How To Build A Compliant And Effective Email Marketing Program


Jodi Daniels is a privacy consultant and Founder/CEO of Red Clover Advisors, one of the few Women’s Business Enterprises focused on privacy.

“Win a free trip to the Kardashians’ favorite island!”

“Hi; $250k life insurance coverage for $15/month. No exam option available.”

“Check out our holiday specials!”

If you peeked in your spam folder right now, chances are good you’d see something like this. Imagine how frustrated you’d be if the “holiday specials” email you sent ended up in junk mail with fake life insurance offers.

Well, if you’re like most small business owners, you don’t have to imagine. Email marketing is the junk mail catalog of today, so it’s not surprising that business owners wonder if it’s worth the hassle.

It is. With an average return of 42 GBP for every £1 spent, per 2019 data, more than 80% of small businesses rely on email marketing for customer acquisition and retention. The trick, of course, is that these statistics apply to effective email marketing campaigns. Companies face two obstacles: technology and privacy regulations.

What are the regulatory challenges?

By the mid 2010s, increasingly frequent data breaches that exposed consumers’ sensitive data—and the unethical data mining practices of corporations and social media platforms—resulted in a robust digital consumer privacy advocacy movement.

Governments took note. In 2016, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the world’s first and most aggressive data privacy law. Other legislative bodies followed suit. Many countries now have laws governing the collection and use of personal data. The United States doesn’t have federal digital data privacy laws, but at least four states (CA, CO, VA, UT) do, and others have bills proposed.

ALSO READ:  How’s It Going? Four Tips To Conquer Your Fear Of Feedback

Here’s the catch: It’s likely that your company is subject to a privacy regulation even if your state doesn’t have a law on the books. Almost all existing privacy laws have minimum threshold requirements to determine if a company has to technically comply. Even though your company might fall below these thresholds, your customers might require to you to comply (this is especially true for B2B customers) or might expect the same privacy rights they enjoy at your competitors.

Remember, privacy laws care about where the people you collect data live, not where your business address or headquarters is located. This means that if your company is based in Florida but has customers in the EU or CA (or any other locality with a privacy statute), you’re obligated to comply with that regulation. Moreover, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also says companies need to disclose what they’re doing when it comes to data collection and data use. This means just about every website needs a privacy notice. That can get tricky if you aren’t an expert in international law.

What are the technological challenges?

Trying to stay ahead of harsh regulatory crackdowns, many tech companies preemptively jumped on the data privacy bandwagon. Google’s Promotions tab keeps most marketing emails out of the primary inboxes of Gmail users. Apple added the Hide My Email feature to its privacy war chest, which means millions of Apple users can now block open and click-through information from email marketers.

ALSO READ:  How Rider Plans To Supercharge Pakistan’s E-commerce Sector

And how your email list interacts with your emails can affect your deliverability metrics. If you have a high bounce rate, your emails are more likely to be flagged as junk. If more than a few users mark your address as spam, it becomes difficult to maintain your position as a reliable sender.

How can you do it right?

With the regulatory and technological challenges, it’s clear why some business owners give up. But creating effective, compliant email marketing is easier than you think. Instead of basing processes around a single law or platform, consider implementing the following privacy best practices to build a program that’s compliant—but also capable of adapting to changes:

• Update your privacy policy to match your data management processes.

• Clean up your email list regularly.

• Personalize your content.

Update your privacy policy to match your data management processes.

Your privacy policy should be easy to understand (no legalese, please) and accurately reflect your data management processes. It should clearly describe:

• What information you’re collecting and why;

• How you’ll use the information and with whom it will be shared;

• How and how long it will be stored; and,

• What customers can do to amend, correct or delete their information.

If you don’t know if your privacy policy and your data management processes match up, consider completing a data inventory.

Clean up your email list regularly.

An outdated email list isn’t your friend. A clean list reduces your unsubscribes and the likelihood of being tagged as spam while increasing your deliverability and open rates. But how do you get a clean email list? I typically advise one of two approaches:

ALSO READ:  How Flat Businesses Can Still Scale Despite Their Structure

1. Email verification services such as ZeroBounce, Kickbox Email Verification or Bouncer can reduce your bounce rate by filtering out invalid email addresses before a single email is sent. Inactive subscribers should be deleted every three or four months. Immediately remove any user who marks your communications as spam.

2. A preferences center is a cost-effective way to both increase your first-party data (personal information a user shares with you voluntarily) and make sure you’re emailing people who want to hear from you.

Make it personal.

The best, most compliant way to get your email marketing through filters is to personalize it. Avoid clickbait, spammy subject lines. If you have customer names, use them. Set a regular publishing cadence.

Above all, make sure you have permission to send emails in the first place and that you’re following customer preferences for communications. It can be tempting to access email addresses in your sales database, but if customers haven’t explicitly agreed to receive marketing information from you, don’t do it.

It’s all about trust.

The most important part of email marketing is trust. Customers have to trust you’re compliant with both the law and their wishes when using their information. Make it easier for everyone to develop that trust.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?




Source link

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest