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Preparing for GDPR: What does it mean for HubSpot users?

By B2B Marketing Lab Newsroom

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What is the GDPR?

Set to come into force in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents the most important change in data privacy and data management in the last 20 years.

More than 200 pages long, GDPR aims to unify and strengthen data privacy laws across Europe; formalising concepts such as the ‘right to be forgotten’ and giving EU citizens complete control over their personal data online. A bold ambition by any standard.

Essentially, what this means is that companies will need to be more transparent with what they do with personal data, while we, as individuals, will have more control over the information we provide. This is a big change for marketers, because in order to keep the ability to remarket to individuals, send out automated emails and target particular audiences, we need to refine our data based upon our contacts that have ‘opted-in’ twice – following the ‘double opt-in’ rule that has been in force in Germany for some time.

At first glance this might seem like a lot of extra effort, but as double opt-in becomes the norm, it will force marketers to clean their contact data and from it generate quality contacts.

Severe penalties await those who fail to adhere to GDPR – you’ve been warned. Businesses that suffer a data breach and have not complied with GDPR could incur a penalty of 4% of global turnover, or €20 million, depending on which amount is greater. Ouch! Also, under GDPR, the countries’ Data Protection Authority (DPA), for the UK, it’s the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), must be informed of data breaches within 72 hours of them being detected – so no more burying your head in the sand and praying nothing leaks out.


So, how will GDPR affect HubSpot users?

While GDPR may be a headache for some marketers, it’s mostly business as usual for those using HubSpot.

Think about it; under GDPR marketers need to receive clear, unambiguous consent from those they are marketing to if they want to engage with them – and there must be a detailed trail of consent.

For HubSpot users, we have been doing most of this all along.

Unlike interruptive marketing methods which demand people’s attention, Inbound Marketing is about earning people’s attention. Synonymous with permission marketing, where you earn the consent of the individuals you market to, Inbound Marketing is about providing valuable, helpful content which addresses the problems and needs of your future or existing customers, pulling them towards your company and product/services.

As you attract these individuals, you convert them into leads using forms, calls-to-action and landing pages on your website using high-quality ‘gated content’. Throughout the Inbound process, every exchange has been consensual and can be easily tracked through the HubSpot platform.

In preparing for GDPR, the first thing HubSpot users need to do is verify and re-qualify their lists by implementing double opt-in.


What does double opt-in mean?

Double opt-in requires brands and businesses to ask all existing contacts or website visitors to verify that they are happy to receive your content or marketing material twice.

For example, someone might subscribe to your blog. Under normal circumstances, this single subscription would be all they have to do to register their interest. However, under GDPR, this process includes an additional step. After that subscriber submits their details, they would then receive a confirmation email asking if they are indeed happy to subscribe to the blog, along with a link they can then click to confirm. Hey presto – double opt-in.

The point of the double opt-in is to verify user details as correct and to ensure that the user is indeed who they say they are and that they are happy to have more contact from a business/brand. It’s also to stop fraudsters submitting false information in order to gain access to data or in our case – content.  

HubSpot users need to enable double opt-in now

By turning on HubSpot double opt-in now, you can begin to qualify your existing contact database and clean out old or incorrect data.

With the feature enabled, HubSpot will send out an opt-in request email after someone fills out a form. The contact then needs to click on the link in the email to confirm that they do indeed want to have regular email communication. If your form has a follow-up email, once the recipient confirms their opt-in status, the follow-up email will be sent.

Double opt-in might seem excessive, but that’s because it’s new and who likes change, right? We do! HubSpot marketers can develop extremely high-quality lists of people who are more engaged with the company. Those that actually opt-in are far more interested in what your business does and will be happy to receive further marketing material, so treat those people well!


To ensure GDPR compliance, we would suggest your forms include:

  1. The reasons why data is being requested;
  2. Information on what the data will be used for;
  3. A link to your company’s privacy policy on your landing pages and marketing communications;
  4. Clear opt-in and opt-out rules.

Under GDPR, data must be ‘accurate’ and kept for no longer than what is ‘necessary’. With HubSpot, you can manage all of your data from HubSpot’s contact records – meaning if it’s altered in one place, those changes will be reflected across the platform.


Three tips for marketers:

HubSpot user or not, there are three straightforward tips you can follow to prepare yourself for GDPR:

  1. Audit your current database and try to establish whether individuals within your database have provided you with their consent.
  2. Have a clear understanding of your route to purchase or conversion and how those contacts came into touch with your business. If your business is asked to provide a trail of consent, you need to have comprehensive information on how you acquired the contact data.
  3. Disclose your data practices and privacy policy to your website visitors - this must be transparent and clearly documented to ensure you meet regulations. At every opportunity, make sure that this information is prominent.

We would recommend that you have a marketing automation platform capable of managing all marketing data that enables you update records on the fly. By George! Wouldn’t you know that HubSpot provides the necessary functionalities your business needs to ensure regulatory compliance and high-quality data capture and management.

You can read more about HubSpot and the support services we provide here.

Alternatively, if you want to expand your HubSpot knowledge, why not click the link below and join us for a full day of HubSpot training?

B2BML HubSpot Training


by B2B Marketing Lab Newsroom

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