Disclaimer: this is informed advice but not legal advice. You can find the text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) here.
Your email subscriber base is essential for your eCommerce success. Yet, in the age of GDPR, this marketing gold is in danger with experts estimating that only 25% of customer data in UK marketing databases meets GDPR requirements. Getting subscribers to give GDPR compliant consent, e.g. with a permission pass campaign, is an important first step to protect your subscriber base so you can email as many contacts as possible after 25 May 2018.
Then, in the new world of the GDPR, you need tactics to grow your email subscribers organically.
Let’s look at three steps to get more people to sign up for your newsletter, then help them find real value in their relationship with you.
Leverage all channels
Are you using all available channels to ask for email sign-ups?
Your website is the place to start: include a bulk email signup in your register/checkout process; add a popover subscribe form; and add a link or small subscribe form in your footer.
Send transactional emails as part of your purchase process. Preferably send all of browse abandon, cart abandon, post-purchase receipt, delivery reminder, and request for review. These can be sent as a legitimate interest, as they are all part of the purchase process unless shoppers have opted out of email.
Transactional emails, such as order confirmations, e-receipts and shipping confirmations, get two to three times the open rates of your regular emails and providing you keep on topic then customers like them. If you add a sign-up link for marketing emails, they are a good gateway to increasing your marketing list.
Old-style refer-a-friend campaigns, where a shopper entered their friend’s email address and it got emailed, are not legal under the GDPR. But you can still achieve similar results, legally, if the shopper does the sending. One simple example is to offer a single-use coupon which the shopper can send to their friend using their normal chat or email.
Choose the right timing
You probably have a pop-up on your website to drive newsletter registrations but is it optimized for the best possible response rate?
Instant pop-ups that cover the page immediately are poor practice and very annoying. They are also possibly invalid under GDPR, because visitors may believe they must complete the form in order to proceed, so their consent is not “freely given”.
It’s better to wait a while to display the pop-up - until the visitor has had enough time to experience your website. And never display the pop-up to visitors who have already made their decision.
Offer clear value
On the sign-up form, be explicit about what shoppers will get -not in technical terms, but as the value to them. Don’t say “Do you want to sign up to our weekly newsletter?”, say “Would you like news of special offers, member-only events and the latest products by email?”.
This is good marketing practice and the non-technical language meets the GDPR requirement that “any information addressed to the public or to the data subject be concise, easily accessible and easy to understand, and that clear and plain language” be used
The GDPR has banned prefilled checkboxes, so a good way for visitors to respond is by a pair of radio buttons, e.g. “I'm in” vs “I'll miss out”. Finally, include a link to your privacy page
This seems a good time to check the wording of your privacy page. Look back at that quote from the GDPR, a few lines above. Is your privacy page “concise” (i.e. short) and is “clear and plain language” used (i.e. not technical terms, long sentences or legalese)? If not, then it’s not compliant.
Consumers provide you with something very valuable when they give you their email address so why not recognize this by giving something valuable in return? Make your subscriber base feel special by providing email-exclusive offers or early access to a sale or another promotion. Also remember why each shopper signed up and personalize the content accordingly, possibly including future offers.
The strategies you use to promote your latest campaigns are only as good as your email list. By following the steps above, you’ll be on your way toward growing a strong subscriber base and generating more revenue.
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