Email Marketing

Building trust with Email Marketing after GDPR

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 19 Jun 2018 by Jaison Dobbs
Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways of keeping in touch with your audience if done right, in fact, 75% of marketers say they are using more email marketing than they were 3 years ago. Most people now have an email address, and a large percentage use a mobile device to check them daily.

Depending on your industry and how you were using email to stay in touch, you will have most likely seen a drop in your email data since the implementation of GDPR. But it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Not only the quality of your data list but the quality and value you are providing to your audience with your email activity. Explicit consent is the main takeaway from GDPR, and with this consent, they are expecting emails to be relevant to your business, it’s why they gave it to you in the first place.

In the wake of GDPR, how can we restore and build up trust again in this medium?

We are going to give you some pointers to start rebuilding trust with your audience:

#1 – Branding

This seems like an obvious point, but the sad truth is that there are many bad email marketing campaigns out there. A key part of trust is the receiver knowing the sender. A big thing that some email marketers may not know about (especially when using third-party email platforms) is that the company sending domain needs to be authenticated. What does this mean? Well simply put if a domain isn’t authenticated it looks spammy. There’s usually a long complex from addresses like this “ on behalf of” most inboxes won’t show your info@ address without the receiver opening the email. If you authenticate it, the email will just be from – clearly stating who the sender is. With so many fraudulent emails being sent from people impersonating companies, this is a big deal.

That is the first step in branding, the second step is the content of your email. Include your company logo at the top of it; this should be instantly recognisable to your audience. Keep any written content in the style of the content on your website; most brands have a tone of voice that they use and a personality, this should be used across the board in your marketing. Finally, if you use colours in your email designs, make sure they stay in line with your brand colours.

#2 – Relevance

Anything you present to your customers should be relevant to your brand. For instance, if you’re a shoe retailer and you send a marketing campaign about new biological research into a hereditary condition, the audience is very unlikely to remain engaged with your campaign. But, if you send your audience an email about the latest style of Vans, then they will probably read about it. The more relevant to your brand your marketing activities are, the better engagement you will get. This should also be applied to subject lines, make them relevant to the content of the email and to your audience.

#3 – Value


This is a big thing to think about and it has different meanings to your recipients – some people will sign up to a website because of the possibility of a discount and be the first to find out about promotions. Others will be interested in the knowledge that you can provide them, and some expect a mixture of the two. Get to know your audience and what they like; this can be done through activities, such as A/B (aka split) testing or even through sending surveys to find out what the majority prefer. Whatever they like, giving them the content they desire will help to build up trust. If there is a split to what the audience wants, consider segmenting your data, that way you can give everyone what they want and tailor your emails to different segments.

#4 –  Expectations

A good email design shouldn’t be overlooked, not only should it be functional, but it should be appealing to the audience. Again, if you are not sure what looks the best, let the audience decide. Make a few templates and A/B test the designs. Once you have your most popular design set out, use that as a basis of your email campaigns. There’s nothing wrong with changing the template occasionally if you find engagement is dropping – however, keep in mind the above steps before you make any drastic changes. After a period, your audience will recognise your email structure; content should be your main changing focus.

Having a content structure will help you with this; if it’s a mixture of promotion/products and news, put the content you want to be seen the most at the top of the email. People are busy, so won’t always have time to scroll through your whole email if they are on the go. Having the main selling point of the email at the top is where most people will buy into your email (making it a call to action will also help you). And keep it short (unlike this blog); this doesn’t mean there should be as little as possible but think about the maximum length of an email you would normally read. Two or three sections should be plenty to put your points across.

#5 – Responsiveness and Accessibility

Obviously, customer service is key and if someone responds to your email with a query or a request, make sure they are sent in the right directions to get what they are looking for in a timely fashion. This will help build up a good relationship with them because it shows that your company cares in general about them as a client or consumer.

That’s not the only meaning on responsiveness. Making sure that your email displays correctly on different devices and in different Inbox Service Providers (ISPs), will ensure that all your users will be able to see what you are sending them in its full glory. It also means that they know you have taken the time to make your email readable for everyone.

Simple things can make the biggest difference, something that is often overlooked is using tags. If a member of your audience has a vision impairment then they maybe not be able to see what you are sending, as they rely on e-readers to read the content to them. Ensuring that meta tags, such as titles and alt image tags are filled in can make a huge difference to the experience for these users.

#6 – Focus on your goals

GoalsNo marketing should be undertaken without an idea of what you want to achieve from it. This goes back to relevance, you should have a purpose for sending your email campaigns. Whether that is advertising a special offer or providing the audience with the latest update in your industry, knowing how you want to measure the success is important. If you want to get a certain number of offer code redemptions, make that code the main focus of your email. If you have a goal number of people clicking through to a blog post you wrote, that should be the key feature in your content.


In conclusion, building trust is all about knowing what your audience wants and making sure you give it to them. Keep in mind the 6 main points to remember;

  • Branding
  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Expectations
  • Responsiveness & Accessibility
  • Goals

When the audience know what to expect from you, they will start to anticipate your emails and want to engage with your brand because they know it’s a brand they can trust and want correspondence from.

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