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Emailing and emails – hate it or love it?

We use emails in both formal and informal communication. Sometimes when emailing is part of our work, we lose sight of the big picture. We don’t stop to consider how welcome or annoying they are for the recipients. Thinking inside the box, however, may often be the cause for the lack of efficiency revealed by metrics, or simply by the general conclusion that things are stuck.

So the question is how much do emails serve our interests – and what can we do to better this way of communication.

 

GDPR prompts for the companies to reconsider their direct emailing policies

 

Without diving into the GDPR subject (surely by now you must know what is it, what are the consequences and how it’s supposed to work), what stands out in the matter of emailing is that you should send your electronic messages only to those who have agreed to receive them.

Therefore, all databases are to be cleaned up and refreshed. One of the tricks here is that many companies took advantage of the moment by sending good bye – welcome messages. In one last effort of keeping or re-engaging their audience, they hit a “send to all”, asking customers whether they agree to future emails. Now, each organization may have had a different understanding of how to approach this. Not rarely an email from a persistent spam-like sender showed up, warning us about the perils of us as receivers being deprived of their emails in the future. The moment is delicate – and if your content used to be routine content, you would better find a way to show that you care and are willing to improve this. Otherwise, why wouldn’t your recipient scroll down straight to unsubscribe?

Acquiring new recipients might be tricky. You could add a paragraph that encourages your already loyal recipients to share the email content, in the hope of reaching other potential correspondents. Someone else sharing your emails to a third party is great – you would only have the final recipient’s address in the moment of his/her decision that your emails are interesting and great to have in the future.

Get creative, while also respectful in business emailing. You may check other recommendations here.

 

Make your emails kind

 

Remember that feeling when you have not such a good day at work, but you find something that makes it better. Regardless of what they sell, introduce or communicate, your emails need to be that something. Great visuals, a joke, a new and interesting fact or nugget of wisdom – we are living in a sad world that always needs a drop of kindness.

Stop repeating clichés. Don’t use bulk emails created in an underdeveloped economy by tired people, pushed by mean managers. It may seem an exaggeration, but it is not. When conceived in un-kind environments, products cannot carry kindness – beware of this when you choose who and how will take the task of engaging your customers.

Of course, in B2B communications, for example, peers tend not to sanction content for what it is, since they feel the need to stay in the loop. I don’t imagine you’ve ever sent or received an email answer pointing out why a certain content is uninteresting, flat, repetitive, and beside the point. But perhaps we should all do that. Take a minute and politely tell the sender why is it that his/her message is not the right one for us. Although it is doubtful whether our reply would trigger changes, it would be a good step forward.

 

Boring is not an option

 

Our time to spare is valuable. Going through countless messages that beat about the bush simply won’t do it when it comes to being efficient.

If you have a product or quantifiable service, include the cost in your message. If it is a baseline cost – state it as such. But don’t wrap it in a couple of messages that say nothing about one of the most important elements of your offer – the price.

Interesting, fun, to-the-point emails could revive and revamp this means of communication. Haters would have less things to pick on, and those who in fact, like emailing could again look forward to opening them.

Why don’t we try it?

And if you need numbers, we stumbled upon this site.

Canvy data protection GDPR communications Internet

The ubiquitous world of information

Nowadays, most of the people have a public Internet persona, sometimes without even knowing it. Surely, once accessing the net and setting up a few accounts, anybody should be aware that they “exist” online. Excepting the case where a person is really privacy-sensitive and the accounts are hardly relate-able to the real individual.

But how much control does each individual have over its own brand it’s a different thing.

 

Online directories

If you think your data will stay put on the Internet, then you are in for a big surprise. Nobody is an island in this sea of information. Various automated directories will farm your data – some because it’s the only way they exist, by centralizing various information, others because they compile and sale databases to whomever is willing to pay for it.

The reverse of the coin is that potentially interested parties adopted the practice of looking for your online footprint. Thus, they might find out things – and interpret them. For example, the practice of “googling up” candidates in Human Resources is frequent. Yet, much like bragging it may allow distorted facts to pass on as reality. And unlike bragging, some may find themselves blacklisted without any explanation, and without any chance of making things clear.

This is just somewhere in the gray area – but imagine what happens when malicious entities target an individual. Getting to know somebody’s area of interest is not so difficult nowadays – Social Media showcases quite a lot. Social engineering – a technique involved in hacking – makes quite a day out of it.

 

The pitfalls of social media

Even the more privacy-educated individuals have their moments. They have friends and relatives that are completely unaware of this angle, or simply cannot keep track of every setting out there. Let’s recap one thing – the social media networks and apps do not align their default settings with the stance that would protect your privacy. You have to manually configure the settings at your disposal. And you have to do this again and again each time new features come in.

Why is that? Nobody has to look too far for the answer – essentially social network are jars of honey that attract a lot of customers, bedazzled by the benefits of the online community and by the playful side of these tools. A lot of customers equals a lot of data. Marketing data. Data which is valuable, which continually updates itself, and which is usually volunteered cheerfully by all those eager to show off their life, their options, their latest acquisitions – to their connections. And ultimately to the whole wide world out there.

Curiosity acts both ways in social networking. We are curious to see how others are doing, and we also cannot wait to see their reactions to the various things we showcase. Both work out great for data farming…

 

The tools that allow individuals to reclaim control

The first line of defense is education & self-censorship.  Always be informed what the risks are – and run a few questions in your head, as a reflex, before volunteering things that could expose you and those related to you.

Secondly, find a few moments from time to time to see what is new, what has changed around your info. Correct the old settings – it’s always better to prevent than to treat.

Another pretty famous line of defense – that transcends social networking – would be exerting the right you have over your own data.

The European GDPR will be enforced this spring – it is the standard in data protection, in what the companies that deal with data are concerned. It works both online and offline. It is meant to prevent accidents, like those who led in the past at major data leaks.

However, there is no use in a standard trying to protect your privacy when you splash around your personal data, so understanding the importance of owning your data protection is essential.

 

The right to be forgotten

The right to be forgotten, as translated into regulations and procedure that bind Internet operators, such as Google, tries to make sure that securing potentially damaging, private information about individuals is at least available.

The procedure is not mandatory, as it involves approval of the requests. However, there are people who act upon it – and a recent status update coming from Google itself illustrates this. Basically, URLs can be delisted as an effect of a successful RtBF action. You can see more here.

 

A word of advice

Social interactions used to take place within certain common sense boundaries, and politeness was the sign of any educated man in a society not so far up in the past.

Today, the way we expose ourselves in the digital environment, as well as the way we expose others, could be imbued with a sense of prevention, of data protection conscientiousness and, ultimately, of responsibility.

When you won’ protect your own data, how is it that you expect others to do so? Well, now some of them are bound to do it, due to the new regulations. However, there are so many free agents that prey on your data mistakes, that it is highly preferable you would be attentive and informed on what your privacy is concerned.