GDPR – it’s your favourite subject, right? But with some creative thinking, and a proactive approach, maybe it could just turn out to be an opportunity…
by Viki Harris
The thought of GDPR used to make me shudder. And eat chocolate. And drink gin. Sometimes I did all 3 at the same time (although never gin at work, honest boss).
But recently something changed, a chink of light has been revealed and, because I’m generally a pretty positive person, I’m now sure that this new normal we're all working towards isn’t the disaster we feared.
My role in our GDPR compliance relates to digital comms, and for the purposes of this blog it’s all about e marketing. Like most people in local government I’ve been through the 5 stages of grief when it comes to GDPR and, at the acceptance stage, I started to plan. I started with a complicated plan; clever targeting, quirky messaging and only going to those people we HAD to contact. But it soon fell short, our governance team had concerns about compliance and time was running out for all the fancy bits too.
So we’ve gone for simple – one email to all (yes all) public subscribers. A simple call to action to click to stay subscribed, heading to a landing page of thanks. A subtle link on the landing page to sign up for more emails if you fancy. And a schedule of follow up emails to people who don’t click yes with enough speed.
Our first email went out last Tuesday. We used A/B testing to get the wording right and were surprised to see people preferred the blunt over the friendly. So out went the blunt email to thousands of subscribers and I bit my nails. But here’s the cool bit...
Option A – straight to the point and brief - 56.5% click rate
Option B – A bit more friendly, but more words too – 40% click rate
Within 4 hours over a third of people had already clicked to stay subscribed. A week on and we're over the 50% mark. The vast majority of subscribers based on a single email have told us they want to stay. Thank you, we love you too. But even better than that they’ve followed our subtle link to their profiles and they’ve signed themselves up for even more emails. Our weekly news bulletin is up 50% and our town hall events bulletin up by over a third.
So what started out as a frustrating exercise to meet new rules is shaping up to be the PR plan we were planning post 25 May. Yes of course we're losing some subscribers, but these people weren’t that into us anyway so the break up isn’t too hard. And those that clicked yes are so engaged with our content that they want more of it, which is great!
We can’t predict the final numbers once we’ve pressed the delete button at the end of May, but with quality over quantity I’m looking forward to seeing how this affects our engagement rates next.
Viki Harris is senior communications officer at Kirklees Council