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What changes do you need to make for GDPR?

Published: 30th January 2018
GDPR goes live on May 25th, in order to become compliant, most of us will have to make quite a few changes to how we collect, store and use our customer’s and contact’s data.

In this video, we are going to focus on how we collect data from our contacts.

GDPR states that your contacts must have asked join your list via a positive opt in – this means that an action is required on their part to join. For example they must put a tick in an unticked box.

GDPR also states that you must include a statement outlining how you intend to use their private data that you are asking for.

Ok, so with these key principles in mind let’s look at how we can change our current collection methods accordingly.

Web order page

When you purchase something online, after you’ve enter your payment and shipping info, you’ll generally be taken to an order confirmation page.

Most online retailers will have a small text section at the very bottom of that page with a pre-ticked box that says “please add me to your mailing list”

Under the terms of GDPR, this is a real no-no. The fines for falling on the wrong side of GDPR are pretty huge so it’s a good idea to make the changes you need to now.

Firstly – the box needs to be unticked, the customer must put the tick in the box themselves. You must also make them aware of what they are signing up to and how you’ll use their data.

For example:

"We’d like to send you our newsletter once a month, it’ll contain exclusive content for our subscribers and discounts. Your data is private and we never pass it on to third parties – you’ll only ever receive emails from us."

As the box is by default unticked, you should put this somewhere where the customer can clearly see it, so no more burying a pre-ticked box at the bottom of the page, hoping no-one will see it.

If you offer your customer a sound reason to join – they will. You just need to put some thought into how to tempt your customers. Exclusive content is a great way to do this.

Web sign up form

Again, this uses the same logic as the web order page. Anything that we are currently using must be converted to include a positive opt in and an explanation of what their details will be used for.

The key here is to make sure that your sign up form is in a prominent place. You could have it as a pop up on exit for example – when people leave your website, the popup appears.

If your focus is on offering exclusive content or subscriber only offers then this really works. Using it at the point of exit is great, because your viewers have at this stage had the chance to view your site and build a degree of interest.

Over the telephone

GDPR requires that you have proof of opt in, this proof should recorded so that it can be produced if a contact asks for it.

Of course, over the telephone you will not have a paper trail in the same way that you will with something that is web based.

So, over the phone you’ll need to ask permission and to explain briefly what you would send and perhaps the frequency.

All you need to do is to keep a record of the date and time of that verbal confirmation.

If you wanted to be super diligent, you could then send an email, confirming that they have been including in your database for future marketing sends.

You then have a good solid record of when and how that opt in occurred.

Face to Face

This method is often overlooked, during face to face contact such as in a shop or place of business, very rarely is the customer asked for an email address.

Under GDPR, as we know, we need to record a positive opt in. – so how do we do this face to face?

The best method that we’ve seen is having a small promotional card, postcard sized for example. This card would clearly outline what they are joining and what they’ll be receiving.

At the point of enquiry or sale, you’d ask you contact to fill one out, with their email address and brief details.

These can then be retained accordingly, so documented proof of a positive opt in can be produced later if required.


GDPR means that lots of us will have to make some changes to how we do things, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Often we see changes in the law as lots of red tape and jumping through hoops for the sake of it.

Looking at how we do things and making changes means that we can use this exercise to get better – to get more focused. These changes will then have a positive effect on building a database of well qualified contacts.
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