If we were to compare the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to any natural element, it would have to be water. Murky, shark-infested waters that you can’t quite see the bottom of, so want to avoid diving into at all costs.
The regulations which came into action in May of last year are a nebulous topic that not many people are very clear on. Unfortunately, though, they still play a vital role in the safe-running of businesses large and small.
What does GDPR mean for small businesses in 2019?
First, let’s do a quick recap to make sure we’re all up to speed:
GDPR is a framework of rules and regulations around which businesses and public sector organisations within the European Union (EU) must handle the protection and privacy of customer personal information.
This includes small businesses, sole traders, and start-ups too. As long as you are collecting and storing customer data (such as names, email addresses and telephone numbers), these laws apply to you.
In fact, you could risk a penalty worth 4% of your annual turnover should you fail to comply.
Contacting customers without breaking the GDPR rules
With some complex guidelines and hefty penalties in the mix, GDPR has instilled a sense of fear in some SME owners around communicating with their customers going forward.
This has thrown up problems for things like telephone communications, instant messaging and even email marketing.
So, while you get to grips with the dos and don’ts around those methods of contact, we wanted to offer some suggestions on how to stay in touch with your audience safely and securely.
Ensure your consent tick box is clear
In order to make your business website GDPR compliant, you are required to ask for consent when collecting customer data via something like a contact form or sign-up box.
Ensure this link is easily accessible and then provide a visible tick box which the customer can select to demonstrate their consent for further communication via email, telephone, marketing literature etc.
Good old social media
Social media doesn’t quite have the same risk factor for you as the business owner because it is a free, public sphere in which users volunteer themselves as a contact.
Plus, personal information such as full names and email addresses can be hidden behind an account.
Take advantage of this freedom by ramping up your social media marketing strategy and using each unique platform to reach out to your customers in a safe, open space.
Consider data encryption
This all sounds very daunting and technical, but all data encryption means is an extra level of safeguarding against hacks and breaches.
This will prove to your customers how dedicated you are in protecting their personal information and provide some great damage control for the future.
Of course, this comes at a cost which would need exploring, so data encryption might be something you consider a little further down the line.
Are you struggling to get to grips with marketing communications and customer contacts post-GDPR?