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You should never take Consent for granted

GDPR made us consider Consent more… but we shouldn’t have needed the prod

“I’m just checking the contract… which treatment did I consent to again?”

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I’ve been thinking a lot about consent over the last few weeks.

I’m developing a new marketing framework and training program that will be launched very soon and I realised when doing it how important consent was as a step on the path that an avatar takes from not knowing you to thinking you’re the best thing ever.

Two years ago, when GDPR (yes it’s still a thing, and still being enforced) made us review our email marketing practices, consent was something that many of us had taken for granted.

We had a form, someone filled it in, and got our emails… and in that process, although consent mattered, it was just a step on the journey, we probably didn’t think about it too much.

GDPR made us think about consent much more then we’d ever done before, as it was classed as one of the 6 ways we could justify processing someone’s data (or in other words, send an email).

Suddenly, we were forced to take consent much more seriously, and in many instances, realised that we had no idea if someone had given consent when we were emailing them.

Many of us, because we’d not tracked it at all, went through a process of cleansing our email lists completely of those we had not provable consent.

Consent was something that now mattered a lot more.

…but if you think about it, consent is something that should always be important, and many of us had forgotten this.


Consent Matters

Putting GDPR aside, if you want to succeed at email marketing, then I’d suggest that consent is one of the key things you should always have at the forefront of your mind.

Consent, when it’s given freely and with understanding, is the green light for your email marketing.

Of course, for email marketing, consent is never an open invitation to do whatever we want…

Unlike Al Pacino in Heat, Potential subscribers aren’t shouting, “Give Me All You Got”…

Consent is given based on what you say you’ll do with their email address.

Consent has conditions, which you set, and the other party agrees to.

It’s an unwritten contract between the two of you about what you’ll do, and it’s up to you to ensure you stick to the contract, otherwise they can easily break it off (unsubscribe).

…but it’s not just one sided, by consenting that you can use their email, they see value in doing just that – and therein lies something that is really important.

Let me explain…


Consent vs No Consent

Consider sending a marketing email to two people, one who has not actively consented to receive marketing emails, and one who has.

What will be the outcome of you sending that email?

To the person who didn’t give consent…

… there is no relationship and so no reason for them to actively open and engage with it.

…in fact, it’s likely that they’ll say “i didn’t sign up for this”, and worry how you actually got hold of their email, potentially thinking you did something bad.

…they are much more likely to delete it, mark it as spam and complain.

…and that’s even if the email address actually exists – because you’ve not got proof that it actually does exist.

Let’s compare to the person who did give consent…

…because they were told to expect the email when they gave consent, they’re much more likely to open and engage with it.

…as long as you hold ‘to the terms of the unwritten contract’, they’ll potentially be looking forward to your email.

…they’ll trust you more, because you’ve fulfilled your promise.

…it’s highly unlikely they’ll unsubscribe or complain… they agreed to it when they gave consent.

…and since you know they gave consent, you can be pretty sure that the email address is a valid and live one.

Which situation do you want to be in?


Consent makes us better marketers

No matter how you put it, consent makes us better marketers and gives us more success.

It makes us “ethical” , marketers who are not only abiding by the legal situation, but understand that by being ethical we’re more likely to succeed.

Asking for consent and subsequently receiving it and being 100% transparent about what they are consenting to, are signals to the recipient about your intentions, and they can make a clear choice of whether they are prepared to give it.

…and when they do make that positive choice, you only benefit from it.


Selling Consent

Now some of you may be thinking that by going down this route, that stops you from selling the benefits of consent to the subscriber.

…but there’s no reason why, that as long as you are being ethical and transparent, you can’t sell consent.

What’s in it for them?… How, by giving consent, will their lives be easier/better/less painful?

Consent is a big part of the path that any Avatar takes on their journey from innocence to advocacy, from not knowing you exist to being your biggest fan.

So don’t be shy in explaining the benefits of consent… just make sure you’re clear and transparent about what they are consenting to


Consent is an essential step on the customer’s path

Before GDPR, Consent may be something that many of us took for granted.

but the fact is, GDPR or not, it’s something that should NEVER be taken for granted.

Gaining consent is what I call “a moment of truth” in the building of relationships with customers.

It’s the specific moment when someone moves from an anonymous statistic on your Google Analytics, to being a real person, one who’s trusting you with their email address, and is saying “i give you permission to take this relationship to the next level”.

It’s potentially the second most important step on any customer’s journey from innocence to advocacy (after the transaction itself).

…and because of this it’s something that we shouldn’t be abusing or taking for granted, or accepting it’s something we need to get just because of GDPR.

It’s actually one of the most important things we can ever receive from a customer.

Robin Adams

Robin Adams

Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind chimpanswers.com and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.

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