What does GDPR mean to you?

CAN-SPAM, CASL, GDPR... so many abbreviations!

When I heard about the new privacy policy coming out of Europe, I was like, "Yeah, us Canadian’s we got this!"

With CASL established in over 4 years ago, Canadian businesses have been through the ringer and it did feel like our hands were being tied. I have managed to finally set up a Privacy Policy which is on my website. 


Bottom line, GDPR is for businesses that ‘do business’ with anyone in the UK.
— Global News Calgary

The requirement for OPT-INs went so far as to ensure that the person had to give written permission for usage or at the minimum literally typed in their own subscription. Verbal permissions were no longer valid. Toss in the additional requirement to ask people to renew their opt-in every two years was additional work and likely, if not for sure, a reduction in your mailing list.

Full disclosure, I have a total of 250 subscribers on my list. Let’s be honest, I am SMALL potatoes! When I look back at reports, only about 35% of my subscribers open my emails. I think the average industry open rate is 17% which if you think about percentage, hey, not bad right? But I get caught up in the actual numbers - which is less than 90 people a week and leaves 180 unopened emails. I assume the reasons range from:

  1. wanting to keep in touch but don’t have the time to read my diatribes - totally cool - thanks;
  2. they have chosen to go off the grid and don't check emails anymore;
  3. my emails get sent to their junk mail folder so they never have the real opportunity to reconsider our relationship;
  4. my copy is lame and not enough to get them to click;
  5. my infrequency of emails over the years have left them unclear on what I am trying to share;
  6. or they are just not a fan of the content but don't want to hurt my feelings by unsubscribing (yeah, my heart does a little break each time I see an unsubscribe notification, could be related to my early years and wanting to be valued). 

Whatever the reason, the one piece of advice I have been hearing in regards to marketing is that the only people who matter are those that want to hear from you. You can have a subscription list of 20,000 but if you are only getting engagement from 1,000 of them (clicks, purchases, comments and feedback) then 1. you are paying for a list size that isn't giving you a return and 2. who wants to go to a party that they weren't invited to?

With all the emails coming through over the last few weeks with the various websites I am sure you are like me with email overload. It got to a point I just deleted them. I don’t even remember signing up for most of them. I use it as an opportunity to clean up my subscription relationships. Before all of this, I was lazy, like many people, I’d be fine with the emails until I had a spur of energy and cared enough to remove myself from a list. So if there is one thing that the new policies are encouraging a more engage and respectful relationship between business with their customers and followers.

I found a post that has done a decent outline of differences between CASL and GDPR, below is their chart that outlined it as well.

 Image from Maximizer.com

Image from Maximizer.com

From what I garnered the GDPR has amped up CASL by also requiring:

  1. Personal Data Safeguards need to be set in place in the early stages. I am going to go out on a limb here and since I have been using MailChimp, they seem to have done their due diligence in that respect.

  2. OPT-IN each time you want to use information in a new way, for example, a new list of a new product or service, you have to get them to OPT-IN for it.

How does this all affect my lists? Well, to be honest, I think I’m good, due to my list requirements and current subscriptions, my reach outside of North America is not as applicable. I do welcome and love getting connections across the pond, but world domination on my bucket list, yet, so I will be making steps I can to ensure my ducks are in a row should my priorities change.

One of those steps will be to work on setting up a specific 'official' newsletter to have my current list renew/update their subscription preferences. With MailChimp's help to ensure GDPR compliance I have four different marketing permissions set up:

  1. INK News - basically my current weekly list remains the same. You can read my updated welcome email archived online for clarification of what you can expect from INK News. 

  2. NEW | Crystal Ink Business Updates - this is a new one I have been working to establish, reaching out to clients and customers when there are updates like office closures, working operations changes and the like. This list would be sent out on an as-needed basis when there are updates to share that would impact you as a client or customer.

  3. NEW | myLife Planners - this list would be for promotions specific to the product line. I will still talk about the planners in INK News - but for anything specific to the products I would share here, such as special promotions and product updates only.

  4. NEW | Creatives’ Cupboard - this list would be specific to updates and promotions about Creatives’ Cupboard, the website as well as the publication updates and promotions. 

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