Data privacy plays an essential role in lead generation and failing to recognise this role can end up having far more serious consequences than you think. South Africa’s POPI (Protection Of Personal Information) Act will be fully enforced from 1 July 2021. Since being signed into legislation on 19 November 2013, POPIA began to be put into place in April 2014. Officially, the Act commenced on 1 July 2020. The final date for complete compliance will be next year, which gives businesses who are not yet prepared for the Act very little time.

While POPIA will affect all areas of digital marketing, it will have an especially big impact on lead generation. As the majority of lead generation campaigns rely on lists and automated campaigns, data privacy will need to be a major priority to avoid the severe consequences of non-compliance. These can range from huge fines of up to R10 million and even jail time of up to 10 years. No business can afford to pay the price of POPIA non-compliance.

And it’s not only POPIA you need to consider, either. Businesses across the globe also need to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulations, which apply to all types of marketing within the EU as well as any data transferred outside of the EU.

Data Privacy Best Practices for Lead Generation

The best way to be sure that your lead generation campaigns are fully compliant to local and international data privacy regulations is to have a stringent privacy protocol in place that is applied across all of your strategies. To make this happen, you need to follow best practices. Trying to go forward with no proper plan in place is never a good idea. Assuming that data privacy is simply a case of having a cookie notice on your site is an even worse idea. Data protection compliance is a complex thing that cannot be treated as an after-thought. With that in mind, you will need to be prepared if you want to avoid non-compliance penalties. Some of the most important things to keep in mind for compliance include the following:

Understanding of laws

The first thing you will need to do is ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of data protection laws and how they will affect your campaigns. POPIA and GDPR share many similarities and ultimately have the same goal – to protect consumer information. These laws also have differences. In South Africa, you will need to be compliant with both laws. This means having a full understanding of what you can and cannot do when nurturing leads and planning your campaigns. There are a few ways that you can get extensive, reliable information on both laws. You could seek advice from a legal expert who has an understanding of data privacy. You could also go directly to the source. Official sites will give you guidelines on POPIA regulations as well as GDPR regulations, with accurate information that helps you gain better insight.

Strict compliance

Once you have more understanding of POPIA and related data privacy regulations, you will need to have a clear privacy policy in place along with various other compliance measures. This may affect your overall lead generation strategy and may a lot of changes. As we mentioned above, the penalties for non-compliance are serious enough that you will not want to take any risks. You will no longer be able to plan automated cold outreach campaigns and you will no longer be able to assume that you can collect and use consumer data the way you have been doing before. You will need to go through your current lists and automated campaigns and make sure that everything adheres to guidelines set forth by POPIA and GDPR.

Permissions and opt-in

One of the biggest things that will come into play include permissions and opt-in marketing. Consent is integral across all of your lead nurturing efforts. Many businesses assume that opt-in is a catch-all thing that means that leads can be sent various information when signing up through a lead form. This will no longer be done once POPIA is set into place, however. When consumers sign up for a lead magnet, for example, such as a guide on how to choose the best power tools, they are signing up specifically for this information and may not realise that they will receive additional messages after getting their guide. Likewise, when potential leads complete a lead form, they are expecting to receive information relating to your services and may not want to sign up for marketing emails, newsletters and other content. You will need to ensure that leads have the option to receive further communication and that they can choose to opt-in to your lead campaigns. Without permissions, you will be breaching personal information laws.

Clear communication

This brings us to our next point – communication. Permission-based marketing relies on very clear communication. You will need to have privacy policies displayed on your website. These should outline exactly how you collect, store and protect data, as per regulations set forth by data protection acts. You will also need to have cookie notices (ideally as a pop-up to make them easy to see) that allow visitors to choose which cookies they feel comfortable being saved and used. Then, you will need to make sure that your permissions and opt-in communication is also extremely clear. You could trigger an automated email with a double-opt-in, for instance, and outline exactly what information leads have chosen to receive. Making it easy for leads to opt-out is also important, which means that you should be clear on how opt-outs can be done. You can communicate this option in your initial opt-in confirmation email.

Data security measures

Lead generation is all about data collection. Gone are the days of purchased lists and other dodgy measures taken to collect data. The days of lax data security are also over. To be compliant and be sure that your leads’ information is protected, you will need solid data security measures in place. Using a secure, cloud-based solution is easily one of the safest options, as they offer more protection compared to on-premise servers. Protecting your lists from cyber threats, data breaches and other risks is vital. Being proactive and having strong security processes in place is also essential.

Data Privacy and Lead Generation

At the end of the day, proper lead nurturing is not about forcing lead campaigns on potential prospects. It’s not about trying to rush leads through your lead funnel, either. The goal is to identify and nurture genuine prospects that are more likely to convert to sales. If you are putting your potential leads’ privacy at the top of your strategies, you will have a far better chance of converting because you are respecting their choices. This helps to build genuine relationships, helping you plan campaigns that are based on actual interest in what you are offering. Along with making sure that you are fully compliant, it will also make sure that your campaigns are based on trust, giving you the chance to build your reputation in the process and helping your lead generation campaigns be far more effective.

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