You may have heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force on the 25 May, but you may not realise how this impacts on you.
The good thing about GDPR is that it will hopefully mean less annoying marketing emails in your inbox, but it may also mean that you never again will receive those email newsletters that you sign up to. So if you’re for example are subscribing to mine, you will actively have to reconfirm your consent, as I otherwise won’t be able to email you again. You can confirm your subscription here.
The law applies to anyone who does business in the EU, so any dancer or dance teacher, who is selling classes, courses or workshops, and uses email or phone to tell their students about them. And if you’re reading this article you are likely to be either a teacher, student or both, in which case you will be affected. Especially as the belly dance community easily reaches across borders these days (and hurray for that!).
From a sole trader perspective (and most dance professionals are likely to fall into this category) this means there are a few things you have to actively do in order to comply with regulation.
The main thing is to prove that you have the appropriate consent. So no more pre-ticked or ‘opt-out’ boxes or being to vague about what people are letting themselves in for. You have to be very clear about what people can expect, how it will be delivered (email, sms etc.) and ideally also frequency.
You may already be making this clear, in which case you can just continue doing such a great job. But you will still need to prove consent, in other words, have a clear log of when people have ticked yes or in another ways requested to be contacted from you and in the format that you are currently using.
If you’ve been managing you email lists/data effectively, this shouldn’t cause you too much trouble, but you will need to have that traceable consent. If not, then you’ll need to run an ‘opt-in’ campaign. If you’re already using a mailing programme, such as MailChimp, this can easily be set up and automated for you. But keeping emails from students requesting information is also valid as evidence. It is best practise to send an ‘opt-in’ email every few years anyway, to ensure that you only contact people that also engage with what you’re sending.
Anyone is open to hacking or data breeches. Small companies and sole traders are no exception, as hackers will always target weaknesses and go for the easy wins. So if you are storing people’s email addresses, postal addresses and possibly also payment details, then you also have the responsibility to keep all this data safe. So consider how you store data, and how you keep it safe. If a serious data breech should happen, it’s your responsibility to notify those affected. You can read more here.
The new regulation is meant to address the questionable processes that some of the big corporates are using, and small businesses with less than 250 employees haven’t got quite as many new rules and procedures to follow. But the above mentioned confirmed consent, as well as a planed procedure for a data breech should be in place. If nothing else for your own peace of mind, and to ensure you run a professional and trustworthy business. How the new laws will be interpreted and applied is still to be seen, but it’s nevertheless coming into effect on the 25th May, 2018.
So please be aware of both your rights and responsibilities when it comes to receiving emails and sending them in a ‘professional capacity’ (needless to say that your private email correspondence won’t be affected by the new laws!).
I currently send 2 email newsletters, a weekly inspirational email, which links to my latest blog article, and a seasonal newsletter, which covers all my class and workshops details.
You can subscribe to either or both of them here.
And if you’re already receiving them, please take your time to update your preference, or in other words, give me the permission to continue to email you.
Happy dancing – and communicating about it 🙂
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: How to advance your taqs