If your business is based in the European Union (EU), or you process the personal data of individuals in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects you.
When relying on consent as your legal basis for processing, the GDPR says the consent you obtain must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. You also must clearly explain how you plan to use their personal data. We’ve updated Mailchimp signup forms to help you stay compliant with this law. Our optional, GDPR-friendly forms include checkboxes for opt-in consent, and editable sections that explain how and why you are using data.
In this article, you’ll learn how signup forms can help you comply with the GDPR.
Before you start
Here are some things to know before you begin this process.
Enabling GDPR fields on your signup forms does not make you compliant. It’s the first step of the process. To collect consent from new and existing contacts, you’ll set up your forms, create a segment, and send a consent campaign.
You can import marketing permissions to a GDPR-enabled audience if you collect and maintain contact consent records outside of Mailchimp. You are responsible for ensuring you can demonstrate that your contacts have consented to the marketing permissions you import.
Mailchimp Subscribe is not compatible with GDPR fields.
Certain styles of pop-up forms are not compatible with GDPR fields.
Mailchimp offers tools and information as a resource, but we don’t offer legal advice. We recommend you contact your legal counsel to find out how the GDPR affects you.
How it works
Just enabling GDPR fields on your signup forms will not make you compliant. It’s the first part of a multi-step process. Here’s how it works.
Set up your GDPR-friendly signup form
Enable GDPR fields
Turn on GDPR fields for the signup forms for each audience affected by the GDPR.
Edit GDPR fields
Mailchimp provides suggested language for GDPR fields to make it easier for you to create your GDPR-friendly forms. You might need to edit this language to fit your marketing plan, so be sure to review it carefully. If you choose to write your own descriptions, make sure you’re explicit about why you’re collecting data.
Segment your audience by marketing permissions
Segment your audience based on the marketing permissions you receive from your signup form. You don’t have to wait to collect your data to create segments. After you create and save your segments, you’ll be able to access them anytime. Give your segments descriptive names so you can find them easily.
From new contacts
After you save your changes in the form builder, that signup form will include GDPR fields on compatible published forms. New contacts that use your signup form will be able to give explicit consent to your marketing.
From existing contacts
You’ll also need to collect GDPR-friendly consent from the contacts you already have. Send an email to everyone on your audience that includes a link to update their settings.
Send your campaigns
After you save your segment, use it to send your email or ad campaign only to the people who have given consent through your signup form.
GDPR form fields include checkboxes that your contacts will use to opt-in to your marketing, and space for you to add necessary information. Mailchimp provides suggested language that you can edit to fit your marketing plan. Make sure each section accurately describes your marketing activities.
This table explains what you need to include in each field.
This field describes why you are collecting the information on your form, such as providing marketing and product updates.
This field uses checkboxes to get consent for each marketing activity you conduct. Mailchimp will provide a few common marketing activities to choose from, and you can add your own. Remember that each marketing activity must be clearly communicated and requires separate consent.
This field explains how you’ll use contacts’ data. Statements you make in this section must be consistent with your practices, so be sure to edit this field to meet the needs of your business. Include your contact details on the signup form - the GDPR requires the organization collecting the personal data (that’s you) to identify themselves. Let your customers know they can change their mind at any time with the Unsubscribe link.
If you plan to use data you collect from your contacts to advertise online, clearly explain your advertising activities and make sure your Cookie Statement describes any cookies or tracking technologies you might use. If you’re not sure, Mailchimp’s Cookie Statement includes a section called Cookies served through the Services that describes technology you (or your website) might use, depending on the features you use through Mailchimp.
Which forms are compatible with GDPR fields?
After you enable GDPR form fields for your audience, these fields will be included on the hosted signup forms for your audience, embedded forms, update profile forms, and signup landing pages.
The fields will also be included on pop-up forms that use the Modal design format, and either None or Top image alignment.
GDPR fields are not compatible with form integrations or Mailchimp Subscribe.
Set up your GDPR-friendly signup form
To use GDPR fields on your signup forms, enable them for each audience that collects or contains personal data from EU citizens, then edit them to reflect your marketing practices.
Enable and edit GDPR fields
After you enable GDPR fields for an audience, they will be available to view and edit.. These fields will be included on most signup forms associated with that audience, including pop-up forms, the hosted signup form, embedded forms and signup landing pages.
To enable and edit GDPR fields for your audience, follow these steps.
If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
Click the Manage Audience drop-down and choose Settings.
Click GDPR Fields and Settings.
Check the box next to Enable GDPR fields on Signup Forms.
Edit your GDPR fields.
Click Save GDPR Settings.
You’re all set! After your forms are in use, be careful about any further edits you make. If you change a checkbox option, the consent you received before making the change will no longer be valid and you’ll need to reconfirm opt-in. If you want to change your form, we suggest that you add a new option or remove an old one.
Edit GDPR fields from the form builder
After you enable GDPR fields, you can also edit them from the form builder. The changes you make in the form builder will apply to most Mailchimp signup forms, including compatible pop-up forms and landing pages.
To edit GDPR fields from the form builder, follow these steps.
Now that you’ve updated your forms and your segments are set up, you’re ready to collect consent from new contacts and market accordingly. But, you still need your existing contacts to opt-in to your marketing permissions. Let your contacts know they need to update their profile with a consent campaign.
We've created an email template to help you, or you can build the campaign from scratch. Send your consent campaign to everyone in your audience, and make sure it includes an Update Profile link. Click tracking doesn't work with the Update Profile link or other merge tags, so you'll need to use the GDPR form fields and segments to see who has updated their settings.
To collect consent from your existing contacts, follow these steps.
Click the drop-down menu and choose Subscriber Alerts.
Click the GDPR Subscriber Alert template.
The template includes suggested language that you can edit. Preview and test your email campaign as you normally would, and send it to your complete audience.
After you send your consent campaign, use your Marketing Permissions segments to communicate only with contacts who have expressly opted-in to your marketing. You may find it helpful to bulk unsubscribe all contacts who have not opted to receive any marketing from you.
We are not aware of anything that specifically prohibits you from sending a reconfirmation email. Some EU authorities recommend that businesses periodically refresh consent, suggesting that reconfirmations can still be sent.
The important thing is that you need to ensure that you have a legal basis – such as consent or a legitimate interest – to send an email to a contact.
If you don’t feel like you have a proper basis under the GDPR to email a contact, you may want to refrain from sending a reconfirmation email and remove the contact from your audience. As always, we suggest you reach out to local counsel in your area to discuss the specifics of your situation.
When a new contact signs up to your marketing through a hosted, pop-up, or landing page signup form for your GDPR-enabled audience, we'll record the field information in a plain-text version of your form. This captures the GDPR fields your contact saw when they subscribed, so you can show that you accurately described your marketing activities. You can view this information at any time on the contact's profile page.
You can edit the opt-in preferences for your contact here, but we don't recommend it. If you choose to edit your contact's preferences, make sure you have their express and verifiable consent.
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