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Given the length of time email marketing has been around, we’re not exactly surprised at the changes brought in by the General Data Protection Regulation. After all, opt-out data typically performs at low engagement rates so these changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing for email marketers.

So what does it all mean?

Soft opt-ins and opt-out methods will no longer be enough, marketers will need to start using hard opt-in methods and recording them unless they want to be hit with a penalty. While this might drastically change the face of marketing, many can expect to see benefits from it.

There are 4 key effects that the changes in legislation will have. Firstly, purchased data lists will exist, but not as we currently know it. New data lists will be smaller and are likely to be more expensive. They’ll also only have data on people who have agreed to receive marketing communications from multiple sources. As a result, they’ll perform relatively poorly.

Secondly, customers will have control of their own information. Just because they are a customer this does not mean that organisations have the right to continuously communicate with them. Businesses will have to be more transparent about how they use data and as a result, implied cookie consent will change or be taken away altogether.

Lastly, the opt-in process will have to be provable in order to avoid hefty penalties. But, it’s not all doom and gloom. While the enormity of the changes this regulation introduces cannot be argued, it also cannot be denied that opt-in data performs higher and we’re not just talking about engagement rates either.

After the implementation of similar legislation Canadian B2B companies reported the following:

  • They generated equal or better marketing results by reducing the amount of spam in prospects inboxes.
  • A marketing automation system improved the ability to track the opt-in compliance information they needed.
  • Explicit opt-in messages were more effective than implied or “trick” messages, which saw more scrutiny under the new regulations.
  • They needed to create additional inbound lead generation and opt-in platforms to compensate for their email marketing.
With the sheer amount of online B2B marketing, particularly in the email marketing realm, opt-out lists are expected, anticipated and ignored, largely due to their negative reputation. Opt-in lists have always performed much higher than their opt-out counterparts for one defining factor, the open rate is higher.

Higher open rates lead to greater figures in engagement, click-through and conversion rates. So, if marketers want to maximise the raw number of people that interact with their communications, then opt-in data is the way to go.

Based on the current legislation engagement rates are around 5.6%, only growing to 26.15% when the business is successful at nurturing subscribers with the right information. Compare this to the industry standard of 37.19% for opt-in data, which rises to 48.23% engagement when engaging on a “sales-ready” basis and B2B email marketers should see an improvement in their email marketing.

Of course, in order to do that, they must have data left to market to come May 2018.

By Lee Chadwick, CEO, CommuniGator

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