Signup forms on your website – what are they really there for? To build lists of people who have expressed an interest in knowing more about specific things. This is part of the concept of Permission Marketing which goes back years. However the foundations of the method appear to have been lost in translation as the internet developed. The GDPR actually gives you the chance to build really strong marketing foundations based on permission marketing.
The wrong way is the current vogue. Often it takes the form of the email newsletter. This is usually a truly hellish publication, designed to fulfil the need to send out something, anything, as long as the marketing people are seen to be doing something. They are usually boring, long, off topic and badly written. More than that, they are badly written, have useless titles and are sent to people who neither want them, anticipate them or bother to read them.
A complete waste of everyone’s time.
Even as I write this, an example has just landed in my inbox, sent by a British hotel chain large enough to know better. It is an email from a local hotel, trumpeting an event I have no interest in whatsoever. The copy uses the word “guaranteed” without there actually being one. The message was sent using a Microsoft Outlook email address to a list which I suspect is the membership list of our local Chamber of Commerce. So while they could probably have personalised the message they haven’t bothered. On top of that, there is no “unsubscribe” link so the marketing message doesn’t even comply with old email marketing legislation, never mind any ones.
Like I said, there’s a wrong way to do it. And it appears to be endemic.
The right way to send marketing messages is to send people only information and offers for products they are actually interested in.
You find out what they are interested in by asking them and inviting them to put their hand up and volunteer themselves to receive more information.
THAT is what a signup form on your website is all about.
GDPR helps in that it demands you are clear about the purpose behind you seeking consent. Your target data subjects will only give consent if they know enough about your objectives and they are genuinely interested in finding out more.
This is terrific!! It saves you from wasting valuable resources on people who have no interest at all in what you do.
GDPR also insists that your marketing messages are sent for specific purposes about specific things. So if you have someone who wants to know about a specific type of break (“weekends” for example) you only send them information about your weekend offers. You don’t risk wasting their attention and permission by sending them information about something else entirely.
Being specific is really important. It means your messages become anticipated by the recipient. Not loathed, unread and deleted. As soon as you become irrelevant, the data subject can ask you to stop sending messages. With GDPR, that means you stop straight away.
GDPR brings marketing benefits to all. It makes your marketing more efficient through effective targeting and efficient communication. It wastes less of your prospects’ time because you only send them information about things of interest to them.
Form the point of view of earning “signups” to your list, it means you need to collect your consents carefully and build your lists deliberately. It is no longer appropriate to send a one size fits all newsletter to everyone you can think of.
This means website signup forms need to be about specific subjects and accompanied by an equally specific privacy notice. You need to work hard to earn consent, but you will probably reap the benefits of sending well written, relevant offers to people who are genuinely interested in hearing from you.