Why the pain of GDPR is good for you – the welcome cull

Aside from the conflicting advice that is emerging from various organisations, you (like me) have no doubt been receiving emails from all sorts of organisations, asking you to double opt-in to continue receiving their newsletters and promotional material.

It was time for me to say “no” to the Aston Martin newsletter (I don’t have that itch any more) but I wasn’t giving up on Waterstones, whose reviews are always so interesting, even though they focus on the bestsellers and not The Long Tail.

The very excellent Alison King, employment law advisor extraordinaire at BespokeHR surprised me when she announced that her newsletter was coming to an end and that her tribe should follow her musings on Linkedin.

That was a bold step and she replied to my request for an explanation by pointing out that engagement with her pearls of wisdom was so low that it wasn’t worth the GDPR effort.

I hasten to add that is not a reflection of the content or the author – simply the fatigue of the audience.

Thus it is, I suspect, for many of us – we are simply overwhelmed with digital content.

My own newsletter has a Mailchimp readership of 4,500 but let’s take a reality pill.

On the best days, I hit a 30% open rate, on the slow days a 15% open rate.

How can that be? I write stuff that is so useful?

Get over yourself CB – 70% of your audience can’t even be bothered opening the email.

Another recent exercise has been revealing.

I have the statutory limit of 5,000 friends on my Facebook profile – in fact, there is a queue to get in.

Woo – how popular am I?

About 6 weeks ago I created a long-awaited Facebook Page and decided it was time to differentiate between my personal and professional content.

I’ve invited my profile “friends” to like my Page every week for 6 weeks.

As of this morning, 777 (15%) have made the journey across – that’s after 6 reminders.

The rest of my “friends” cannot be bothered.

My initial concerns that GDPR was going to decimate my hard-won databases of followers has been replaced by the realisation that this enforced cull is going to be a huge clear-out of dead wood.

A once in a decade (maybe) opportunity to cut back the numbers to those who really care.

Our GDPR newsletter will be going out next week and I fully expect to wave goodbye to 85% of my readers.

Then, like you, I’ll start again, building followers, building friends, building my Tribe – by creating content of value.

By the way – how popular do you think this blog is?

My thanks go out to the average of around 250 people who tune in most days, although the numbers can range from 30 to 500 – and here was me, thinking I was changing the world.



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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “Why the pain of GDPR is good for you – the welcome cull”

  1. This is a great piece today. Just double checking now that I’ve moved to your new fb page! 😉

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