Consent to data processing and marketing: a matter of legislation… and that’s not all.
In this article
The word “consent” in Email Marketing is undoubtedly associated with the concepts of legislation, European regulation and GDPR. However, few focus on the importance of consensus in terms of performance, reputation and deliverability. Let’s see together how and why the request for consent influences these 3 factors.
If you are looking for the classic article that explains how to reconcile your marketing activities with data processing legislation you are in the wrong place. For this delicate issue, we have a dedicated page on our MailUp website.
But while you’re here, maybe we can tell you something you don’t know. For example, the performance of your email campaigns may depend on contact profiling and the consent request process. Or that maybe, the reason why your emails do not arrive at their destination (“deliverability”) lies precisely in the failure to request consent.
To discover the importance of consent for your Email Marketing activities (beyond the legal field) we gave the floor to two MailUp professionals, Davide and Alberto, who have been working for years in the world of Email Marketing, studying its phenomena and helping our customers to improve performance.
Davide Gerevini: “Always busy in the information technology sector, I have made Saas (software as a service) my field of specialization, first as an expert in computer systems and in recent years paying particular attention to customer relations. I focus on the research and implementation of effective strategies for the provision of support services focused on the customer, on the performance and on the enhancement of the talent of my collaborators to achieve the exceeding of expectations, with an eye to the best practices of the sector”
Alberto Miscia: “I have been working in the email marketing industry for over 10 years. I love numbers, figuring out what they tell us and – even more – what they don’t. This led me towards a natural development in the field of Email Deliverability, an area with few certainties but where one thing is sure: the email will reach its destination if the recipient wants to receive it and finds it relevant. My ambition is to ensure that there are more and more recipients who want to receive emails sent by MailUp customers and that these recipients get them in their inbox”
What is profiling?
Profiling is the set of operations of collection and use of recipients’ data to carry out targeted and effective Email Marketing activities (and that’s not all).
In today’s Email Marketing, 2 macroscopic approaches to data collection are distinguished:
- unique profiling, which involves collecting contact information at a single juncture
- progressive profiling, which provides for a collection of data over time and at different times of the relationship with the recipient.
In turn, progressive profiling can be broken down into two different strategies:
- Direct progressive profiling, based on the explicit request to the contact to update preferences and interests through direct emails and profiling forms such as these:
- Indirect progressive profiling, based on the implicit inference of contact data and information. This deduction can be made by observing the behaviors and interactions of the recipients with the content that the company sends them.
What do you need to profile?
In order to adopt any profiling method among those mentioned above and exploit the data collected, the essential condition is obviously to have requested and obtained consent to the processing of personal data by the recipients.
Consent is in fact what enables and triggers a virtuous circle, ranging from the collection of information to the segmentation of the database into distinct targets based on the data provided, up to the personalization and automation of your email campaigns.
We can therefore say that a number of key aspects of Email Marketing depend on consent.
Let’s see them together.
Why is consent important?
Consent = expectation
Those who subscribe to your mailing lists and give their consent expect (indeed, have the will) to receive emails from your company. If in fact you have built a subscription flow respecting the best practices of Database Building and avoiding buying pre-packaged address lists, you will have “in front of you” of a contact who is really interested and predisposed to communicate with you.
Not only that, but your consent demonstrates your willingness to share your data to have a return in terms of more personalized emails, tailored offers and content of interest to you. In fact, our advice is to explicitly make it clear to your contacts that sharing their data is actually a benefit for them, because they will not be bothered by irrelevant messages, but will only receive content, offers and updates of interest to them.
90% of consumers declare themselves happy to share personal data to receive exclusive discounts on products and services of their interest
Consensus = relevance
The first advantage is absolutely that of the Increased relevance of the messages you send. Having collected, through consent and profiling, data on contacts, whether personal (age, gender, job role), geographical or behavioral (last date of purchase, average value of the portfolio, recently viewed content), means being able to distinguish targets within your database (or “segment”) and send relevant and personalized emails to each target accordingly.
It therefore means being able to reach the recipient with the right message, which reflects your interests, meets your needs and stimulates a purchase.
Statista forecasts that by 2023, global returns from a personalized customer experience will exceed $9 billion.
Consensus = performance
Expectation prepares the recipient to be receptive and ready to interact. Relevance stimulates them to click and convert. Together, expectation and relevance play a key role in improving performance of every single email campaign. The more accurate and punctual the data obtained, the more relevant the contents of your emails will be. As a result, opens, clicks, conversions, and engagement will be more favorable.
Consent = revenues
More relevance and better performance lead, consequently, to higher chances of conversions and sales from your Email Marketing campaigns. Obtaining consent from your recipients means having the keys to unlocking the sending of promotional communications, ad-hoc offers for the targets of your database, emails with personalized content that more incisively stimulate a purchase (think of all those abandoned cart emails, suggesting products similar to those searched for or purchased).
According to the study Next in Personalization 2021 by McKinsey, the companies that grew fastest in 2021 said that 40% of revenues were achieved thanks to personalization.
Consensus = trust = deliverability and reputation
Among the various metrics that are positively influenced by consensus, the delivery rate is one of the main ones. If your contacts are interested in receiving your emails and have given consent to receive them, they will be inclined to open your emails and not report them as spam messages. When you collect contacts without profiling and consent or, worse, when you decide to buy email addresses you are exposed to the risk that these may be invalid, unsafe or disinterested: all factors that increase the chances of ending up in the Spam folder, resulting in damage to your delivery ability and sender reputation.
How to request consent: best practices
- Set the double opt-in method to validate the quality and real interest of the contact who intends to register.
- Make sure you have verification systems such as CAPTCHAs to protect your subscription forms from bots.
What are bots? These are programs that scan the internet in search of registration forms to be used to send spam messages. Each registration form on the web is linked to a mechanism based on sending a message to the sender or subscribed. Bots work by attacking mail servers that send these messages with the goal of sending spam messages.
- create your registration forms with a professional tool like MailUp, that puts the functionality of Invisible Captcha at your disposal. In this way your contacts sign up without having to check any box related to the captcha, but the form remains safe and secure
In addition to captcha, MailUp is equipped with an additional security system, the bot detector, which increases the degree of security and protection of your registration forms even when you do not enable the invisible captcha (although our advice is to always enable it).
Switch to MailUp! Discover the advantages of an easy-to-use and secure tool by activating a Platform Free Trial.
- use multiple mailing lists (MailUp’s multi-list environment) for different types of mailings (transactional emails, newsletters, offers and promotions, events, etc.). For each mailing list you will have to ask for consent to subscribe, to ensure that a contact wants to receive any type of communication to which they have voluntarily subscribed. To cite the example of MailUp, our subscribers to the MailUp newsletter can also choose to subscribe to the list of submissions related to our training resources (webinars and ebooks) by giving consent through the flag you see in this form:
Having multiple mailing lists allows you to give recipients the ability to choose which emails to receive and also to update their preferences if their interests change.
Discover How to create multiple mailing lists and which ones to create for your type of business: read the article
Post-registration and welcome phase:
- the first welcome email is crucial. Make sure you are timely and personal. Starting a dialogue when the contact is more responsive and expects to receive an email from you is the key to not being reported as a Spammer and not to make the contact forget that they have given you consent. Moreover, the more relevant your email is, the stronger the relationship that will be created with your company.
- collect data that you did not ask for during registration. After breaking the ice with the welcome email and having set a certain confidence with your contacts, you can start profiling them by collecting all that information that you did not “dare to ask” at the time of registration, both not to make the compilation of the form too long, and not to discourage the user. These are some examples of emails that you can send, directly or indirectly, to collect the data you need:
Source: Really Good Emails
Source: Really Good Emails
- keep your data up to date. The needs and preferences of your recipients, whether customers or prospects, can easily change over time. Be sure to keep your data up to date by including the link to the Preference Center in each of your emails, periodically sending emails requesting updates of preferences or observing the behavior of your recipients according to the content you send them (if they no longer open certain messages, it means that they are no longer interested in that type of content).
What tools to use
The profiling form is the main tool that allows you to make your recipients fill in the fields you want to collect the data you need for your subsequent Email Marketing campaigns.
With MailUp you can create custom profiling forms using the drag & drop editor.
You can choose to enter any field to collect the data you need depending on your type of business and your needs.
Once you have created the form, to allow your recipients to fill it out and give you their data you will have to insert the form within an email message, simply by connecting it to a Call to Action button (by clicking on the button and selecting Special Links)
You can also link your profiling form to a portion of the text of the message. Just highlight the text and select, in the advanced toolbar, Special links > Profile update forms.
Select the form you created earlier and send your message.
At this point, you can use the data collected through forms to create segments within your database using MailUp segmentation tools: groups and filters.
The footer, the part at the bottom of the email, is your best ally to comply with the best practices we have listed. It is in fact the section of the email intended for all those elements that serve to give transparency and relevance to your messages, namely:
- Unsubscribe link, to clean your database from all those contacts who are no longer interested and want to be able to unsubscribe easily
- Preference Center, to invite the contact to change their preferences, if they no longer want to receive certain types of messages
- Permission reminder, to remind the recipient that you are sending them that email precisely because they gave you consent to do so
Each of your emails must therefore have a footer that always contains these three elements.
With this feature you can in fact create your perfect footer, save it and reuse it for all your subsequent emails simply by going to the “Form” tab of the editor during email creation and selecting your footer from the drop-down menu among the “Saved modules”:
What happens if you don’t ask for consent?
- Non-compliance with legislation and serious legal risks
- Failure to adhere to Email Marketing best practices (profiling, segmentation and personalization)
- Risk of Spam, non-delivery and poor deliverability
- Damage to your reputation as a sender
- Low performance of your campaigns (the emails you send are not considered relevant and are not opened)
- Low return on investment of the email channel