If you’ve been building your list based on a free download in return for getting an email address, you may be wondering where you stand in relation to the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).  Can you still offer a free download document with valuable learning for the reader as a part of your marketing strategy?

The answer is ‘yes’, providing you make it clear what you intend to use that email address for.

The right message in the right place

Of course, nobody wants to clutter up your download box to be cluttered up with lots of policy information so here’s a suggestion (bear in mind this is based on practical experience rather than as a GDPR expert!)

The first thing to address is your Privacy Policy on your website.  This needs to clearly state:

  • What information you store obtained from anyone completing forms on your website
  • How it’s stored
  • For how long you intend to keep it
  • What you intend to use information for
  • How someone can have their information removed from your list

Ideally, you should have a data management policy for all the data your company has, for customers, suppliers and other miscellaneous contacts.  This should also address all the points above, but for each category of information.

The next step is to ensure that someone who has completed the box offering a free download, knows what they’re signing up to.  I use a double opt-in system like MailChimp or AWeber (there are lots of others) so they get an email asking them to verify they definitely want to be on this list.

When they click the verification link they are taken to a page on my website (hidden to everyone else) where they can download the free document and read the information about what they can expect from being on the list and how to get off it.

For instance on the entry page for my Treasure Chest it says:

If you sign up to gain entry to the Treasure Chest you’ll not only get access to various free documents (and some paid for) to help your business, but you will also receive occasional emails with additional information or offers that are aimed at helping your business.

You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time by using the ‘unsubscribe’ link in the footer of the email.

If you have an existing list it’s wise to drop them a note outlining these points and reminding them that they can unsubscribe.

In reality, most people know that, if they sign up for a free download, they will get marketing by email.  As long as your marketing is loaded with value and written in an engaging way, you’ll keep most of them on your list.