GDP(gaaaaaa)R: A human journey

There are lots of articles popping up about GDPR in the rush towards 25th May. Unlike many of these posts I won’t offer a clear “how to” because like most people, I don’t have all the answers. I am the one woman business behind Silicon Drinkabout, with no budget for lawyers or advisors and like most of you I’m just trying my best to do the right thing. I thought I’d share my journey as I go.

This is a mind dump rather than a polished piece and I will be updating it as I learn more.

Denial. I had lots of voices telling me “it’s not a big deal, no need for everyone to panic, you use Mailchimp so you’ll be fine, it’s a law for corporate companies, not for small fry”.

Sense check. Silicon Drinkabout (SD) has a legacy of always trying to do the right thing by people and so I should lead by example. Having proof that subscribers have given permission is a good thing.

Panic. We moved our SD subs from the old Mailchimp account to a new one when 3 Beards Ltd sold Unicorn Hunt last year and I absorbed SD into Vicky Hunter Ltd. That simple .csv download lost all of the data evidence that people had genuinely signed up.

Pain. Big lists are sexy to advertisers and sponsors on whom SD relies. We have 12K subs that we’ve collected over 7 years and we have an average open rate of 20–25%… so we know there are disengaged users.

The bright side. Yes, our list will shrink, however our engagement rates will hopefully soar and the cost of Mailchimp will be reduced. I asked a Mailchimp advisor if this was a worry for them. He did a good job of answering, good job Will!

So now that I’ve pulled my head out of the sand and come to terms (sob) with the fact that this might be damaging in the short run, I can see it will be beneficial in the long run. Let’s get practical.

  1. Login to Mailchimp and block out the rest of my day to focus on this minefield.
  2. Read lots of articles and get overwhelmed
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2 multiple times.
  4. Update the preferences page for subscribers to include opt in for permission to store data and ask for preferences on the content they want to receive. It now looks like this…

5. Segment list… I have decided to be overly careful with separate permissions to store data, and to send newsletters so I need multiple segments. They were empty to start with so I can track permissions as they come in. I feel this is organised in a logical way.. what do you think?

6. Send out simple email asking subs to update permissions and making it clear that if they don’t you will delete them after 25th May.

7. Set up reminder emails using Mailchimp (MC) automation. Spend hours making sure it’s flawless.

8. FAIL… I set the automations to only go to those that didn’t click within the first newsletter… however the button was a merge tag and not a link and as such isn’t trackable… the whole list got the reminder and this annoyed people. I am truly sorry and humbly embarrassed. 50 unsubscribes quickly followed and I recognised a bunch of the names. Ouch.

9. Jumped on chat with MC and they told me to include the segments (luckily I already had them set up) in the automation. See below where it says “Segment: Conditions”… that should *fingers crossed* mean that only those that haven’t updated their preference will get the next automation.

That’s as far as I have got. I’d love to generate discussion in the comments below — I want this to be an honest, open, and useful post to help the “little guys” feel less alone and less overwhelmed. After all that’s what Silicon Drinkabout is all about.

Watch this space!

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Update 11th May (before I even publish I’ve got bits to add!)
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I’m receiving lots of “please update your preferences” emails but once I click to update my preferences there is nothing GDPR or data permission relevant.

This is useless to both your subscribers and to you. Double check the sign up form for that particular list has been updated to look more like this…

Something like this is what the subscriber needs to see. If not they cannot opt-in to receive your newsletters.