So the GDPR implementation date has come and gone and after all the panic it seems the dust has now settled a little.

However many small businesses are wary of sending email marketing campaigns in our post GDPR world – are you one of them?

Email marketing is still a no brainer to brands:

There were 3.7 billion global email users in 2017 – this is set to grow to 4.1 billion by 2021 (source: Statistica)

Email has an average ROI of 122% – over 4 times higher than other marketing formats including social media, direct mail and paid search (source DMA and Demand Metric)

89% of marketers said that email was their primary channel for lead generation (source: Mailigen)

But you need to do it right (both from a legal and engagement perspective) so this month I’ll be focussing on getting you to master the art of email marketing while remaining GDPR compliant!


If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 6 months this is a brief overview for you!

Whilst Data Protection Regulations have been in place in the UK for quite some time they were never enforced.

This lead to lots of brands essentially spamming their subscriber list, or even worse – selling their lists to other companies!

GDPR was brought in to change all that and went “live” on 25th May 2018.  It was designed to help the consumer.

So what does that mean for us in simple terms?

“GDPR is raising the bar for consent.  Marketers must explain more, be more transparent, but keep the language simple and concise.  Under the GDPR consent can’t be bundled with any other agreement, can’t be a condition of a service and consent opt-in boxes can’t be pre-ticked”.

Steve Henderson

Deputy Chair of the Email Council, The Direct Marketing Association

From 25th May all marketing permissions must be “opt in” with a “clear, affirmative action” required.

So how does that affect growing your list?

What not to do

You can’t automatically add someone to your list with a request for them to opt out (eg check this box if you DO NOT want us to send you our lovely email newsletter)

You can no longer have pre ticked checkboxes to obtain consent for email marketing

You can’t include statements such as “By agreeing to these Terms & Conditions means you also agree to us sending you marketing emails”

You can’t send marketing emails to someone just because they’ve bought your product – you need their consent!

What to do

Ensure you link to your Privacy Policy from your signup form

Keep all language in plain English and easy to understand

Don’t use the default “Subscribe” text on your form button

Only ask for essential information on your signup form

I’ve got a solid understanding on how the new GDPR regulations affect email marketing but I am not a Data Protection Specialist or a Lawyer.

If you have any specific questions about GDPR and email marketing I would highly recommend you contacting the ICO.  Their advisors are incredibly helpful!

Stay tuned for next week’s instalment where I’ll be sharing with you my secrets for the perfect email subscription form.