savings they could get if only they’d tick the box.
Mention the GDPR. You can use the initials only as everyone must be aware of it now. Say you conform to all its requirements. I know you have to but there’s no harm in reminding them.
If you use counter staff to push the advantages of email marketing, perhaps saying ‘If you’d been on our list, you could have got this cheaper’, then get them to mention that now the GDPR is here, all the criticisms are more or less covered.
The ignorant or those who don’t want facts to take the edge off an article will always be with us. Let’s ensure our subscribers are as well.