eMail newsletters are one of the most powerful B2B direct marketing tools. But it is not only since the DSGVO came into force that some rules have to be observed for legally compliant consent. In particular, companies are obliged to obtain in advance so-called “opt-ins” from all newsletter recipients - consent to the use of the customer's personal data for advertising purposes. When website visitors register for a newsletter, this is automatically part of the registration process (double opt-in). However, existing customers for whom you may not have written consent or who have not registered for your newsletter on their own initiative - e.g. via the homepage - are of course also interesting recipients.
Convince your existing customers
Certain exceptions might allow companies to send newsletter to existing customers without prior consent. In practice, however, these often do not apply because several conditions must be fulfilled simultaneously and completely. Further details on this can be found, for example, in the eRecht24 article "E-Mail Werbung und Newsletter Marketing: Was ist erlaubt, was sind die häufigsten Abmahnfallen?".
There is no way around it: you need to act if you want to include existing customers in your marketing campaigns but don’t have their documented consent. Many companies perceive this as a challenging situation, fearing that asking for such consent alone will lead to a "no" and a permanent exclusion of such customers from all future advertising activities. Even if a negative answer still remains possible: A target-oriented approach gives your customers arguments why giving consent is good for them.
How to increase the opt-in rate for your newsletter?
1. Offer content that outlines customer value
Let’s face reality: Few newsletters sell themselves and the world might not have already waited for them. So be prepared to actively "sell" yours. Keep a close eye on two quality criteria that are crucial for maintaining the interest of your readers in the long term: Relevance and timeliness.
Relevance – meeting your customer’s interests
Your newsletter will only be read if the content is important for your target audience. Therefore, you should concentrate on topics that both offer your clients clear benefits and at the same time are also directly connected to your company’s products and services. In addition to product innovations and special service offers, there are many other points that could be considered, e.g:
- Applications of your products and technologies with special or even extreme requirements.
- Known technologies in new or unusual applications
- Tips and tricks on how to make your products easier or better to use
- Information on changes to the legal framework conditions
Let yourself be guided by where and how your customers use your products and services - and what they do with them. Focus on a small number of key topics that fit you and your customers. Be selective as quality goes before quantity! Lastly, don’t forget that growing your readership will require time and resources.
Customers should have the feeling that they are missing something important without a newsletter subscription!
Timeliness and publishing frequency
Current topics must be communicated promptly in order to benefit from their novelty value. This can be problematic with a low frequency newsletter. On the other hand, a high frequency generates effort that you and your team have to bear. An appropriate newsletter frequency is therefore always a compromise between different, competing requirements, customer expectations and resources available in the company. Think about it:
- A newsletter only remains present as an advertising measure if it appears regularly.
- The interval between two newsletters should not be too long, because you will then lose the attention of your readers.
- At the same time, a too high frequency can easily overtax your readers.
- Recipients quickly develop expectations that need to be met permanently. Make sure that you are able to sustain the effort of developing high quality content over a longer period of time with the capacities available to you.
In B2B practice, it has proven to make sense to send between four and 12 newsletters per year.
Quality beats quantity. Prefer to send one high quality issue over two half-baked editions.
Considering these points - of course finely tuned to your target group - work is almost done: You developed a benefit centric argumentation that you can "sell" to your customers. This is used as the foundation for our next steps.
2. Give your customers peace of mind regarding their personal data
Recent data scandals of large companies have raised concerns with more and more people when it comes to passing on personal data. With a carefully prepared written declaration of consent (DSE) under data protection law, you show your customers that their personal data is in good hands with you. The content of such a declaration is subject to strict legal requirements and should therefore be coordinated with a lawyer. Nevertheless, you can do a few things to increase the probability of consent:
- The entire declaration should be easily readable in terms of both language and font size. This will avoid the impression that you are trying to hide something.
- It has been demonstrated in practice that asking for per-channel opt-ins (instead of one general opt-in) lowers the hurdle to obtain consent. This leaves it up to your customer to decide how to be contacted, e.g. via "mail", "e-mail" or "telephone". Attention: Your CRM system and internal processes must be able to map this separation of contact channels. The different approvals have to be documented for each customer and taken into account when making contact.
- Make it clear that you will under no circumstances pass on or use data elsewhere.
Create transparency. Communicate clearly how you will use customer data and what you will not do with it.
3. Speak to your customers - in person
The right contact
As already described in item 2, giving personal data to someone else is a sensitive issue. There is a tendency to be reluctant to disclose one's own data, let alone to provide opt-ins. Therefore, trust is the be-all and end-all when it comes to consenting to the use of data.
If a customer buys your products or services, this already proves trust in your company. As trust is bound to people, let that employee ask for consent who has regular contact with that customer and who shares the most positive experiences with him or her. The sales person or key account manager would therefore certainly be preferable to someone from accounting or some “unknown” trainee.
Customer benefits pave the way to customer consent
A benefit argumentation is the basis of every sales talk. This also applies when it comes to consenting to the use of personal data. Unfortunately, in practice only the legal necessity of such consent is typically pointed out. Instead, take the benefit argumentation developed in item 1 and explain to your customers what kind of content you will have for them and how these are associated with immediate benefits for that customer. Be smarter and stand out from the crowd!
Even if these two points are legally already covered in the written declaration of consent and data protection, actively address them again during your conversation with to your customer:
- For which purposes will you use the customer data?
- What will you not do with their data (e.g. disclosure to third parties)
The direct conversation is better than an anonymous letter from the marketing department.
4. Catch the right moment
When is the right time to ask for consent to use customer data?
The approval rate also depends at what point in time you ask a customer. With "tailwind" through positive experiences your customer will be more open to agree to the use of his or her data. If you have just delivered a new CNC machining centre or a new software solution to him on time and successfully put it into operation, your chances are much better than if you are currently confronted with a complaint.
A positive mood makes it easier for people to say "yes" to something new.
Don't leave opt-ins to chance! With our tips you make it easy for your customers to agree, actively generate recipients and increase the effectiveness of your newsletter.
Need support with the concept or implementation of your newsletter? Get in contact with us. We’d love to hear from you!