What is the biggest concern we are noticing about the GDPR? — Newsletters!
When news about the GDPR started to circulate, there was concern about how this new law will affect the marketing of companies. The GDPR concerns how user data is collected and used to market to those users. Although this law specifically concerns the EU, if a citizen of the EU uses a website / company in the USA then they are still protected under that law. Meaning that if a USA company is found in breach of the GDPR, they may be subject to fines.
Contact forms are one of the biggest ways companies would collect user data
The most frequent and biggest question we get is "how does this affect my company collecting user data from our contact us form?" The GDPR made a few changes to how user data can be collected and marketed to, so if a company would automatically sign people up for their company newsletter once they filled out their contact us form, this practice is no longer permissible. Now what was done previously in the past was on the contact form there is a line with a check box stating "sign me up for your monthly / weekly / daily newsletter" - with the box already checked. When a person would like to contact the company, they might not see that the checkbox is already checked, or has "form fill fatigue" and wanted to rush through the long form so they didn't even see it. Another tactic was to have small print at the bottom of the contact form stating that the person filling out this form would automatically be added to their newsletters list.
How can businesses still market to people who use their contact form?
This is where things get a bit more complicated with GDPR safety. Companies are still able to sign people up for their newsletters as long as they are given consent. This means that there must be a clear place on the contact form that states "sign up for our newsletter" with the box UNCHECKED. That means that a user must check that box to be added to the companies newsletter list.
Will this completely stop my company's use of newsletters?
We can see why companies would be worried about not auto including people in their newsletter list. Why would someone want to sign up for yet another newsletter? At this point, we look at it this way - you are getting high qualified people who want to sign up and learn more about your company. By not automatically marketing to everyone that uses the contact form, you get a shorter list, but we have seen open rates of newsletters go up. So the people who really are interested will stick around and those that were not that interested in the first place would not be there to take up sever resources.