How do I communicate with OPT-OUT contacts using the service email?

How do I communicate with Opt-out contacts using the service email?

Since its implementation in 2018, the GDPR has made a lot of businesses happy and a lot of others anxious. This regulation aims to standardize the practices of collecting and using personal data of your fans and visitors within the European Union. Since its entry into force,OPT-INhas become an increasinglyimportant part of advertisers' communication strategies, to the point where we forget to consider the different applications of OPT-OUT. This is why we would like to help you to see more clearly in this article.

Definition point

L’OPT-IN means an email address that has been the subject of prior consent from the owner. This consent applies to the use of this address in a specific context. Consent may be obtained by written or electronic validation.

L’OPT-OUTis a term for addresses that are removed from mailing lists. They can be removed automatically (this is called "automatic removal").passive opt-out), or manually (active opt-out).

If the basic principle of communication promotes theOPT-INit is possible to communicate with a contact OPT-OUT. To explain this, it is necessary to analyse the purpose of your messages.

CNIL website

I Distinguish the nature of the message

The prospecting message is to be distinguished of the service message/non-commercial message.

Is defined for canvassing " the direct sending of any message intended to promote, directly or indirectly, goods, services or the image of a person selling goods or providing services ". This type of communication corresponds to newsletters as well as the various types of promotional messages that a company may send. Promotion is understood here in a broad sense, so editorial newsletters and follow-up emails from abandoned shopping carts are considered by default to require an OPT-IN.

In addition to this type of forward-looking message, advertisers may send non-commercial service messages. Some may be legally required by law as necessary to comply with the sales contract, such as purchase confirmation emails, or emails relating to order tracking. It should be noted thata fuzzy exists on the emails of requests for legal advice. depending on the content and tone of the message, they can be considered as service emails (without opt-in) or promotional (with opt-in).

II Principle and exceptions

Sending communications to your audiences normally requires an OPT-IN, i.e. they have given their explicit consent to receive your communications..

Two exceptions :

- The contact has already benefited from your services and your communication concerns similar products or services provided by the same person. 

- Communication is necessary for the proper follow-up of the sales contract.

These are the only situations in which you can communicate to your contacts OPT-OUT.

III How to harvest the OPT-IN?

(a ) In registration forms, consent to receive your communications must be clearly requested. The answer to this question may be mandatory. Other advertisers, however, make this option optional. If there is no response, your contacts will be considered to be OPT-OUT. You will only be able to send them promotional emails if they have made a purchase.

We recommend making this response option mandatory to simplify the management of consents.


b) The advertiser may also offer its audience the opportunity to express their disagreement with receiving communications by checking a box. This is a defaultOPT-OUT principle. Nevertheless, the advertiser may then communicate only if the prospect makes a purchase, in order to justify the use of the exceptions presented above.

(c) There are also specific rules governing the collection of oral consent as can happen at ticket counters and public reception points. Thus, information stating the purpose for which your audience's data is to be used must be read or displayed on the spot. You will then need to inform your audiences that they will be able to access all the information and provide written consent. You will then need to keep the script that was delivered by the caller in case of a check.

d) Service emails sent to your customers OPT-OUT can be used as an opportunity to ask them to become OPT-IN by subscribing to your newsletters.

IV What is the shelf life?

The data of your prospects cannot be kept without limit. The one recommended by the CNIL is 3 years from the last action taken by your customer. Customers whose last contact is older cannot be reactivated. In addition, several case law cases have been handed down on the notion of last action by e-mail . Alsoan opening of the mail does not come into account, unlike the click.

As such, you need to think about implementing a strategy to reactivate your older customers before they leave your base. Unsubscribing, on the other hand, should be easy and, if possible, only one click away.

marketing automation

V Our marketing advice

- You can use order confirmation emails to ask your opt-out contacts to sign up for your newsletter. However, the subject of the email and the main content must remain the service email.

- You can then create welcoming scenarios as soon as the person registers. Explain in the emails why people are being contacted and offer to set their preferences: How many newsletters do they want to receive this month?

- Regularly monitor your target statistics OPT-OUT. If your performance on this target is less important than your overall performance, be less aggressive and opt for 100% editorial newsletters. On the other hand, if your performance is satisfactory, you can start to include promotional emails. 

To help you in the creation of marketing automationwe've created a formation you can join. Your support manager is also available for any questions.

This article is adapted from Badsender's article: Non-opt-in customers: how to talk to them?

Apolline Locquet

Apolline Locquet

Would you like to carry out a data & CDP diagnosis of your organisation? Take advantage of 30 minutes of free consulting by reserving your slot.

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Solène Jimenez

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