Keeping GDPR Compliant With ReachMail

On May 25, 2018 the European Union’s new privacy law,  General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, goes into effect.  Even if you’re a US based marketer – you’re still required to comply if you have any European Union based subscribers on your list. The intent is for all parties who handle personal data – not just you, but partners like ReachMail, need to affirmatively respect and manage the privacy of consumers. Here’s how ReachMail complies with GDPR.

The permission requirements are generally more strict than may come to expect. According to Litmus - the five most important criteria to decide if the subscribers permission is valid is:

  1. No “pre-checked” opt-in box. The subscriber actually has to tick the box in order for their opt-in to be considered permission.
  2. Keep consent requests separate from “Terms and Conditions”. In other words – don’t lump in the opt-in process along with the signup process where the customer has to agree to opt-in along with your terms. It must be a separate process. So a customer can do business with you and not opt-in to your list.
  3. Make it easy to withdraw consent. If you use ReachMail then you can be assured we include an opt-out link on every email. Litmus also mentions that you can’t make people log-in or visit more than one page.
  4. Keep evidence of consent. If you use ReachMail we automatically track the IP address and Country Code when someone signs up using your sign up form.
  5. Check your consent practices and existing consents. Here Litmus recommends that if you don’t have permission that is compliant with GDPR then you need to do a re-engagement campaign.

However, we don’t recommend using a re-engagement campaign as a means to get affirmative permission. In our experience sending an email out requesting permission typically generates extremely low permissions (on the order of 1-2%) and extremely high spam complaints.  Instead – review your subscriber list and analyze the permission status of each subscriber. Divide it into two parts – part 1 would be subscribers where you can document some sort of permission from the recipient. Part 2 is for all others. Based on your experience – if you have significant doubts about the permission status of part 2 we recommend to no longer market to that list. Why not send a re-permission request to those subscribers? I’ll give you an example of the numbers. If you had 1,000 subscribers in part 2 – a re-permission would yield probably 10 affirmatives. Your future deliverability would also be jeopardized because of the spam complaints. In the end the risk outweighs any possible reward.

To help make this processes easier we have included a country code field that populates off the geolocation of the IP address whenever someone clicks or opens one of your messages or if they sign up using a ReachMail sign up form. Using this field we have added two segments when you schedule and send messages by default called With European Country Code and Without European Country Code. Using these predefined segments in ReachMail will be able to better assist you in getting your list GDPR compliant today.

How does your email look on iPhone or Android

In 2018, the clear majority of opens you receive on your email campaign are from mobile devices. According to Marketing Land, over 60% of emails were opened on mobile devices in the first quarter of 2018. Want to see for yourself? Look at the Campaign Reports in your ReachMail account. Navigate to the “Reports” tab, then the Campaign Reports. Click on any campaign, and you’ll see something like this:

Inbox Preview Report Summary

Fortunately, ReachMail has a tool designed to make sure your message looks good when opened on any popular mobile device. It’s called “Inbox Preview.” Here’s how to use it: go to your Mailings tab and click on the three dots on the far right. Highlight “Generate Inbox Preview” to start the process:

Generate Inbox Preview

You’ll next get a chance to confirm your choice. You’ll see the nine most popular devices that the preview will run. For more details on how to use Inbox Preview check out our help document here.

Inbox Preview Services

Five simple tips to make your email design mobile friendly

Single Column Template: Using a single column helps prevent formatting problems that can cover up important parts of your email. This layout is simpler than many of the more popular templates designed for desktop viewing, but when you consider that someone will be scrolling through your email on a small screen, this makes more sense. In all of this, simplicity is key. Too many fancy features and sections can get very confusing on a phone screen, and you want to make engaging with your email as easy as possible.

Put most important content up-front: Similarly, you’ll want to think about laying out your email, so it flows vertically. That means everything you want them to see right away very close to the top and a logical progression as they scroll through. Like any marketing email, you’ll want something interesting to hook attention early on.

Keep font to less than 13 pixels: On a desktop, this is on the smaller side of font display, but for a phone it’s perfect. Bigger fonts will get cut off and may not display correctly. Plus, if they do, it will just look obnoxious to have words that take up the whole screen and require a lot of scrolling.

Use one call to action button with a minimum size of 44×44 pixels: This is arguably the most important part of any marketing email. This is where you get your recipients to take action, and it’s important that this button be easy to find eye-catching, and clear. If you provide more than one button, it can look spammy, or even be confusing for readers. Even if the buttons all go to the same place, putting in more than one can trigger choice paralysis for readers which is exactly what you want to avoid.

Use very few images: Keeping in line with the theme of simplicity, having only a few images keeps your email from being cluttered and reduces the likelihood of something going wrong and not loading correctly. A single powerful image is much more effective than many less-compelling ones anyway, so stick to as few as you can.

You can see how great your email looks on mobile devices by trying ReachMail for free.

How does your email compare to the competition?

“Is my open rate good?”, “What’s too high for spam complaints”. These are questions we get all the time at ReachMail and the short but unsatisfying answer is “it depends”

A first start is to compare your metrics vs the competition. Our friends at ReturnPath have just published a study comparing seventeen different industries and how each industry performed according to selected metrics. Here’s the chart:

How to interpret the data?
You’ll notice right away that ReturnPath has some different metric names than ReachMail. For example:

Read Rate – is similar to open rate but it’s not exactly the same. In fact it’s always going to be higher than your ReachMail open rate. Why? ReachMail measures opens by placing a tiny invisible pixel linked to a web link open counter on your email that measures each time that link is opened. This pixel is technically an “image”. What happens if someones email settings are “images off” and they open your email. In ReachMail we won’t count it. ReturnPath actually monitors real inboxes and can tell who “read” the email even with images off.

Complaint Rate – your ReachMail Spam Complaint rate is calculated the same as ReturnPath’s – the rate at which your messages are marked as spam.

Space Placement Rate –  this can be only determined if you can see into the actual inbox of individual subscribers. ReturnPath has a system to do just that. This information is not available in ReachMail – however you can use open rates as a proxy for spam placement rate.

Delete before Reading rate – means that the subscriber didn’t just ignore you – they deleted. This is not available in ReachMail however it’s an interesting metric by industry

Forward Rate – generally this metric is extremely small for almost all industries but it does indicate interest. At ReachMail – we do see this substantially higher for business-to-business marketers indicating recipients share your offer to colleagues.