You’ve probably already heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and how it is going to impact UK businesses and their marketing strategies from 25th May 2018.
I’m sure you’ve also been hearing about increased fines and stricter laws.
Pretty scary, right?
Yes, GDPR principles bring tighter controls around how personal data is gathered, stored and used, and yes, businesses who are not compliant face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover, but only looking at the negatives is no way to plan for the future.
We prefer to look for the good and GDPR brings a bounty of positives. Let’s explore five of them...
1. Acting Quickly Gets You Ahead of Your Competition
Let’s face it, GDPR is here to stay. Regardless of the UK’s relationship with the EU over the coming years, GDPR will be put into force before Brexit is complete and it will be conserved through the Great Repeal Act.
Once businesses have accepted this inevitability, the race for who can become compliant begins. The first companies to adopt the new regulation will have the first chance to start engaging new leads.
Think of GDPR as a new marketplace – those who act quickly will corner it, while businesses who drag their heels are left behind.
2. You Can Tailor Content to the Correct Person
Under GDPR, businesses need to ensure that their marketing material is relevant and valuable to who they are targeting. This spells the end of generic, automated emails that go out to thousands of people at the same time. And that’s definitely a good thing!
How do you know what your leads want though? Well, this all comes down to what they consent to when they share their data with you. Changes to consent under GDPR mean you must clearly set out how and why you will contact a lead. Not only this, but said lead must actively opt-in, meaning no more pre-ticked consent boxes.
By having consents tailored to each of your services or products, you can build a picture of your prospects’ needs, depending on what they consent to. This provides one very important benefit…
Leads Will Be Waiting to Hear From You.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. By providing clear, tailored consents, leads will understand that you intend to contact them. Therefore, when you email them with content valuable to and tailored towards them, they’ll love it.
3. GDPR Compliance Reduces Risk
GDPR isn’t designed to catch out businesses and levy fines. It’s designed to protect people’s data, and in doing so, actually protect companies.
The new regulation imposes stricter laws around how data is managed and stored, as well as making it a legal requirement to contact your supervisory authority in the event of a data breach.
This reduces the temptation to hide data loss in order to protect reputation – a strategy that can backfire disastrously, as we saw with Uber in 2017.
In order to guard against breaches and achieve compliance, a business needs to keep on top of its data, and so in a lot of ways, GDPR is…
4. A Chance to Declutter Your Database
If you wish to protect your business from a data breach, your first action should be to review and cleanse your data storage. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) businesses had more freedom with how they stored their data. As a result, you may find that you have no defined system or central database, and instead store data across a range of platforms or programmes.
This not only increases the risk of a data breach but inhibits efficiency – your data is likely to be difficult and time-consuming to find. If you realise when reviewing your data that it is stored in multiple locations, choose a one central system that complies with GDPR and make sure everyone uses it. For our clients, we recommend using the HubSpot platform to store your data in a GDPR compliant way.
Once you have done that you are ready to cleanse your database. Data gathered under the DPA may not have been done so in a way that conforms to the new regulation, so you will need to reach out to these leads or customers and re-request consent.
This will take time but will streamline your data and create a contact list you know want to engage with your business.
5. GDPR Encourages Innovative Marketing That Works
GDPR may be the new kid on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s revolutionising the world of marketing.
Everything we have talked about – getting to know your leads, creating personal content, storing data effectively, and so on – is already being achieved by thousands of companies who have implemented an inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound puts your lead at the heart of the marketing strategy and asks, what would they want? Adopting an inbound approach means that you create content suited directly for your leads that is designed to move them closer towards becoming a paying customer, and then ultimately a flag bearer for your business.
And the best part? We know it works!
66% of companies who tightly align their marketing and sales teams felt inbound practices provided the highest quality leads, compared to just 15% who preferred outbound methods like cold-calling.
If it works for them, it can work for you too, and becoming GDPR compliant can be the catalyst you need in order to kickstart your inbound marketing strategy.
For all these reasons and more, becoming GDPR compliant should be something that businesses can look forward to, not dread.
We know you probably want to learn a little bit more about GDPR before you take your next steps though. That’s why we’ve created a free toolkit for you to use, complete with our GDPR Guide For Businesses eBook.
Click below to download your free copy. If you feel like learning a little more about how inbound marketing can benefit you, contact one of our team.