The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May 2018.

Although we have had two years’ notice of the deadline, few businesses are fully aware of the new rules and even fewer are prepared. Unlike other regulations which have given a grace period for compliance, any new processes must be in place by the date that GDPR is enforced, that is 25 May 2018.

The ICO has produced a 12-point checklist to help every business prepare now. Download it here.

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GDPR seeks to put individuals in control of their personal data

The new regulations empower a person to choose whether and how firms use their data. The penalty for breaching the GDPR is up to €20 million or 4% of worldwide turnover, whichever is higher.

1. Start auditing your email list now

Remove anyone for whom you do not have a record of their opt-in.

For new subscribers, make sure that the potential subscriber confirms that he or she wants to join your mailing list by sending an automated email to confirm the subscription.

2. Review your data collection strategies

If you are buying mailing lists, stop now and start building your own list.

While this does mean starting from scratch, you’re guaranteed to have a list of engaged and interested readers who want to hear from you.

3. Invest in inbound marketing

One of the core components of inbound is content creation.

By creating white papers, guides and ebooks that visitors can access and download in exchange for them sharing their contact information, you ensure they have consented to being contacted.

4. Create lead flows on your website

Invite visitors to sign up to your newsletter or blog with a pop-up on your website.

You can segment your contact lists according to what they have signed up to receive.

When it comes to forms, ask only for the data you need in order to give the customer what they have asked for.

5. Engage in social media

Rather than buying lists and trying to reach prospects by phone and email, your sales team should be connecting with prospects on social media and sharing relevant content to encourage them to get to know your brand.

That way they will want to receive more content from you and are more likely to opt-in.

6. Centralise customer data in a CRM

Excel spreadsheets will no longer be sufficient for managing your leads, customer data and all the new data collection attributes required under GDPR.

Ideally, your CRM will integrate with your marketing tools in order to prove compliance with every aspect of the regulations.

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