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Are You Breaking Up With Me?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) hit the EU last May, forcing any businesses with ties to the EU or its citizens to get their act together.

For many businesses, this was done partly by sending out “re-permissioning emails” – to make sure users still wanted to receive marketing emails, and to ensure businesses were meeting the level of consent enforced by the GDPR.

So, let’s have a look at some of the good, the bad and the ugly, of course!

Marketing company Ometria suggested a clever tip for Digital Marketers: segmenting a brand’s email list, to avoid the possibility of annoying customers even more with unrelated emails.

Ometria’s suggested segments:

  • Opens emails and regularly buys
  • Opens emails and infrequently buys
  • Opens emails and clicks through to browse items
  • Opens emails – no activity
  • Receives email – no activity
  • No activity after 6 months
  • No activity after 12 months
  • No activity after 18 months

Now, on to the examples!

  1. ASOS excelled in their re-permissioning email (as with all of their marketing, it seems) with a clear, simple subject heading, reading “The law is changing. Are you set to get your ASOS emails?“. Text at the top of the email grabs reader’s attention immediately, and they further make it clear that their customers are “in control”. They also clearly visualise what consumer’s are receiving with small images, and clear bottom tabs reinforcing their options.
Claps for ASOS, once again!

Now that we’ve set the standard, let’s explore some of the less popular examples:


@whatkatie_did on Twitter: “Siri what’s the worst GDPR email I’ve received thus far”


@EBates111 on Twitter: “The worst #GDPR email subject
line I’ve seen so far. #Copywriting (or lack of).”

To be fair, the first heading almost made me giggle. The second, however, couldn’t get any worse. The chances of users unsubscribing would’ve almost certainly increased, due to the sheer lack of effort when sending emails to their customers!


@drdonoghue on Twitter: “Worst GDPR email yet. Yes behavioural insights team, I am ignoring you. Your nudging won’t work on me.” It’s clear that humour could be used effectively in these commonly bland emails, but in this case, this brand is doing more harm than good!

What does this mean for us?

It’s likely that this sort of legislation will be implemented in Australia in the future, and we, as Digital Marketers, should take note of the do’s and don’ts of re-permissioning emails when the time arises.

The Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do make the opt-out email clear, simple and straight-forward
  • Do repeat options to improve readability (if applicable)
  • Do give readers the option to adjust their settings, so they don’t have to receive simply “all or nothing”
  • Don’t sacrifice readability for supposed “humour”
  • Don’t make the email too long. If you want to be funny, at least make it known what you’re talking about in the first sentence

What are you recommendations for creating a successful re-permissioning email? I’d love to hear your opinion!


18 thoughts on “Are You Breaking Up With Me?

  1. Definitely being clear with consumers is a must! Yes maybe you can use a little bit of light-hearted humour, but not to a point where the message is getting confusing or making consumers feel bad for changing their preferences!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point! Why would businesses think guilting their customers into subscribing is a good idea? Sometimes a bit of common sense is all that’s needed to make the best decisions… I also agree that there’s a limit on how much humour a brand should include in these sorts of serious emails! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


  2. Thanks for the good read and tips! for me, being straightforward when sending emails to their consumers is the best, straigtforward and simple, and for me as consumer, usually I would get annoyed if I receive repeating emails that have the same content. one is enough πŸ™‚ thankyou!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Repetitive emails have caused me to unsubscribe from a few brands! That’s a great tip. Basically, we can agree to just be like ASOS and send awesome, straight-forward and informative emails!! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a very informative post! I usually opt-out when brands start sending me numerous e-mails in span of a month or I just mark them read without opening them. I do believe a little humour could stop customers from opting out and catch their attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tasteful humour could definitely be a great method of catching the attention of consumers and discouraging them from unsubscribing (for certain industries/businesses)! Refraining from sending too many emails is also a great tip, thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post and very humous way of illustrating your point. You’ve hit the nail on the head with a lot of the Do’s and Don’t’s section however a lot of it very dependant on the brand image portrayal and whether its in keeping with it. I’ll be very interested to see how these GDPR laws are enforced cross border. Moreover, how is Australian policy/enforcement effected by the differences in regulation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Dim! A great point, everything is dependent on the brand itself and its image. Absolutely, I personally think enforcing a similar GDPR scheme in the future will greatly benefit Australian consumers, and I think as marketers it’s the right thing to do!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I would recommend re-permissioning emails to be welcoming, refreshing and friendly. Following the 20/80 rule: 80% of revenue comes from 20% of your total customers, I believe that loyal customers will continue their subscription. Negative reinforcement might even deter these customers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some great tips, Elaine! I agree with you completely – negative, pushy or unnecessary emails will likely deter even some loyal customers! I know I would personally not appreciate it. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


  6. at the end of the day the best way to draft these type pf email completely depends on the situation, as well as the brand itself. it should be of major focus for consumers to not be confused by a difference in tone between marketing strategies and the overall brand image. a brands image should remain a focal point for a marketing team to follow when dealing with situations like these. i am not sure a bank would be able to get away with the same cheeky and fun consumer interaction that netflix does! Awesome post, really relevant for a lot of us digital marketers to be starting to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this insight Cam! Not confusing consumers with inconsistent brand messages is a great piece of advice – consistency is key. If a bank sent me a weird and humorous email, I too would find inappropriate! A relational approach must definitely be taken. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


  7. Thanks for the great read, Indiana! I love the Do’s and Don’ts section and really agree with the whole giving readers options point! I know personally I get pretty frustrated and just opt out/block the sender altogether if they’re sending too many emails!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too opt out of these annoying emails if they are becoming like spam! Brands really need to be cautious as to not annoy customers with these sorts of emails – probably one of the most important points! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


  8. This was a really well structured post, well done! As always very much enjoyed reading. I personally am extremely prone to unsubscribing from companies mailing lists when I receive too many emails from them. Too many for me personally would be anywhere more than a couple of times a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Elena! I personally prefer emails from a brand once a week as well. It’s crazy, I immediately notice if I’ve had more than 1 a week from a brand! Brands should be cautious of this awareness, they’re sure to lose a lot of subscribers.


  9. Homer Thompson 30 May 2019 — 11:22 pm

    Emails from companies you have dealt with in the past can become very tiresome quickly! This post does a fantastic job of outlining how businesses can use this resource effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Homer! Brands should definitely be cautious of annoying their customers.


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