Whether you’re a business owner or experienced marketing professional, you’ve likely heard the about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But while there’s a lot of talk surrounding this new law, many people still find themselves uncertain about the policy’s implications.
Especially when it comes to how GDPR will impact inbound marketing strategies.
What exactly is GDPR and how can you prepare your business for these upcoming changes? Below, we’ll discuss the basics surrounding this policy, plus explain how you can best develop your inbound marketing strategy to comply with the recent GDPR law.
What is GDPR?
GDPR, also known as the General Data Protection Regulation, is a law that replaces the European Union’s UK Data Protection Act of 1998. Passed in May 2018, the GDPR impacts how businesses collect and distribute online information from clients in the European Union (EU).
This new law aims to secure the privacy of consumers better, which is why it drastically alters how businesses acquire, store, and transfer data about EU citizens — and how companies structure their inbound marketing campaigns.
GDPR reflects the Internet-focused society of today’s world and aims to protect everyday consumers and their personal information. For companies that operate in Europe or globally, GDPR poses a new challenge for creating targeted marketing and advertising strategies.
Who does GDPR affect?
GDPR is a law your business can’t afford to ignore. If your company collects information about its customers online and distributes or makes use of this data, you need to learn more about GDPR and how it affects your business.
No matter your business, industry, product, or service, GDPR affects your company if you collect and store data from users in the EU. Ecommerce companies are a perfect example of a market affected deeply by GDPR.
Since the European Union has the second largest economy in the world, businesses do not want to miss out on the opportunities available in these nations. That’s why many organizations are investing the time to learn about GDPR — and how it’ll affect their inbound marketing.
How does GDPR impact inbound marketing?
Since marketing benefits from collecting and analyzing data on current and prospective clients, GDPR has a massive impact on companies that use traditional and digital marketing, as well as outbound and inbound marketing.
Even though inbound marketing relies on pulling customers in, rather than pushing your advertising or branding onto them, GDPR still affects how this marketing strategy works. For example, now when you collect user data on your site, you need to state what you do with it.
This statement can impact user decisions about providing their information to your business. The advantage, however, is that inbound marketing attracts people in your target audience. That pull, versus pull, can motivate them to go ahead with sharing their information.
Just remember that under GDPR law, transparency is critical. You need to explain — in simple terms — how you intend to use their personal information. If not, your company could receive a $25 million fine or a fine based on four percent of your annual revenue.
In short, GDPR motivates businesses to promote complete transparency with consumers. While a hassle for many companies, GDPR helps organizations establish trust and credibility with shoppers, which can lead to tremendous gains in the long-term.
3 helpful tips for GDPR compliance
Whether you’re a local or global business with operations in the EU, it’s critical to ensure you remain compliant with GDPR. That way, you can continue achieving your company’s key goals, from earning new clients to growing industry influence to reaching higher sales.
Not sure how to comply with this new law? Check out these three actionable tips:
1. Be transparent
You know that gathering information on your clients is preferable. At times, it’s a necessary act in running your business. But how can you collect your required data in the most GDPR compliant way? By being transparent, of course.
Make it easy for your users to read your terms and conditions, as well as policies concerning information collection on your website. If you have a mailing list, include an “opt-out” or “unsubscribe” button for those who no longer want to receive messages from your business.
It’s also critical that your team removes any pre-checked “subscribe” buttons on your website. For example, if users request a quote, you may have a pre-checked “subscribe” button that automatically signs them up for your newsletter. With GDPR, you can’t do this anymore.
2. Don’t collect unnecessary data
When exposed to new laws applicable to your business, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these regulations to stay within the legal limitations. If you want to practice inbound marketing tactics that comply with GDPR, limit the amount of information you collect.
While names and addresses are essential pieces of information for companies, weed out the other data that adds little-to-no value to your business or sales team. Take, for instance, the job or job title of a person shopping at an ecommerce store.
Ask yourself the question, “Do I need this piece of information to promote my products or develop a better understanding of my clients?” If the answer is no, don’t get it from your customers.
If you do answer yes, consider how valuable or impactful that data may be to your business. Or, consider making it an optional field if it appears on contact forms. That way, you can still receive the data, but without forcing it onto consumers.
3. Be clear about how you’re using customer info
While some data isn’t crucial to your business model, other pieces of information are essential when it comes to researching, connecting, and marketing your clients and target market. With GDPR, however, it’s vital to reveal how you use that consumer data.
Compile a list of data your team needs, and then review how you use that data. Make sure you always have a legitimate reason for the information you’re asking to receive. Do you want your clients to fill out their birth date when signing up for your email list? If so, tell them why.
As an example, a business may request this information to provide a special discount to clients on their birthdays. Some products, like alcohol or rental cars, may also have age limits, which is another reason to request this information.
No matter the reason for why you’re asking for this information, remember to be clear with your intent on how you plan to use this data. Use your terms and conditions to explain your company’s objectives in simple language that any user can understand.
Continue to expand your global influence
In conclusion, GDPR doesn’t rule out business in Europe. Any company currently offering their services or products to European residents should continue to do so — but with careful attention to business-related laws that define these nations.
The crucial thing to remember when developing an inbound marketing and GDPR-compliant strategy is that you need to make your consumers the priority. It’s critical for your company, from a brand and financial perspective, to protect consumer data.
With that kind of mindset, you can develop a smart inbound marketing campaign.
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