With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect in late May, you may be wondering how you can successfully run direct mail under GDPR.
If your marketing is limited to the US, nothing changes! You just need to respect the “do not mail” list. However, if you do business in the EU, you will need to follow the new rules. Keep reading to find out what you’ll need to know about GDPR and direct mail. Changes come May 25th 2018!
As a business, you likely use personal information to introduce consumers to your brand. Mailing lists are a popular way of reaching new customers. These customers may wonder how you got their information. The lists come from public information. This is property records, voting registration, and more. This information is available as “public record”. It is available to anyone seeking it.
Consumers are also added to a mailing list by opting-in to receive ads. This includes signing up for a newsletter or promos from a local business. However, not everyone wants constant ads. You also don’t want to advertise to people who have no interest in your business. They may see your ad negatively and avoid your business entirely. These consumers are a dead lead, and will cost you money!
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes how you can advertise. This affects how you reach new customers in the EU. EU and US-based companies are responsible for safely processing personal data. It affects both online and print ads. The right to processing personal information belongs to the person. Direct mail now requires consent or legitimate interest from the consumer. While it complicates things slightly, a solid marketing campaign can still be incredibly effective.
What Are The GDPRs
Previously, if you had someone’s contact information, you could send them ads. You could get their information from a variety of sources. Many businesses bought mailing lists from mailing companies. Often, these names and addresses would come from public records. This is without authorizing the information for marketing purposes. The new regulations put in place give customers more control over their info’s usage.
The changes that take place May 25th, 2018 involve consent. You cannot use someone’s personal information to advertise to them without a reason. The new regulations require the controller of the information to have consent or a reason to use it. This reason requires proof of legitimate interest. Legal matters are a form of legitimate interest. Without one of these two, you cannot legally advertise to that consumer. They will need to approve it beforehand, or you will need to prove the legitimate interest.
How to Capture Consumer Consent
Capturing consent is key to running a direct mail campaign. You receive consent, you have two primary options.
The first and most obvious method is volunteering information, or “opting-in”. Customers who are open to advertising will often provide information in return for something. This can be a discount, special promo, or to be updated on news. An example of this would be putting their name and number on a raffle for a free product at a store. Providing information shows that they have consented to your use of their information for marketing purposes. You can use this information to build your own consenting mailing list. However, it can be slow and expensive to find customers this way.
The second option is proving the legitimate interest. This can be more difficult than receiving direct consent. These consumers do not directly volunteer to be contacted. Instead, you need to have a valid reason for contacting them. To justify legitimate use, you need to do the following:
- Ensure the use of data is non-invasive
- Keep the information private – do not share or sell it
- Demonstrate a benefit to the consumer
- Use market research to determine likely customers
Use Legitimate Interest to market to Consumers
By following the guidelines above, you have a basis for legitimate interest. However, the consumer has every right to opt-out, refuse being contacted, and have their information removed. This ensures that the direct mail is not a malicious use of information.
The DGPR bill passing makes direct mail slightly more confusing to understand. However, you can still have a very successful direct mail campaign. The primary hurdle is finding new customers you can contact. Fortunately, there are many ways to collect opt-ins such as online newsletters, raffles, and more. You can also use the legitimate interest to market to consumers. If you follow the guidelines above, you can justify legitimate use. Just be sure to respect any request for opting-out to avoid issues. Once you gather your list, you’re ready to start reaching new customers!