Email marketing: GDPR should make it even more effective

Apr 10, 2018 by Mark Baines Category: Marketing 0 comments

By placing the customer at the heart of your business, you can ensure consumers receive timely, relevant communications which will work harder for you than the scattergun approach currently used.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) clearly presents challenges to effective marketing across many channels, but this is an opportunity too.

GDPR introduces new ways of working, but you will have a more engaged customer base because of it, as people who are on your database will want to hear from you. You will end up having higher engagement rates but lower volumes.

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Marketer Email Tracker Report 2018, 96% of marketers are aware of the new GDPR legislation and 72% feel ‘somewhat prepared’ for the changes, but sentiment about the effect of it on email marketing is split with 36% feeling positive an 43% negative.

The Report shows how ROI for email increased from an estimated £30.03 for every £1 spent in 2016 to £32.28 in 2017. So it’s no wonder 86% of marketers say it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their multichannel marketing strategy.

In fact, 73% of marketers rate email as the number one digital channel for ROI, according to a separate study by Econsultancy, which also suggests email marketing generates around £29bn of retail sales annually in the UK, excluding offline sales influenced by email. Unfortunately there are no such figures for B2B – so let’s just assume it is large, and it’s impossible to overestimate how influential it can be when targeted at different members of a prospect company’s Decision Making Group.

Personalisation and email marketing

Better personalisation of email campaigns is top of the wish list for marketers, according to Econsultancy’s report, but for many the promise of 100% personalisation remains a distant prospect. Marketers believe it is a huge challenge, with the biggest hurdle integrating email marketing systems with other channels.

Meanwhile, the DMA’s Consumer Email Tracker Report 2017 finds that personal and relevant emails are an ‘absolute must’ for consumers, which is particularly important given 99% check their non-work emails every day, yet 59% are receiving irrelevant communications.

This is just as true of B2B as of consumer emails – possibly even more so, given that by definition recipients of a B2B email will feel less engaged on a personal level than by a consumer email which they have recently ‘requested’.

Testing email marketing

Testing what does and doesn’t work might sound obvious but 47% of organisations test under a quarter of their emails, according to the DMA. Even worse, 19% of respondents rate their organisation as having no competence with regard to testing and a further 15% say they do no testing – a rise from 8% in 2016. On the plus side, 9% of respondents say their company’s email testing ability is advanced and 19% claim they test over three-quarters of their emails.

Heat maps are also used and can provide vital information which is different to A/B testing, but the numbers have to be large – not much use for many B2B email broadcasts!

It’s worth noting that the rising use of mobile devices, even in B2B, requires marketers to be more clever with content and design to satisfy behaviour change, so testing becomes even more important, not less.

GDPR – have you turned it into an opportunity yet?

The key to making email work in a GDPR-compliant world is very simple: once you’ve sorted out your data so you are confident you are only broadcasting to individuals who have requested them, the rest will fall into place, and you should be able to watch your responses sky-rocket!

The challenge is managing the data. Please talk to us if you need help, as we can provide advice and support based on the highest qualification in GDPR.

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