Yep, even after all this time, people are still not clued up on GDPR and how it affects email marketing.
I just received this email:
It’s wrong in so many ways; in fact, it’s the perfect example of what not to do when you’re promoting your business. Let’s take a look to see why.
1. It’s unsolicited
I’ve never heard of the sender before so I have definitely never signed up to their mailing list. They’ve either scraped my details off the web, or bought a list with me on it. Either way, that’s a no-no right there.
If people haven’t knowingly and specifically opted in to receive marketing emails from you, you can not send them marketing emails. That’s spam.
2. It’s sent to me personally
They could have gotten away with it (just) if they’d sent it to a generic email address at my domain.
If it was some standard address like info@ or admin@, they could have claimed legitimate business interest for sending the email since no personally identifiable data was there.
But they sent it to my own email address. It has my name in it; that means they weren’t emailing a business, they were emailing an actual person. That classes it as personal data and GDPR definitely applies. So we go straight back to point 1: they don’t have permission to send me this. Or permission to collect and store my details.
GDPR is all about personal data. That’s data that can be used to identify a specific person. If you’re going to collect and store people’s personal data, you need their permission. So if you are going to send out unsolicited marketing emails, you can’t send them to an email address containing an actual person’s name, even if it is a work email address rather than a personal account with the likes of Gmail or Yahoo.
You might also like: Grow your email list the right way
3. Buying and selling email lists is wrong
Never mind that buying and selling lists of people to market to is ethically dubious. If you buy a list of people to send marketing emails to, you’re breaking the terms of service of your email provider.
Companies like Mailchimp and ConvertKit don’t allow you to use their services with email lists that you’ve bought. If you do that you’re behaving like a spammer and that’ll have a negative effect on all of their customers. So if you try it and they catch you, they can shut down your account.
Stay away from people offering to sell you lists. You have no idea how those names got into their database in the first place. And even if people gave permission for the seller to send them marketing emails, they didn’t give you permission.
It’s better to grow your list slowly and organically, by people actually choosing to receive your emails. You’ll end up with a smaller, more engaged – and therefore more valuable – list of subscribers.
4. You can’t trust them
Let’s think about it for a moment. They’re offering a GDPR compliant list of names. Yet they themselves are not GDPR compliant.
How can you possibly trust what they’re selling?
At best it’s a waste of money. At worst, you’re opening yourself up to being branded a spammer and facing legal action for breaking GDPR.
Protect not just your reputation, but your whole business and please, please, please stay away from crap like that.
Do your homework
GDPR isn’t something to be taken lightly. People are more concerned with data privacy than ever and it’s more than just your reputation on the line; the fines for breaking GDPR regulations can be hefty.
If you’re in any doubt about whether you have permission to email someone, play it safe and just don’t do it. And if you’re not sure whether or not your business is compliant with GDPR, there’s plenty of advice to be found, either on the web, or from privacy specialists who can talk you through what you need to do.
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