Leveraging the power of email marketing in your small business can create connection points with business leads, generate more income, and help you grow your business.
However, did you know that there are new regulations passed by the European Union that will affect the way you do business when it comes to email marketing?
With the compliance deadline of May 25 approaching, we've put together the cliff notes version of what you need to know about the GDPR regulations.
What is the GDPR?
GDPR stands for “The General Data Protection Regulation” which is a privacy law designed to protect European Union residents. Despite the fact that it's an EU law, all small businesses that leverage email marketing need to pay attention.
These new regulations apply to the processing of personal data including name, email address, physical address and IP address. In short, anytime you receive data or could receive data from someone located in the EU, you must comply with these regulations.
How do the GDPR regulations affect U.S. based businesses?
The GDPR regs affects any business that offers products or services online where someone located in the EU could access and subscribe. This will include newsletters, lead magnets or free resources in exchange for email addresses.
The practical lowdown for your business
For those subscribers in the EU, you can no longer assume that if they give you an email address in exchange for a coupon or free download, that they are subscribed to your marketing email list. You must obtain a second confirmation explaining what they will receive from you as part of your marketing email list and confirm they want to opt-in.
What should you do if you use email marketing?
First, find out if you have any subscribers from outside the U.S. Then, segment your list. Most email marketing providers will have a segmenting option.
For Mail Chimp, you can follow these directions to segment:
- Click on your list
- Click create segment
- Edit drop down criteria and change to "location"
- Add further filters with "not in country" and "USA"
- Preview segment
This will tell you which subscribers are using an IP address outside of the U.S.
Legal experts are recommending that you segment into U.S. and non-U.S. subscribers. Anyone unknown or outside the U.S. should be considered EU until you know otherwise. If you have no EU subscribers, you will not need to comply. Otherwise, you will need to comply with the regulations.
Next steps for GDPR compliance
There are three areas that will help you become compliant.
1) Update your current email list
You must retain documentation that your current subscribers outside of the U.S. have confirmed they wish to receive marketing emails from you. The simplest way to do this: