Kathleen here trying not to freak out about the future of online business. You too?
If you’re a creative entrepreneur who does business online, you may have heard about the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This new regulation, as I understand it (and it’s been really hard to wrap my head around), means that you need to be fully transparent when it comes to collecting emails and explicit about what you’ll be doing with those email addresses. So for example, if you collect emails with an “opt-in incentive” or “content upgrade,” you’ll also have to receive consent to add that email to your general list.
This means that lots of businesses who have opt-ins or lead generators that put a potential customer into a fancy sales funnel are freaking out right now…
All of this has me thinking about the future of email marketing.
But first – let’s do some reminiscing:
- Here at Braid Creative we didn’t even have a newsletter list until THREE YEARS after becoming a business that primarily found it’s customers online.
- We created a newsletter because it seemed like a convenient way to deliver our weekly blog articles to you. The intention wasn’t to sell but to connect.
- We were giving away PDFs and worksheets on our website as a direct download without even collecting an email address. I didn’t know “content upgrades” or “opt-in incentives” were even a thing until a creative peer told me!
- We didn’t have an auto-responder sequence (with the standard formula of information, soft sell, information, hard sell, information) – you just got the most recent broadcast that went out as we sent it.
- We had no tagging system, triggered actions, or sales funnels
- We never relied on our email list as an explicit way to make income (and we’ve managed to be profitable and sustainable for the past seven years)
Most of the bullet points above were out of our own lack of skills, knowledge, and/or awareness. And while we’ve become slightly more sophisticated in some of our email systems, the strategy has remained the same: our email list is about freely sharing gifts of knowledge with our subscribers, exploring content-creation in a new way, establishing our position as experts in branding, and connecting with our audience in a (more) meaningful way.
And of course we want you to hire us and buy our stuff – but not for us … for you. And that has always made selling feel really easy. By openly sharing our expertise in our articles (and all the other places we show up for free) we hope you’ll think of us when you’re ready to invest in your brand.
But let’s get back to the future of email … the GDPR is forcing all of us to reassess our email marketing strategy. I think this can be a great opportunity to do email marketing in a new way.
Which, for us, looks a lot like the old way of doing things.
THE FUTURE OF EMAIL MARKETING:
- Newsletters will be used to sharing useful information more than selling products
- Transparency will be rewarded with trust
- Clear intentions will convert avid consumers fans of your content into loyal customers
- The size of your list will not determine the success of your business
- The more generous you can be with your gifts of knowledge, the more you will see (cash money!) compensation
So if you want to join our general mailing list scroll down to subscribe. We’ll send you an email every time we write an article like this and every once in a while we’ll tell you about a product or service we’re offering. But trust, you’ll never feel pressured by us to buy.