Our previous blog on the importance of data quality and the ‘Reform of EU Data Protection Rules’ covered the impending changes to data protection within the EU.
But as further details on this have come to light, it is now clearer as to the true impact this will have for email marketers; so you might be wondering just what you can do in order to prepare for this.
Read on to find out more about how these changes will affect your email marketing and how you can prepare well in advance.
Ways to ensure that you’re well equipped
- Review your opt-in procedures
New rules state that consent for email marketing must be explicit, specified and informed. This means that it cannot be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity. Additionally, your data privacy notices/declarations used when collecting their email addresses must be clear on how their data will be used and their right to have their details changed or removed at any time of their choosing.
In order to comply with this, we suggest that you clearly communicate with consumers what their email address will be used for and why and how it will benefit them in a concise, jargon-free declaration or statement.
On top of this, to make sure that you’re completely covered in this department, keep a record of exactly when and how each subscriber was added onto your email marketing database.
Age verification for juniors
It will become mandatory for you to request the consent of a parent or guardian in order to lawfully process the data of any child or junior subscriber – in the UK this will be defined as anyone under the age of 13.
So if your organisation targets products or services at children and collects their data, you should begin thinking about emplacing a system to verify individuals’ ages and gathering the consent of a parent or guardian; bearing in mind that your privacy notice must also be written using language that children will easily understand.
- Accommodate for individuals’ “right to erasure”
The GDPR’s “Right to erasure” article proclaims that marketers will be required to give individuals the means to exercise their right to access, rectify or delete their data, as well as object to how their data is being used.
Therefore, as is already email best practice, always include a clear unsubscribe link at the bottom of each of your emails with another link for any subscribers to update their existing details. This will also benefit your own marketing and sales efforts as it keeps your database up-to-date and ensures that you’re only communicating with those that are most interested in what you have to say.
For email marketers, the crux of it is that your list growth and subscription process will need to involve more transparency with regards to how their data will be used, more careful recording of subscribers’ consent to this and providing ample opportunities for them to remove or edit the information you hold.
While these changes are likely to involve a rethink of how your data is being gathered and held (increasing workloads!), the EU’s strict stance on this issue does put a stronger obligation for adherence with email best practice methods and for data lists to be grown organically instead of relying on shortcut solutions such as purchasing data.
This in turn is sure to result in an increase in open rates, click rates, email deliverability and ultimately return on investment for what is already one of the most profitable weapons in any marketer’s arsenal.
…but what if Brexit succeeds?
With the EU referendum right around the corner, Brexit becomes a realistic outcome that organisations may also have to adapt to. While the immediate implication is that this will leave British organisation exempt from stringent EU legislation, these changes are not solely being put forward by the EU and we believe that these are just a response to what is becoming a global trend toward stricter data security and control. Therefore, we recommend following suit as it also avoids any potential last-ditch panic to put these practices in place and as mentioned, your return on email marketing only stands to improve.
For additional advice on how you can begin to actively take steps to accommodate these changes, please feel free to get in touch with your Account Manager.
A question asked very often in email marketing is what makes a great subject line? Unfortunately there is no silver bullet. Our simple answer comes threefold; An email that is timely, relevant and relates with the reader.
Our work and personal email accounts are open communication channels and will be utilised very differently.
At work we read our emails because we have to, but if it’s non-essential work related content or in our personal inbox, what will drive us to open and read them? We come back to the email being timely, relevant and relatable.
Let’s start with some general facts and figures about email marketing subject lines:
- A rough 33% of subscribers opened an email just on the subject line alone
- The most common length for subject lines is 41-50 characters
- Around 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based on the subject line
- Interestingly emails with the word “You” in the subject line were opened 5% less
- Emails with “Free” in the subject line increased open rates by 10%
- There was an 18.7% decrease in open rates when the word “Newsletter” was used
- However, an increase of 61.8% in open rates with the word “Alert”
- Using words such as “Daily or Weekly” in subject lines tend to boost open rates, whereas “Monthly” has the adverse effect
- Subscribers viewing emails on mobile devices may not be able to see the full subject line so it’s important that you have your CTA (call to action) stated at the beginning of the subject line
- There is no real conclusive evidence to suggest shorter subject lines are more successful
- Subject lines with personalisation are more likely to be opened by a rough figure of 22.2%. E.g. First name
- Subject lines that have a sense of urgency in them can achieve an increased open rate by 22%
- In pricing related emails, subject lines containing symbols such as “%, $, £” have below average read rates and are more likely to end up getting caught in the spam filter
- Excessive punctuation can result in your email ending up in the Spam folder
We say this all the time but it’s true… you should split test your subject lines and our multivariate testing is an invaluable tool and comes as standard for all Campaignmaster users. We took a very small number of prospect data, (300 records to be exact), and conducted an extremely, simple subject line test. No other content was changed, not even time of day.
Version A’s subject line was ‘Start sending better email’
Version B’s subject line was ‘Send better email marketing campaigns’
The results speak for themselves:
So the upshot is that we can swot up on facts and figures but fact is, if a subject line is meaningful to us then we are more likely to open it.
Not familiar with split testing? Read our guide here.
Furthermore, with Campaignmaster’s Advanced Spam Analysis tool you can test your subject lines against the main email filters to analyse your content and get a breakdown of any potential red flags in your subject line and your content too.
Here is one of my inboxes and it is overflowing (I am an email marketing geek after all!). I’ve highlighted the emails I will definitely open. Guess why? They appeal to me and it’s got nothing to do with the subject line length or the time of day that I received the email. So yes, I’m planning my summer holiday and am partial to a glass of lovely wine and ready to buy now (or very soon!).
Marketers will know that it’s the quality of their data that will allow them to yield the best results from their email marketing campaigns. Data is a golden commodity.
So it’s not uncommon to see data being purchased, often without the consumer’s opted-in consent.
Cue the EU and their battalion of policy makers!
The EU have recently finalised the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), along with a new Data Protection Directive, that provides a single set of rules for all companies offering services within the EU. This marks the biggest change in data protection law for 20 years and underpins the EU’s strict stance on data protection and privacy. Click here for full details.
While these changes will not come into force until 2018, we advise that you look to get ahead of the storm.
What does this mean for Digital Marketers?
The potential threat of substantial fines and consumers having the right to claim damages for misuse of their information means that digital marketers will need to a) be sure to adopt the correct procedures to grow their database and b) ensure that the data they use in their marketing campaigns are collected with the recipients full consent.
The new opt-in permission rules requires that all data used for marketing is audited against these new standards and if it does not conform then consent will need to be requested again.
Is this for better or for worse?
While these changes may make life a little more difficult for some email marketers and may even result in some data having to be removed from your database, it will improve your campaign results and allow you to get a much better return in the long-run. It will effectively cleanse your database, filtering out old and potentially dangerous data so that only those that are interested in engaging with your brand continue to receive your campaigns – boosting your open and click rates.
Another plus is that it can also improve email deliverability as the chances of receiving spam complaints and hitting spam traps becomes mitigated.
We anticipate that this is only one of many changes in future that will make data protection and privacy laws far more stringent, so begin taking steps today to stay ahead of the game.
If you are a Campaignmaster client and have any questions on how you can become more data compliant then feel free to get in touch with your account manager who can discuss an appropriate strategy with you.
- How to create a really personalised email
- GDPR – Email Marketers Getting Compliant
- What Makes A Great Subject Line?
- Reform of EU Data Protection Rules
- Campaignmaster at Marketing Week Live ‘16
- Do you suffer from Lazyemailmarketingitis?
- Video In Email – have you tried it yet?
- Campaignmaster’s Top Email Marketing Tips For 2016
- Safe Harbour Agreement Ruled Invalid
- Why you should stop using a shared IP address