email marketing

The Influence of GDPR on e-mail marketing and what can you do about it

  • 6 min read




E-mail marketing has been going strong for years. Although many predicted it would not last as a successful Marketing Model, it did. The spammers were eliminated, and the real, exciting content writers survived.

E-mail marketing gave marketers the option to communicate with their customers on a personal level. With new AI Technologies, it managed to provide specific information on what the users are willing to read and when.

The main task was to collect e-mails from new or potential customers. But once they filled out a form or bought something, the e-mail could be added to any e-mail list. If the users got unwanted e-mails, they had the option to unsubscribe, at the bottom of every e-mail.

GDPR is changing the way e-mails collected, and lists are created.

GDPR has made a significant shift in scope, as it does not only apply to organizations that are based in the European Union, but also to anyone who processes and stores information about EU citizens.

The Consent

We already talked in an article about the main changes of GDPR. The main one for both consumers and marketers is consent. Without consent, marketers’ hands are tied.

What does that specifically mean for e-mail marketing?

You need to get consent from your customers to send e-mails that are freely given, specific and informed.
  • Informed means that the customers know what kind of information he will be getting.
  • Freely given means that there was no requirement to provide the consent and that the customer won’t be denied any other service if the permission for collecting the email is not given.
  • Specific means that the users know who has access to their information and why.

What you need to do is:
  • have the right opt-in permissions rules
  • pay attention to the active and conscious consent of the new customer
  • check the given consent before sending anything
  • give the customer the option to delete all gathered information without a specific reason
  • check your Users terms and Services.

The new E-Mail Marketing

So, the right question is, what do I need to do with my already collected e-mails and lists? The thing with the GDPR is that it is created to benefit the end user, the everyday internet consumer, and online shopper.

That’s why the new rules don’t only apply to data that was collected after May 25th, 2018. If you have the consent of users to receive marketing emails, and if those costumers explicitly agree to receive such messages before GDPR, you can continue communicating with them.

e-mail marketing


    Every internet user needs to be informed about their rights and rules. Many companies, such as LinkedIn have sent e-mails informing their users about the data protection regulation. And that is precisely what you should do.
    • Inform your customers about GDPR and the rights they have.
    • Collect the consent for using their personal information.
    • Check if you have a double opt-in practice.
    • Passivity or already marked checkbox are not valid.
    • Get all the information about how, where and who got the collected information you have.
    Indeed, it is necessary to ask the customers to choose what type of subscriptions they want to receive, for example, newsletters, invitations of events, first-minute deals, etc. 

    It would be good to let customers choose how often they want to receive this type of material on their e-mail.

    e-mail marketing


    E-Mail Marketing automation

    The automation of email marketing has enabled you to save time in communicating via mail to customers, but GDPR brings new changes to the use of this automation. To send automated email messages to the customers, they need to give you an active consent. Independent of the approval, customer segmentation should not be neglected. 

    The use of algorithms for automated decision making is not a solution, and the human factor should also be taken into account.

    We can conclude that GDPR affects both new users and existing users who want to be removed from the list.

    The new Unsubscribe Option


    The unsubscribe option was great for customers and businesses. The customers let the marketers know that they were not interested in the content, and they were only removed from that e-mail List. But, this didn’t mean that the collected information was deleted and wasn’t used for other purposes. 

    For example, creating Social Media Ad Campaigns targeting customers from whom the e-mails were collected. With the new right to delete all collected information, the unsubscribe option will also change. For marketers, this means giving the customers more options.

    The goal is to make GDPR easy and understandable for users, so they will not give up on email campaigns for no reason.

    The customers can ask:

    • unsubscribe from that particular campaign/list
    • unsubscribe from all lists, and not getting any more e-mails
    • contact you about the collected personal information.

    e-mail marketing


    You need to enable the customer to quickly remove their data from the email list, and then delete all customer information that you have previously saved.

    e-mail marketing


    It is crucial to keep in mind that the customer has the right to see all collected information, knowing why this information was collected, for how long it will be stored and ask for it to be deleted. 

    These are the basics rights that, if consent is given, give you the option for data profiling under GDPR. Data profiling contributes to creating personal send e-mails, based on collected customer information.


    Was GDPR the end of e-mail marketing? The answer is no. It only makes Marketers create a better strategy, of sending only e-mails that are interesting and important to customers.

    With the help of AI, all that can be done.  And it makes customers read the e-mails they got. E-mail marketing would never work if the customers needed first to open the e-mail and then fell in love with the company.

    It should be the other way around, and GDPR is making sure that it does. The customers who give their consent will be informed on what content they will get, and they would want to read it because they will be familiar with the company.

    It is now our task to get them to want those e-mails by creating a successful business, with the right marketing strategies. And Oxidian can help you with all the above.

    We can make your online brand stronger, and further build your online community. Contact us and learn how. Or contact us with any questions about e-mail marketing or  GDPR. 

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