The 4 Most Useful GDPR Features in HubSpot

Payara Services provides stable, supported open source software. Bringing our solutions to a global audience entails a wider skillset in the team than can be confined to Java developers and engineers, however. Our Marketing, Sales and HR departments have vital roles to play, with our Fish Food blogs providing a peek behind the curtain (or under the hood!) of running an award-winning, fast-growing, values-driven tech business. 

For this blog, our Marketing Manager Dominika Tasarz-Sochacka provides a closer look at how we have developed and evolved our watertight General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) strategy, using our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software of choice, HubSpot.

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As marketeers at Payara, we’ve been navigating the GDPR world for over three years now (time flies!). Although I was initially skeptical about the introduction of the new Data Protection rules back in May 2018, the more I learned about them, the more I understood how they are beneficial for both sides. Clearly, GDPR rules are a great way to protect individuals and their rights; but they also help us – marketeers – to follow our industry best practices and support our efforts to reach out to the right audiences at the right time and with the right message.

1. ‘Legal-Basis Required’ Option

This is a very useful setting that prevents you from contacting those leads in your database which – for some reason – do not have ‘legal basis for communication’ assigned. A lot of GDPR settings are managed by automation, so there’s always a chance that some contacts slip through the net e.g. because of incorrectly set up integration, missing info in Microsoft Excel documents or a simple human error when adding new contacts to the database manually. To avoid GDPR issues in that area, in your HubSpot account settings, you can enable the option to require ‘Legal Basis’ in order to communicate with your contacts. This ensures that marketing emails will only be sent to those contacts who do have a legal basis to communicate.

2. Subscription Types

Subscription types are very important for managing communication and targeting your audience– you only want to send most relevant information to your contacts! Your subscription types are usually focused on specific topics that your leads are interested in, and that is their crucial function.  However, subscription types also act as great protection from the GDPR perspective – and that’s protection for both you, and the individuals listed within your database. HubSpot allows you to add multiple subscription types for your communications, and you are required to specify a subscription type for each email you set up. When used correctly, it means you won’t be sending irrelevant information to your contacts. It can also help you manage your database better, e.g. you can set up separate subscription levels for customers and another ones for your leads, SQLs, and so on.

Another useful option that HubSpot provides is allowing the individual contacts to manage their subscriptions so that they can decide to unsubscribe from all or just selected subscription types, they can also subscribe to additional ones if they wish. All emails sent via HubSpot include a GDPR compliant footer with a personalised link where each individual can manage their subscription settings.

3. Don’t Send to Contacts with Low Engagement

This is definitely one of my personal favourites! I wholeheartedly believe that as a marketeer, you should only be contacting leads who actually engage in your email communications by regularly opening your messages and occasionally clicking through the links and call to actions within those emails.

If that’s not actually the case, we’re entering the world of ‘graymail’ – emails that contacts have opted in to receive, but never open or click. Because spam filters can easily filter out senders whose emails are not being opened, you are very likely to end up in your contacts junk folders and if you keep emailing them, you will eventually lower your sender score.

To prevent that from happening, HubSpot calculates unengaged contacts and automatically excludes those who have not been engaging with your marketing emails.

This option is not strictly GDPR focused but it does help with following the GDPR rules and best practices. You can assume that – if a contact has not been engaging in your communications for a while – they are probably not interested in hearing from you. So, under the GDPR rules, they should be deleted after a certain period (six months, ideally).

Also, a useful GDPR related element of this feature is that HubSpot retains the engagement history of your marketing email recipients, meaning that if you delete then recreate an unengaged contact, they will still be excluded, if you enable graymail suppression. If you genuinely believe that a particular contact will re-engage at some point, you can disable that feature for particular email(s) and once your contact actually opens your email, they will be automatically removed from the graymail suppression list.

4. GDPR Delete

This simple feature allows you to remove a contact from your database, following the GDPR rules, thus removing all data including email tracking history, call records, form submissions, and other engagement data and activity. You would normally perform this type of contact deletion if a contact requested that you delete all their personal data.

This feature also includes a blocklist functionality, meaning that once a contact is deleted, you will not be able to add them back to your account in the future.

If you want to explore more HubSpot GDPR features, head over to the HubSpot Knowledge Base!

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