Tips, techniques and inspiration for marketing communications from Richard Groom at Peterborough Copywriting Bureau.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Have you updated your GDPR opt-in wording?

With the ‘go live’ date for GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) just a few weeks away, hopefully you will have already come to terms with implications for your organisation. As well as your data management tasks, getting updated copy in place by the 25 May 2018 deadline is essential. 

I won’t try to explain the regulations here as I think other people have already done it well. (If you are in need of legal advice or support, I can thoroughly recommend the excellent James Boyle at Taylor Vinters in Cambridge.)

Instead, as a copywriter I want to focus on the writing tasks that need to be done to support compliance, and to maximise opt-in rates in the new GDPR era. 

How copy can help you comply with GDPR

Transparency is an important part of GDPR. When you are asking people to opt in to receive marketing communications, you must be very clear about what opting in means to the individual.

From 25 May, wording such as “I consent to receiving marketing communications” won’t be enough. Here are a couple of better alternatives:

Example 1

We’d like to send you our monthly email newsletter that contains great ‘how-to’ articles, special offers and news round-ups. Please tick the box that applies to you:

Yes please, I’d like to receive your email newsletter. (We’ll handle your personal details very carefully, and we’ll never sell or give them to anyone else.)

Example 2

Your communication preferences

Yes please! I would like to receive updates about new products, special offers and events from ACME Chickens Ltd via:

Email    SMS   Post 

Both the above examples also meet the GDPR requirement that giving consent should be an active, affirmative action by the individual. It will no longer be good enough to rely on passive acceptance. Say goodbye to pre-ticked boxes.

Going beyond compliance: maximising opt-in rates

The wording you use can of course go further than ensuring compliance. It’s an opportunity to show people that they have a lot to gain from opting in. The objective is to create content that inspires people to tick the opt-in box.

Here are a couple of examples of what I have in mind:

Example 3

Sign up for unique email subscriber benefits

Registering with us will bring you:
- Great monthly special offers just for subscribers (20-50% off!).
- Weekly updates on new products BEFORE they hit our online shop.
- Advance opportunities to buy in our quarterly clearance sales.

Yes, I’m in (and please send me my first special offer right away). 

Example 4

Psssst! Wanna join the club?

Not everyone gets in on our lovely free content. But tick the box and you will.

I want in. Please email me your free reports, white papers and articles.

Now’s the time to review your opt-in wording

I hope the above examples give you some guidance and inspiration for seamlessly moving over to a successful transition to GDPR compliance.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Three assumptions that will lead to poor marketing content

Is the way you write almost guaranteeing that your readers will move on to something else right away? It could be, if you are building unnecessary assumptions into your content.

Here’s a quick look at three examples of assumptions that can damage your content – but that can be easily fixed.

1. Assuming that people remember the last thing you wrote

Often in a blog or email newsletter article you read something like ‘following on from last month’s update on our CFD-3000 widget we are delighted to announce that…

The writer is assuming that the reader read the previous piece AND that he/she remembers it. In reality of course, the reader may never have read the previous piece, and even if they did it might have been one of dozens or hundreds of pieces of content they had to process on that day. There’s every chance it will have been forgotten by now.

An easy alternative would be to write something like: 'Last month we wrote about the new capacity of the CFD-300 widget (you can read about it here), and now we have even more good news about the upgraded product.

So don’t be afraid to recap on what was written previously, even if you think most readers will remember it.

2. Assuming that people know who you are

Just because someone is on your email database doesn’t mean they will instantly recognise your company name when you send them an email. This is especially true if you don't send emails very often.

Some newsletter copy jumps right into content without reminding people who the sender is and what they do. Like this: ‘It’s been a busy month for all of us here. We’re especially pleased that our product manager Peter has completed his Level 5 training and is now fully on board with our product portfolio.’ 

The poor reader is thinking ‘I think I know who this is from but I’m not sure’ or worse still, ‘I have absolutely no clue who these people are’.

So make it a habit of having the essential ‘remember us’ copy as early as possible in the piece. For example, a strapline can do the trick, like ‘Keeping you informed about the latest poultry-keeping accessories’.

3. Forgetting that many of your readers are in different sectors

This applies especially to LinkedIn. Do you feel as frustrated as me when you browse through your LinkedIn feed? Among the dozens of updates I have to wade through, many of them make absolutely no sense to me.

Like this: ‘Had a great time at CuddlyFun2016 this week! Awesome performance from everyone involved and we have been nominated for the prize of ‘Best Exhibitor’! WooHoo!’ But I have no idea exactly what CuddlyFun2016 is and I can’t remember what my connection’s business does. 

So how about writing: ‘Really enjoyed showcasing our superb teddy bear outfits at the world’s biggest soft toy exhibition this week. Awesome performance from the team and we were nominated for ‘Best Exhibitor’ at CuddlyFun2016! WooHoo!

Yes, I know – the main target audience for a post like that IS people who know exactly what CuddlyFun2016 is. But presumably you are connected to everyone else because you want to communicate with them on some level, so why not do it with clarity for them too?

Step into your readers’ shoes for a moment

As with all good writing, the trick is to remember that your readers don’t live in your world. They aren’t as interested in you and what you do as you are. So give them those extra little bits of information to help them quickly ‘get’ what you’re writing about.