If you keep up with the times in the world of tech or marketing, then you’ve likely heard the buzz about GDPR.

Marketers, bloggers, and business owners alike were sent scrambling to comply with the EU’s new consumer privacy laws in order to avoid major fines.

But while many website owners are now up-to-date on their website’s compliance, there are still questions around what GDPR means for lead generation.

What is GDPR? What does it mean for your business’s lead gen efforts? Get these questions and more answered in our complete GDPR lead generation guide.

What is GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union’s latest consumer data protection legislation that protects EU citizens from the unlawful collection, use, and selling of their personal data. This data may include names, addresses, email addresses, photos, biometric data, or any other data that could be used to identify a person.

Put into effect in May 2018, GDPR established stronger rules on data protection that granted people more control over their data and leveled the playing field for all businesses.

Who Does GDPR Apply to?

GDPR applies to any business that operates in the EU, regardless of where they are based. In other words, it applies to any organization that does business with EU citizens.

If your business markets to, collects data from, or does business with EU citizens, you’ll want to be sure that your website (and lead generation efforts) are GDPR compliant. Otherwise, you could face some hefty fines.

Basics of GDPR Compliance

Once you’ve determined whether your business needs to be GDPR compliant, it’s time to bring your website and lead generation processes up to standard.

Before you dig into the finer details, make sure you thoroughly understand the basics:

  1. Your data needs to be properly secured.
  2. Your Privacy disclaimers (most likely) need to be updated.
  3. You need to run an audit on how your data is collected, stored, and secured.
  4. You need to customize your website Privacy Policy to comply with GDPR and be tailor-made to your business.
  5. You need to have a designated team member who’s in charge of monitoring compliance.

Assuming your site is already compliant – or worse, ignoring GDPR altogether – could result in some major fines, lost business, and even a shutdown of your website.

For these reasons, it’s worth it to take the time to make your website (and lead generation) fully compliant.

What Does GDPR Mean for Lead Generation?

If you collect user information in order to generate leads for your business, then GDPR will likely impact your lead generation strategy. In simple terms, this is because GDPR requires that you gain consent from users before you collect their information.

The most significant change you may experience is not being able to send marketing materials to “cold” leads – even if already have their email address. This includes email newsletters, cold outreach, special offers, etc.

Next, you’ll have to state that the data you collect is protected against misuse. Typically, this relates to the unlawful selling of consumer information to third-party organizations. Finally, you’ll have to make it uber clear what your privacy policies are and how users can revoke consent at any time.

Many businesses use cold outreach, lead magnets, or contact forms to collect user information. Unfortunately, if your business markets to people in the EU, generating leads this way is no longer as simple as just getting their email address.

Fines for Non-Compliance

Businesses that fail to comply with GDPR face some hefty fines – up to 4% of their annual global turnover, or €20 million, whichever is higher.

If your website markets heavily to citizens in the EU, you could face fines of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-compliance.

The best way to avoid these fines is to make sure you get proper consent from users before you collect their personal information.

How to Ensure Your Lead Generation is GDPR Compliant

If paying GDPR penalties isn’t in your budget, then you’ll want to ensure that your lead generation efforts are fully compliant. Whether you’re marketing for your own business or for a client, these steps apply.

1. Gain Consent from Users

With GDPR in place, businesses can only gather consumer data when they have a legal reason to do so. These reasons typically include 1) collecting data to draft up a client contract, 2) because a user requests information, or 3) because a user consented to having their data collected.

When it comes to lead generation, you can tick off the GDPR compliant box by gaining consent from users. You can do this by prompting users to opt into having their data collected, stored, and/or shared.

One place where you need consent is cookies. Since cookies collect user data, it’s necessary that you ask for consent. You can do this by adding a cookie bar to your site with a pop-up that tells users that cookies are active, and that they can opt in or out at any time.

You can also ask for consent through your lead generation forms by simply adding a field that states that the user is opting in. The person must check the box in order for their consent to be valid.

2. Tell Users How and Why They’re Information is Being Collected

When it comes to GDPR compliance, the main question you need to answer is: what is the legal basis for your site collecting and using the person’s data?

In other words, you’re expected to be able to justify why and how the information is being collected.

For example, if you are collecting the information for lead generation purposes, then you need to explain that this is the case and also how the information is being obtained.

To be clear, this information must be stated in your website’s Privacy Policy – which should be visible on your site, it should also be tailor-made to your business. We recommend working with a trusted lawyer to draft your Privacy Policy for this reason.

Your Privacy statement should include:

  • How the information is being collected
  • Why the information is being collected
  • Legal justification for why information is being collected
  • How the information will be used
  • Whether the information will be sold (and to whom)
  • How users can opt out of data collection

In a nutshell, you need to make sure users know what they are consenting to when they consent to you using their data.

3. Make Sure Privacy Policy is Visible

Once you’ve crafted a Privacy Policy to post on your website, make sure it is clearly visible. Most businesses include a button for users to read their Privacy Policy in the footer or as a dropdown option from the main menu.

Some websites have the Privacy Policy appear as a pop-up so users can view it without having to exit their current page. This way, they can go back to reading your content right away, instead of choosing to exit your site.

4. Offer an Opt-Out Option

Even if you have a hot lead in your pipeline, they still have “the right to be forgotten” at any time. As it relates to GDPR, this means they can request for their information to be deleted – no questions asked.

For example, if a lead no longer wants to receive your newsletter or marketing materials, they should be able to unsubscribe. Then, you must comply immediately. This may seem like a bummer, but it’s nothing compared to the costs of GDPR fines.

5. Keep Data Safe

As part of your Privacy Policy, you’ll need to state how lead information is stored. To be compliant, all data must be stored securely.

You can use SSL encryption on your site to protect user information. Doing so is also beneficial in that it instills trust in users and it’s an important factor that search engines consider when it comes to driving traffic to your website.

To make sure your data is protected, make sure you cover all your bases. These include:

  • The transfer of consumer information between servers, browsers, etc.
  • The encryption of user data
  • The length of time data will be stored for
  • The storage of user data
  • Who can access the data
  • How you and your team will access the data
  • How users can access their own data
  • Where the data is stored.

As recommended earlier, it’s best to have a designated team member who will check GDPR compliance on a regular basis. They can audit your systems, check security, update your privacy policy, answer customer questions, and more

You can work with trusted lead generation service providers like Acceligize to collect, store, and use consumer information the right way. With full compliance, you’ll be able to avoid fines and may even generate more leads than before.

Scale Up Your Lead Generation Efforts without the Fines

Whether you do business in the EU now or plan to in the future, it’s highly recommended that you audit your site for GDPR compliance.

Many businesses jump on this before it’s too late, and it can cost them millions of dollars. As a business owner or marketer, you likely don’t have that money to toss at avoidable GDPR fees.

By following the 5 steps above, you’ll be well on your way to full GDPR compliant lead generation. Then, you can generate leads without the stress or potential fines.

Looking for GDPR compliant lead generation solutions provider? Get started with Acceligize