If you're looking to grow a list of prospects then at some point you'll need to start building an email list.
So how are you going to get those emails?
One method for generating email leads is to give a resource for free in exchange for an email address, but since May 2018 and the inception of the GDPR coming into law...you can't just add these new contacts onto your email list without their explicit consent.
Explicit consent means that not only do you need to inform your prospects in advance that you intend to add them to a regular email list when they sign up for your free resource, but that the contact themselves should be the one to check a box that indicates they agree to this action taking place.
What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and came into effect in May 2018. It is the strongest set of laws that apply to personal data protection and privacy ever passed and apply specifically to citizens of the European Union. However, since these citizens are protected by the law regardless of where they happen to be in the world at any point in time (i.e. while on vacation in a non-EU country) there are very far-reaching implications for businesses worldwide.
While many may attempt to avoid compliance with GDPR by targeting exclusively non-EU countries and excluding the EU, there is a case for being aware of and observing the fundamentals of the law as much as possible. Email laws have increased in their severity over the years around the world, such as CASL in Canada which went in effect on July 1, 2014. It's believed that the United States will also step up their data privacy and protection laws in light of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018.
One of the main distinctions between GDPR and previous legislation is that GDPR grants the ability for fines up to 20 million or 4% of annual turnover.
The video below highlights the problem with the common practice of automatically adding contacts to an email list in a GDPR sensitive world and provides a potential alternative way to manage delivering free email resources to prospects without running afoul of the law.
Is the method outlined in the above video 100% safe against GDPR?
Probably not...as it does rely on the ability of the email service provider's software (in this case - ActiveCampaign) to be able to distinguish whether an incoming contact is indeed from the EU or not. This is a very blurry area in the legislation as EU can be tough to distinguish if they are using a VPN, incognito, masking their IP address or simply visiting a website from a non-EU country while on vacation.
Again - I am not a lawyer, however one factor in determining guilt in most legal cases is the intent of the guilty party. By taking pains to identify contacts from the EU and treating them differently than citizens in the rest of the world, it shows that an effort towards compliance was made.
How are you choosing to deliver lead magnets and free resources via email in light of the GDPR law? Are you deliberately excluding citizens from the EU? Have you come up with a cooler way to deliver the goods and continue to market while protecting yourself from GDPR non-compliance? Or are you just ignoring laws like these while hoping that they just go away?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.