Welcome to TechSPARK’s digital advice column, Dear E Me.

Every month we look at digital marketing problems affecting tech businesses. To submit your own question, just email us at (jo@leancontent.co.uk / hello@techspark.co)


Dear E Me,

We spent ages building an email list so that our company can send newsletters and occasional offers to subscribers. We’ve got 500 names on the database, and they’re mostly customers or people we know.

Can you tell us how GDPR will change things? Should I delete my list? Do I have to stop sending emails altogether?

Thanks a lot,



Hi Steph,

Thanks for your email. The new data protection regulation has a lot of companies behaving nervously at the moment, and rightly so. From 25th May 2018 things are set to change when it comes to communicating with email, but there’s also plenty of misconceptions about how to be fully compliant. The new law says you need ‘freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous consent’. This means anyone you email must ‘opt-in’ to receive marketing information and you must have proof of this.

What do you need to know? Two things:

  1. This law applies to any contact information you collected before 25th May 2018 or after, so even data you collected years ago must show consent to receive marketing.
  2. If you don’t have this, or have ambiguous records you’re not sure of, you need to now get permission from your contacts to keep sending communications.

So, I advise you contact your 500 subscribers and say that to keep receiving information from you, they have to show explicit consent or ‘opt-in’. To give you an idea of what this looks like, here’s an example of what Sainsbury’s did:

 Source: EConsultancy.com

You can see that they’ve labelled it ‘contact permission’ and gone for ‘Yes, please’ or ‘No, Thanks’ – this is really clear, so the consumer can see what they’re signing up for.

I heard some good advice on GDPR at a recent talk in Bristol. The speaker said that instead of being bad for marketing, GDPR would force us all to cleanse our data lists, resulting in better quality marketing and better ROI for campaigns overall. Although your list might shrink in the short term, in the long term it forces us all to write better emails and will get better engagement from customers who want to stay in touch.

If you want further information on this, or examples of template emails, then this article by We Will Thrive has a brilliant list of helpful resources to get you GDPR compliant in no time.

Good luck!


To submit your own questions, just email us at (jo@leancontent.co.uk  or hello@techspark.co)

Jo Duncan