In the run up to the 25th May, most people in the country received a sustained deluge of emails from companies they’d either bought from or made an enquiry to. Why? Because a new data protection law called the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force. The companies who were emailing you wanted to opt you in to receiving further communications under GDPR. Did they need to? Many marketing experts and commercial lawyers say “no” but they did anyway.

If you use email marketing to generate enquiries from consumers and businesses, you’ll need to be sure that your email marketing is in compliance with GDPR. In this article, we look at what you need to do to stay GDPR-safe and the best ways for you to encourage people to contact you for a quote.

What about my existing customer and enquirer email addresses?

Under the new GDPR law, whenever you process personal data, you must have a legitimate interest to do so. The Information Commissioner’s Office has already ruled that direct marketing is a legitimate business interest so there is a strong argument to say that you will be fine to email your existing customers and people/companies who have not bought from you yet with details of any offers you are running. That’s why the marketing experts and commercial lawyers we mentioned above believe that asking permission to continue sending emails was unnecessary.

What if I want to buy email addresses in?

There are many companies who will sell you the contact details of people or companies who have expressed an interest in what you sell to a third-party company.

GDPR has made purchasing this data a lot more complicated because of the new stricter opt-in requirements that are a feature of the new regulations.

It is generally safe to purchase from data list owners and data brokers who are members of the Direct Marketing Association.

What must I put in my emails to stay compliant?

When you’re sending out marketing emails, whether to customers who have bought from you in the past, people who have made an enquiry but not bought from you, or whose details you have bought from a third-party supplier, you can make your email GDPR compliant with three easy steps. Those steps are:

• you must offer recipients a free-of-charge method to opt out of receiving future marketing emails from you
• you must include the full name of your company and its postal address
• you must not alter any of the identification fields used (like your company name in the “From Name” field) to make the email appear like it’s come from another company.

What should I put in my emails to generate a response?

Email campaign can work very well for traders as they produce a constant stream of enquiries and resulting sales. The first most important thing to remember is that people generally prefer to buy from companies they have a relationship with or with whose brand they are familiar.

Many companies make the mistake of emailing only once to their clients and, because it does not produce the results they were hoping for, giving up on it for good. Others may send out an email every six or nine months.

The problem with both of these situations is that the recipients don’t get to know you. When it comes to boilers, conservatories, double glazing, solar panels, and more, people don’t want to make a mistake when they choose a company to buy from so they are more likely to go with a company they recognise, even if they’ve never dealt with them before.

There’s something else to consider that’s very important. If you email 100 people, it might be that, at that time, only 2 or 3 of them are interested in what you’re selling – they are in the market and ready to buy. The rest aren’t and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

So, to get the best results from email marketing, try to leave no more than a month apart between each communication. That means you’ll catch different people as they come into the market before most other companies do.

Great subject line

The subject line you use is the first thing most people will see. The best rules of thumb to follow are:

• keep it short (so the whole subject line can be read on the recipients’ devices)
• keep to one topic (so that means no “Information on Topic X and Topic Y”)
• let them know if you’re sending a sales email or an email newsletter
• if there’s something they should know about, be succinct and clear in letting them know what

A great headline to catch people’s attention

The headline is the first thing people will see when they open your email. This is the hook that you can use to get them engaged and reading the rest of your email.

Again, be direct and straight to the point. Most people will only spend 8 seconds on an email before they decide to follow up on it or delete it. If you were them receiving your email, what would interest you and how could you get it across in a couple of seconds?

Engaging text

Underneath your headline and perhaps surrounded by pictures is your text – marketers call this the “body copy”. Time is of the essence so get across all the information you need in as short a time as possible, particularly if this is a sales email.

If it’s a newsletter, instead of putting all your articles in full in your email, provide links to the full articles back on your website. What’s great about this is that you’ll be able to track who has opened your email and clicked through to your website.

Mobile-friendly design

Did you know that more than four out of every five emails are viewed on a mobile phone now? Your email is more likely to be opened by a recipient on the bus home or in a restaurant than on their desktop at home or work. There are plenty of software platforms out there you can use to make your design mobile-friendly – try MailChimp, SendGrid, or Constant Contact.

Call to action

At the end of your email, invite your recipients to do something to get in touch with you. You might want to use a push-to-call graphic which will dial your number on their phone directly from your email. If you don’t ask them to get in touch in some way (and make that way easy and immediate), the strong likelihood is that they won’t.

Ask for referrals

The person you’re emailing might not be in the market now but someone they know might be. You could offer a reward for a successful referral to drum up new business from your email campaign.

A good marketing mix is essential

Remember that, although email marketing when done every month can be very successful, you should never rely on just one form of marketing to reach new customers.

Continue to subscribe to the double-qualified leads from our service, advertise in the local free newspaper, do regular leaflet drops, and more. Marketing does not always produce short-term results but by getting your name and brand out there to the local community so they’re familiar with you and the quality of your service pays real dividends in the medium- to long-term.