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GDPR Email Consent and What It Means

The Internet has been buzzing the last few weeks with the news about the new General Data Protection Regulation European law, referred to as the GDPR.

The GDPR will officially become active on May 25th 2018 and it will majorly affect the email marketing industry. If you are utilizing emails as a part of your marketing strategy, you should be aware of the impact the GDPR is going to have on the way your email strategies operate.

This strict privacy law will alter the way companies collect personal data from the citizens of the EU. Every company or brand that benefits from the enormous EU market will have to comply to the new rules and regulations or it will be facing strict fines.

Below is a brief overview of the changes the GDPR is going to introduce to the email marketing industry.

1. The regulation will bring stricter rules when it comes to gathering consent from individual citizens of the EU. The consent will have to be given willingly and freely, meaning marketers will no longer be allowed to use the pre-ticked boxes next to the consent request. Individuals will have to actively participate in giving consent. Therefore, inactivity in the form of not unticking the box will no longer be considered as affirmation of consent.

2. The marketers will have to offer easily accessible ways to cancel the subscription. Every marketing email will have to contain an easy opt-out option and the process of cancelling the subscription will have to be quick and simple. The marketers will not be allowed to ask for additional information or logins during the opt-out process. The point of this rule is to offer subscribers the freedom to opt-out of a campaign any time they want to do so.

3. Marketers will also no longer be allowed to request a piece of personal information such as an email address in order to receive a newsletter, free e-book or any form of free service or product.

4. Companies will have to keep detailed records of who consented to email campaign, as well as when and how they consented. The evidence of these actions and detailed information will be mandatory for every company that utilizes email marketing.

Fines as per GDPR rules

As we already mentioned, not complying with the new GDPR rules will result in strict fines that can go up to 20 million Euros. The fines can also be implemented in form of taking 4% of the brand’s total annual turnover, which can add up to over 20 million Euros.

The new European law also applies to all subscribers who have previously consented to receiving email content. If your previous process of gathering consent does not already comply to the rules, you will have to run a brand new campaign to gain re-permission from all your subscribers.

Even though many marketers already complied to these rules before the GDPR it is important to ensure that all businesses are respecting the new law. For more information on how to prepare for the new regulations, contact us at

David James

President, Bethesda List Center, Inc + Bethesda Emedia Marketing.