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Is your business GDPR ready?

Back in 1999, everyone was terrified that the forthcoming ‘Millennium Bug’ would cause computer systems (and anything with a microchip) to shut down across the world because their internal clocks would be unable to recognise the year 2000. Along with this came hysteria and panic from the media that the entire economy would collapse thanks to outdated computer systems. The government put in place Action 2000 to combat any potential problems but the New Year eventually came and went with very little change.

What is GDPR?

On the 25 May 2018, the EU is introducing their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will change the way that businesses operate forever. Even now, many businesses do not know just how much of a change this will bring and many have failed to put pre-emptive measures in place. It may not have yet caused the panic that we witnessed with Y2K, but fears have started to creep in, so it’s important that we become aware of the ins and outs.

With this new regulation, companies within the EU will be expected to comply with new strict rules that protect customer data and be challenged with the systems and processes that are put in place to do this. The GDPR has a wide view of what is considered to be personal information and companies will now need to have the same level of protection for IP addresses and cookie data as they have done previously with names and addresses.

What are the most important changes?

If you hold information about an individual, they will now have further rights. These include:

  • The right of access
  • The right of rectification
  • The right to erase
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • Rights related to restricting automated decision making and profiling

Companies must also legally ask permission to use an individual’s information for email marketing campaigns. Failing to comply with these changes could bring a fine of up to 4% of global annual turnover or 20 million euro, whichever is the highest depending on the company.

How you can prepare for GDPR

 GDPR may seem tricky to get to grips with, but its main purpose is to give customers more control over their data. This means that adopting an inbound approach to your business will allow you to target online traffic and leave your information with your customers in an organic, ethical way.

Make sure that your data collection policy is clear and easy to understand so that customers who discover your business through inbound marketing are those that are likely to be looking for a service like yours. Being honest with your consumers means that they’re much more likely to leave you their data.

If yours is a company that collects and handles large volumes of data, inbound marketing automation will make it easier to interact with leads. This type of software transparently collects specific data sets from customers when certain actions are performed on your site, and you’ll soon learn the most suitable time to get in touch.

Strengthening your social media presence will make your customers aware of how you collect and manage data, while those who want their data removed will easily be able to get in touch. It’s not worth collecting every iota of data from your customers so to establish strong, long-lasting relationships it’s certainly worth investing time and money into inbound marketing campaigns that can effectively target those who are likely to be receptive. When it comes to GDPR, honesty and transparency are vital to creating quality leads.

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