If you have an email address, the odds are that you have received a fair few emails over the last week asking for you to opt in to receiving contact from that business or organisation from Friday 25th May onwards, when new regulations on how we store and use data come into effect.
While much of the discussion has been negative, Amy Woolliscroft, marketing executive at farm business consultants Arthey Associates, advises that this is actually an opportunity for businesses. “Companies need to realise that where they need to confirm consent from their contact database, this is actually an opportunity to hone your target audience to people that actually want to engage with you and are more likely to become repeat or first-time customers. What you will be left with after Friday is a database that may well be half the size, or even less, than it was before, but is more valuable that the original.”
Large corporations are privy to legal and digital advice either in-house or from partner companies, but for smaller businesses including farm diversifications and other rural enterprises, you may be about to miss the boat for securing contact with your customer base going forwards. If, for example, you have a riding stables or camping site on your farm, you need to contact existing, past and future clients to ensure that they are happy to receive communications from you.
If your contacts are based within the EU, you need to ask them to opt-in, i.e. actively choose, to receive emails and other contact from you before the Friday deadline. However, GDPR incorporates more than consent, and there are five other reasons for legitimate contact once the changes come into effect.
If you need to contact someone due to a contract (they are a contracted client), legal obligation, vital interests, public interest or legitimate interest, then these are all viable reasons for contact under the new rules. If you have already sought consent when you gained that contact’s data, you also don’t need to ask for consent again so long as it conforms with the GDPR guidelines.
If you need any support in the best course of action for your business, you can contact Amy Woolliscroft firstname.lastname@example.org or 07858 656444.