For those of us with email lists predominantly, or totally, made up of European citizens, marketing life in Europe may feel rather bleak right now. In fact, it may feel a lot like everything we've built to date has just gone up in flames, all thanks to the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that came into force in Europe on May 25th 2018.
The camp divided into two groups:
Those relying on the lawful basis of legitimate interest to continue emailing their customers - which ensures you don't lose your entire email marketing list in one fail swoop and was the approach taken by a majority of businesses (except many healthcare businesses).
Those who decided to bite the bullet and seek active, positive consent to continue sending marketing emails to their email leads. I took the latter route but I didn't do it out of fear of breaking GDPR rules because I could have also easily argued legitimate interest. Instead I lost just under 80% of my 13,000 mailing list and ended up with just 2,600 people on my freshly culled list.
Most marketing clients I have worked with, have generally had email open rates of 20% plus or minus a couple of percent here and there. A few have been closer to 15%. So guess what, when you do the maths, that means that 80-85% of your don't even see your emails. The ones that do, are the people who genuinely want to receive your emails and are more than likely to open them - ie. 15-20% of the originals.
GDPR has given us a legitimate reason to start afresh. It gives us a chance to respect our email readers in the same way that we'd want bigger businesses to respect us. It means we have to think much more carefully about our email list, be more respectful, offer value and genuinely nurture those 20%, something much more powerful.
It's an opportunity to redefine our marketing efforts and instead of thinking about emails being an opportunity to sell, to think about email marketing in terms of building and nurturing relationships, which after all, is exactly what good marketing should be all about.
So having a major spring clean of your email list is actually a great habit to get into, and something we should be doing regularly, regardless of whether or not it's due to having to comply with national or international regulations.
In short - having a more engaged email list, with higher open rates and click rates and lower bounce rates is good news for any business, it just seems cruel right now, when many of us have worked so hard to get those leads in the first place.
But as the saying goes "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"!
As a number one strategy this is hands-down the best, most effective way to grow your email newsletter list as well as increasing engagement, building trust and authority in spades and encouraging sharing.
If you Google "what's the most effective long term marketing strategy", every result on the first two pages (I couldn't be bothered to go any further) mentions content marketing (or some form of it) in the top two or three strategies - that's how powerful it is.
Why is it so powerful? Because it focuses entirely on adding value to the reader. There's not a sales push in sight, it's purely about educating, informing and where possible also entertaining.
And those are three out of the six key elements identified by Robert Cialdini, a professor of psychology, in his groundbreaking book Influence (which I would highly recommend to everyone as a book worth reading).
The other key benefit of this strategy is because the primary focus of the content you are distributing, revolves around adding value, you get significantly higher opt in rates, open rates, click rates and significantly lower opt out rates. After all, who's going to opt out to information they find useful?
How? By creating high value content which can be downloaded in return for sharing email contact details (accompanied by a positive consent option to receive future marketing content if you need to be GDPR compliant obviously!).
Focus on consistently offering value in terms of providing information that can improve the quality of your readers' lives.
Email is still a phenomenally powerful marketing tool, arguably even more today than it has been for the last 4-5 years. It's still a one way communication with an individual but this privilege must be respected. If you had no relationship with your business, would you still want to receive that email that you're putting together? Does it add value to me? Does it respect my time? Is it worthy of attention compared with the other million thoughts and pieces of information that are going to pass by my eyes today?
If you can say yes to all those, and your engagement rates support this decision, then email marketing will be one of the most powerful tools you have access to.
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Tor began her professional life training as a physiotherapist at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK. She went on to complete a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham whilst also achieving a WTA international tennis ranking.
After graduation she worked for a London marketing agency and then moved into medical journalism where her passion for publishing was born.
At 27 she established sportEX medicine, a quarterly journal for general practitioners focusing on sport and exercise medicine.
sportEX grew into an internationally known journal for all sports medicine practitioners, including physical and manual therapists; articles covered the practical application of evidenced-based research alongside professional development with expert contributors drawn from across the world of medicine and rehabilitation.
With a passion for technology as well as publishing and sport, Tor's leadership grew sportEX into the Co-Kinetic journal and website which included a more collaborative, royalty-based form of publishing as well as a wider content remit. As well as the quarterly magazine Co-Kinetic, offerings now include e-learning opportunities, breaking clinical research infographics, marketing kits for therapists, business growth tools, and a business discount club.
Tor's focus is providing resources to help practitioners and therapists develop their businesses and to work more efficiently and effectively, a topic that she speaks regularly on at global conferences.
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