Three Ways to Revitalise Your Emails in a Post GDPR World

GDPR has happened and we’re all still here. There’s been plenty of fretting over the smaller email lists we’ve all been left to deal with, but so far only a handful of companies have fled in terror from email marketing as a concept. Assuming you’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it’s time to put your streamlined email marketing database to work. Here are three ways to revitalise your emails in a post GDPR world.

Making the Most of Your Post GDPR Email Database

Step One: Get Personal

Segmentation is one of those things that everyone should do already. Breaking down your database into segments lets you personalise and target your email content to improve open rates, clickthrough rates and conversions. But nobody’s had the time.

Well now your lists are smaller, so it’s time to seize the opportunity. At the very least, you need to split your email lists into three segments:

Past and Current Clients.

These people have seen the value in your products and services. That means they’ll respond to returning client discounts, tips on making the most out of their purchases, and opportunities to leave feedback in ways that leads never can.

Leads (Hot and Cold).

If a lead is still on your marketing list after being given every chance to remove themselves, chances are that they’re still interested in your offerings. This is the segment that you can send your sales pitches out to. After all, that’s why they’re still listening. Don’t view this solely as a sales list though – keep providing content that’ll strengthen your relationship with this segment (which we’ll discuss below).

Interested Industry Partners.

Any list has the assorted hangers-on that won’t buy your services. Maybe they’ve provided you with a service in the past, maybe they’re in your industry and looking for advice, or maybe they’re just nosey. They’re not interested in what you’re selling, but they are interested in you. So tailor this segment’s content towards providing information. That’ll give you a chance of generating links, social media activity and a nice bit of brand evangelism.

Segmentation is crucial in the post GDPR world. If the people on your email list are getting personalised, relevant messaging, they're less likely to unsubscribe.Click To Tweet

Step Two: Find Your Voice

Now you’ve worked out who’s on your list, it’s time to make sure you’re speaking their language. In the month leading up to the GDPR deadline, we’ve all recieved dozens of emails from all kinds of companies. And we’ve unsubscribed from every list we’re not interested in. So if your email lands in our inboxes, it’s because we want to hear what you have to say.

One type of email list hit hardest by GDPR unsubscribers was the boring, identi-kit product and price list emails. Nobody wants to see your stock lists. They want something authentic, something real. Something that sounds like you.

I’ve not seen a single copywriter complain about GDPR decimating our lists. Why? Because we’ve got a handle on tone of voice. I could fill a book on picking a tone of voice for your business, but here’s a quick bullet point list to make sure your next email doesn’t leave readers yawning.

  • Be authentic. If you answer the phone to clients with a cheery “alright matey?” don’t open your emails with a stiff and formal “Dearest Madam.” If you call a spade a spade, don’t write emails about manual loam relocation implementation.
  • Get to the point. Don’t waffle. Even brands with immediately recognisable tones don’t spend ages setting the tone up with superfluous nonsense. That’s why Innocent sound like Innocent and not Russell Brand.
  • Don’t be afraid of informality. Everyone on that list is reading because they like your company, and they’re interested in what you have to say. Write like you’re having a conversation, not an interrogation.
Your subscribers that didn't fall through the GDPR trapdoor want to hear from you, so make sure it's always your voice that they're hearingClick To Tweet

Step Three: Provide Genuine Value

In a way, GDPR has been beneficial for businesses as well as consumers. Your post-GDPR email list is streamlined and theoretically quite engaged. But that’s not something that’ll last indefinitely if you don’t think about the emails you send.

We’ve all been subjected to a month-long training exercises in unsubscribing from low-quality emails.

Think of all the TV reports, news articles, training seminars, all telling people to keep a close eye on who has their data and why. And you’ll realise that your database has been taught to be far less forgiving.

Where in the past a recipient might just delete an email unseen, now they’re going to unsubscribe.

So that means that every single email you send needs to provide genuine value. What’s valuable to your readers depends on who they are (see why you should be segmenting your list?), and it’s not always going to be immediately apparent to you.

The following fallback ideas for useful, valuable content will see you through in the short term, but you need to start thinking more deeply:

  • Blog post summaries
  • How-to guides
  • Product reviews
  • Special offers
  • Industry insights

Straight away you’ll see that not all of these fallback ideas are going to appeal to every user. An interested industry partner might not want an offer, and leads might not care about the day to day goings on in your industry. So what’s the solution to providing regularly valuable content?

Analysis, testing and questioning.

Analysis is simple. If an email has an above-average interaction rate, it’s valuable. Write more of it. If it generates a sigh of disinterest and an above-average unsubscribe rate, it’s not valuable. Write less of it.

Testing is invaluable. Of course, if you’re going to take a risk on an email, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. MailChimp supports simple AB testing of everything from subject lines to styles, allowing you to show different options to a smaller number of subscribers. The email that performs better then goes to the rest of your segment, allowing for low-risk analysis.

Questioning is key. If you’ve got highly engaged subscribers that read most of your emails, ask them what they like. Find out what they want to see more of. And tailor your messages based on their feedback. Simply asking your subscribers what they like is an almost foolproof way to ensure value.

In the post GDPR landscape, email marketing needs to be valuable to survive. So focus on what you know your readers react to, instead of what you want to tell them.Click To Tweet

Better Emails in a Post GDPR World

Email marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s never been rocket science. At the heart, email marketing is about creating valuable content and firing it into your subscribers’ inboxes. If that content is valuable, personalised and authentic, then this legislation shouldn’t hold you back at all.

And if your content isn’t valuable, personalised or authentic, it’s time to hire an email copywriter to help you out. I know just the guy.

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