I’ve created this short blog to hopefully make you aware of some important aspects of how you deal with the contact information you collect at your Networking events.
It isn’t overly complicated, but you do need to be mindful and thorough in your record keeping.
Basically, the new regulations require us to make sure that the information we hold for our contacts is held very securely, not just give it out to anyone without the expressed written consent of the person involved and only used for legitimate purposes. To my mind that is simply basic common decency and the way I have always worked but it has become necessary to make it part of our Laws, because many people around the world have had little or no regard to our right to privacy and have been spreading our information where they may!
So, now we have to make sure that we have received the expressed written consent of anyone, whom we come into contact with, to hold their contact information in order that we can send them newsletters, updates on new services and other general marketing.
I have recently attended a webinar held by a Small Business Law Expert, which was highly informative and covered a great deal of important points. There are of course, other industry experts who will have created similar webinars & information packs for you to use.
I am certainly not going to suggest that this is a comprehensive check list as there is a great deal of information to consider according to your business type and how you store your data, but this is a quick overview.
You must do your own research in order that you can ensure you are correctly covered for the protection of you, your business and your clients.
1. You must obtain written consent from anyone you wish to add into your mailing lists.
This can be done by a simple tick box together with an unsubscribe button on every mailing that
2. You must inform all your contacts about the data you hold for them, how you hold it, why you
hold it and for how long you will store it.
3. You must not assume that just because someone has opted into one of your lists, you can
include them in all of your lists. You need to get specific consent for each list you hold.
4. You must have a PRIVACY NOTICE, which needs to be GDPR Compliant) both on your website
and in your communications which should include how you obtained the data and whether or not
you will pass this data to any third party and why.
5. These new regulations apply to anyone who resides within the EU and even after we leave the
EU, we will still need to adhere to these regulations as they are being wholly adopted into British
6. You are strongly advised to check with whichever 3rd party holds your databases (e.g. Cloud
based storage systems providers – Dropbox, OneDrive etc., Email Marketing Providers–
Mailchimp etc.,) to establish what they have done to protect the data they hold on your behalf.
This is part of your due diligence and you are responsible in much the same way that you are
responsible to HMRC to get your taxes right even though your accountant does the work for you.
7. It is now a legal requirement regarding all data you hold that is necessary for you to run your
business, to protect the person the data relates to and this relates to all data, including any held
for persons outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and you must make sure that the relevant
country is certified under the Privacy Shield.
N.B. The EEA will include countries that are not members of the EU but do trade with the EU.
Although we have known about the new regulations for a while now, there has been little substantive information as to what we need to do.
If you haven’t already got this job sorted then you really do need to get it done NOW! You only have a few short weeks left, so I suggest that you get your newsletters out as soon as possible, drafted correctly after you have chosen the relevant text to use.
It also very useful to use this exercise to cleanse your database of outdated contact information because part of the process requires that you also delete all details relating to anyone who has requested to unsubscribe and you should assume (as part of a belt & braces approach to protect yourself & your business) that any hard or soft bounces should be treated the same way.
If you haven’t been sending regular newsletters and you’ve created new products or services that your contact list don’t know about, this will also be a great time to get back into that good habit of keeping in touch with updates which is what your list is for - your new customers are waiting to hear from you!
I hope this has helped you clarify what needs to be done and pushed you into action if needed!
I’m off to get mine finished.
As always, I welcome your comments, questions and feedback.
Contact Pam: firstname.lastname@example.org