Well that was a monumental headache wasn’t it? GDPR turned out to be more of a pain than the occasional emptying of our Junk Boxes!
During May, my personal Junk Box and Inbox were totally rammed full of multiple emails from the same company begging me to reconfirm that I wanted to receive their emails. To be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered with it.
However, what was interesting was that in the main, I noticed that the big companies were not doing this. However, the small companies and sole traders were. This fact made me pause for thought – what legal advice had they been given?
Some of my friends who also have their own businesses sent several emails over the weeks leading up to GDPR D Day. They were asking me ‘Is this the end?’ or ‘Are you sure you don’t want to hear from me any more?’
I know many in my Facebook group #OsteopathyWorks were doing the same after major scaremongering by certain ‘experts’. Some of these surely made a mint out of the confusion.
These begging emails felt more spammy than spam!
Quite frankly that whole period was annoying, super spammy AND time consuming!
In the last couple of decades, building an email list has been a vital part of growing a business. We don’t own our social media pages and they can be closed down at will by the companies, leaving us with no followers and a broken business. At least our email list belongs to us. Or does it?
Was GDPR just about wrecking small businesses?
I held off from getting into the fray whilst the dust settled and finally some sensible advice came from the Deputy Commisioner of the ICO. During a couple of radio interviews he explained that if we already had an existing email list and had onging relationships with those people, then we could continue.
That made enormous sense to me. The aim of the new regulations was to put a stop to major spamming by large firms who bought lists and then subsequently hounded people with unsolicited email and phone calls.
Indeed I know of a highly ambitious player in the coaching world who invested in and bought Osteopathic, Chiropractic and other lists and spammed them like crazy. I would bet my bottom dollar that he hasn’t begged people to opt back in to his lists!! At least he didn’t ask me…
It is inconceivable that the aim of the GDPR changes was to destroy legitimate small businesses by decimating their email lists. Whilst email isn’t as big a marketing tool as it used to be, it is still very important in maintaining contact with people who are customers or who have signed up for our newsletters.
Small businesses are here to serve our communities and to suddenly stop communicating with our customers and potential customers is likely to damage our growth and our ability to serve.
Indeed, I have been told many times: ‘whilst I don’t open every email from you, I always know you’re there if I need you’ and that is it in a nutshell. Reassurance and connection.
And of course, as is the case with everyone, I get the occasional unsubscribe (that has always been an option within my emails) and that is totally OK with me.
If someone’s circumstances have changed or they decide for whatever reason that they are no longer interested in our information, then they can leave our lists with a simple click of a button.