The dental field is a business field as any other and as such, it needs the relevant marketing strategies to reach consumers. Under GDPR some of them are no longer legal and in order to protect your dental practice from loses and fines, not to mention reputational damages, it’s better to implement them sooner rather than later!
We discussed consent at length in our series “Demystifying GDPR for Dental Practitioners”…
One area where GDPR brings forth extreme changes is in marketing practices, and your dental practice is no exception to this. It is vital that you receive explicit consent from a patient before emailing them with any marketing-related materials:
- The dental practice must confirm consent with a patient or potential patient prior to sending direct marketing emails.
- The dental practice must confirm consent with all previous patients who may have interacted with the business online via email, as acting without consent contravenes the regulations regardless of whether that patient has been in contact with you at any stage in the past.
- The dental practice must not purchase any mailing lists in order to send direct marketing campaigns. Doing so is a violation of the regulations and would be classed as spam.
Perhaps your practice has collected plenty of email addresses from patients over the years, and before the effective date of the GDPR it was ok to send reminders to patients, but now it is best to have the consent to receive email marketing material in writing. The best way to proceed with your current patient email database is to individually email them notifying them of the changes and directly asking them whether they wish to continue to receive communications from your business. In doing this, it is important to:
- Be clear about the function of potential emails and allow patients to choose between marketing emails and informational emails.
- Keep a record of clients who consented to continue to receive emails as well as ensure you delete patients who fail to reply or who decline to provide consent.
- Continually update your consented email list.
Cold Emailing and Cold Calling
Recent information provided by the UK’s Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has given additional clarity when it comes to communication with an individual in a business/professional capacity. According to the ICO, cold calling/cold emailing when the given individual (data subject) has not consented to it is considered a breach under the GDPR. However, when the data subject is acting as a representative of a company, this is not a breach of the GDPR, even though the individual was contacted via his/her email (a work email address is considered personal data as an individual could be identified through it). According to the ICO, Consent is not required to use email or text messages to market to corporate/business subscribers.
However, there are exceptions – this does not apply to businesses that are classed as sole traders or some limited liability partnerships. These organisations should be treated in the same way as individual subscribers and should only receive email and text messages if they have given their prior consent.
When contacting corporate/business subscribers the email should clearly state who the sender is and provide a means of unsubscribing from future emails. The content of the email must also be relevant to the target organisation and shouldn’t sell directly to the recipient.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, it is not legal advice and should not be treated as one. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
If you experience issues with marketing and need some assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us! We, at Supportica, are specialist in marketing management and have a large number of data protection specialists.