The general consensus among individuals seems to be that GDPR is a good thing.
The general consensus among businesses seems to be that GDPR is a pain in the arse.
But hang on, aren’t we really one and the same?
In this post, we’re going to aim for some positivity. I’m going to list some reasons why you should be genuinely happy about the changes coming into force on the 25th of May (yep, that’s this month).
GDPR… Yep. What’s That Again?
If you’re a business owner, you must know about GDPR by now. Here’s a very quick summary in case you’ve just woken up from a coma (congratulations, by the way):
The European General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on the 25th of May, and it will change the way businesses and public sector organisations collect, store, and handle information from their customers.
The aim is to make everything data-related a lot more transparent. For example, businesses will have to make it much clearer to customers why their data is being collected, how it will be used, and what right they have to make it disappear.
If you need more info, head to the ICO website, pronto.
Sounds Like a Lot of Work. Why Should I be Happy About GDPR, again?
Small-business owners especially have been panicking about the amount of work they have to do to comply with the GDPR. One caller on Radio 4 went so far as to say that he’d actually taken himself completely out of his business for the last six months, purely to focus on GDPR compliance.
But is it really that big a deal?
Well, yes and no.
Ensuring that you comply with the new laws is going to take some work. It’s going to take work that is not going to directly make you any money.
So, yeah that bit is a pain in the arse.
Is it so much work that you’re going to need six full months to focus on it? Well, you’d better bloody hope not, because you no longer have that long.
So, more work = bad, but I do genuinely think there’s lots that = good in these changes.
At Leadfreak we are genuinely embracing GDPR, and we really do think it will be good for our business.
So. What’s the bigger picture?
Here are four reasons GDPR should make you happy…
1. Complying With GDPR Will Improve Your Business’ Reputation
GDPR affects everyone, so even people who aren’t involved in the inner workings of a business are likely to have heard of it.
If May 25th rolls around and you’re left floundering because your business hasn’t made the necessary changes, you’re going to look unprofessional.
On the flipside, making sure that your business is GDPR compliant is going to show that you’re on the ball, and this will enhance your company’s reputation. Your customers’ confidence in you will increase, and that’s always good for business.
Good businesses have good business practice. So, whether or not you’re thrilled with the changes, it can only benefit you to get on board.
2. GDPR is Genuinely a Good Thing For Humanity
I don’t think there are many people who would disagree with the statement that, as individuals, none of us wants to see our personal data being abused or used against our will.
So, as businesses, we should feel the same about the data of our customers.
A lot of businesses seem to be up in arms about GDPR because they think it means they’ll no longer be able to collect customer data, but that’s not true.
GDPR doesn’t mean you have to stop gathering data about your customers. It doesn’t even mean you have to stop using that data to target them and retarget them online.
All it means is that you have to be honest about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what it means for your customers.
They have a right to know – it’s their data.
Of course, there’s a concern that people won’t want to give you their data if it’s clear what you’ll be doing with it. If there’s nothing shady or risky about what you’re doing with people’s data, however, they don’t have a reason to worry.
The truth is that businesses need to be able to collect data from their customers. And, for the most part, people recognise this and are therefore pretty happy to provide it:
73% of people agree that you have to provide personal information in order to buy things online. – DMA
So, you shouldn’t worry that suddenly everyone’s going to refuse to hand over their data. GDPR makes it absolutely their right to do so, but people will only really have a reason to if you won’t be treating it with the care it deserves.
Yes, making sure you’ve taken the right steps to comply with GDPR takes time and effort. I would go so far as to say that it’s a bit of a ball ache. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to do it.
Suck it up, GDPR is for the best.
3. GDPR Helps Us Measure the Value We’re Giving to Our Customers
Let me unpack this one, because I get that it seems like a bit of a stretch.
Leadfreak operates on a value-based marketing strategy. Our value is calculated by the content we provide. If people are opting in to read, watch and listen to the content we give them, we know that we’re providing them with value.
It’s a trade-off: we provide value, and people provide us with useful data in return.
If people don’t want to give us their data in return for what we’re offering, we know we’re not delivering enough value, and that we need to work harder to do so in future.
The above is true for any business that has any kind of content marketing strategy (and if that’s not your business, it should be).
Just another reason to get on board with GDPR.
4. GDPR is a Good Excuse to Have a Data Spring Clean
Data is great and – if you have a lot of it – it can be very powerful.
But it also has to be meaningful.
A huge email list is a thing of beauty, but not if your subscribers aren’t engaged. It’s better to have a smaller list of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, than a huge list full of people that always send you straight to trash.
GDPR means that you have to be much clearer with your customers about how you’ll be contacting them, and what you’ll be contacting them about.
Maybe more people will opt out of receiving your marketing emails if you start giving them the option to, sure. But do you really want to clog your list with people who never wanted to hear from you in the first place?
GDPR will force you to spring clean your databases in a way reminiscent of your mother forcing you to clean your room when you were a teenager.
As much as there are many different things we’d prefer to be getting on with, it’s hard to deny that – for most of us – it’s a long overdue clean-up, and worth rolling up our sleeves for.
GDPR: What Do You Still Need to Do?
You need to go to the ICO website to figure out exactly what you still need to do to make sure your own business is GDPR compliant.
I can’t stress that enough.
We’re not experts. We’ve interpreted what we need to do for Leadfreak based on the information provided by the ICO – the same way everyone else has had to. If you’re still not absolutely sure that your business is 100% GDPR ready, you should do the same.
As a quick example of things you might want to make sure you have in place, however, here’s a list of some things we’ve been busy doing to make sure that Leadfreak is GDPR compliant come the 25th of May:
What’s Leadfreak Doing to Comply with GDPR?
- We’ve updated all our opt-in forms with more transparency about future marketing correspondence.
- We’ve introduced the use of a cookie bot that stops all cookies applied to a user if they don’t accept the policy (and explains how their use of the site will be affected if they don’t).
- We’re currently in the process of mapping and consolidating all our platforms that contain personal data.
- We’re reviewing all of our current software platforms to ensure they all comply with the changes, and that all data is encrypted in both storage and transfer.
- We’re creating and issuing a new data protection agreement with all current clients to ensure we and they understand our respective responsibilities regarding the law.
- We’re helping clients to become GDPR compliant by sharing our interpretation of the changes (although on the understanding that they must make all final decisions based in information from the ICO).
If you’d still like to know more about GDPR, make sure you tune in to our next podcast where Alex and I will be chatting about the facts, myths and practicalities surrounding the changes… It will be going live at the end of next week!
Good GDPR practice is good business. Make sure you get on board with the changes.