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Creating a GDPR Compliant Email Marketing Process

Bindu Rekha Babu
11 Jan, 2024 - Updated 6 months ago
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GDPR now requires that you now obtain explicit, unambiguous permission to send marketing email – that basically means getting a double opt-in.

Gone are the days of the default opt-in to email marketing. Back then, you could send marketing email to almost anyone without their first permission so long as you provided them with a way to unsubscribe from your email.

GDPR creates a new paradigm in which people are assumed not to want marketing unless they explicitly ask for it. As a result, stricter requirements must be met to prove you have a recipient’s consent, and thus, to send them marketing email legally. The golden standard for this is obtaining a double opt-in to your email marketing, which Vtiger can now help you accomplish.

Who should create a GDPR compliant email marketing process?

You should seriously consider creating a GDPR compliant email marketing process:

  • If your business already sells (or provides for free) products or services to citizens or businesses in the EU
  • If your business plans in the future to do business in the EU
  • If your business could be perceived as doing business in the EU, although you may not consider yourself as doing so

How GDPR affects Email Marketing?

GDPR requires that you get separate, clear, affirmative, and provable consent to send an EU citizen email marketing. The only way to do that is by obtaining a double opt-in from each of them.

What is a double opt-in?

A double opt-in is a confirmation of a subscriber’s desire to receive your email. It is obtained by sending an email to the subscribed email address explaining that to begin receiving your marketing email, asking them to visit a link to permit you to send them marketing email. If the recipient visits the link, they are double opted in, and can then legally be sent your marketing email.

Creating a GDPR compliant email marketing process in Vtiger

To make your email marketing process GDPR compliant, you must do the following:

  • Before May 25th, request double opt-in from all contacts
  • On May 25th, change the Email Opt-In field value to “None” from “Single opt-in” for all contacts you know are in the EU, or who you are not aware of the location.
  • For webforms
    • Add the new email opt-in checkbox

To do the above, we must first learn how Vtiger’s email campaigns work.

How do email campaigns work in Vtiger?

When sending an email campaign, autoresponder, or workflow email to a lead or a contact, Vtiger evaluates two things to determine if the contact should receive the email - the value in the contact’s “Email Opt-in” field, and a system setting that tells Vtiger which of those values are acceptable for delivering email.

The opt-in types

Each lead and contact record has a field labeled “Email opt-in”, in which their opt-in type is stored. Their possible values are:

  1. None
  2. Single opt-in (user)
  3. Single opt-in (webform)
  4. Double opt-in
  5. Opted out (user)
  6. Opted out (contact)

Note! You can set up workflows with loading entry criteria on the email opt-in values.

These states are set in the following ways:

  • None - Set by Vtiger for all new contacts
  • Single opt-in (user) - Set by your users from the contact record
  • Single opt-in (webform) - Set by Vtiger when contacts submit a webform with the email marketing checkbox selected
  • Double opt-in - Set by Vtiger when a contact clicks the double opt-in email link
  • Opted out (user) - Set by your users from the contact record
  • Opted out (contact) - Set by Vtiger when a contact unsubscribes from their email preferences page

You can manually change the Email Opt-in field value between “None,” “Single opt-in (user)” or “User Opted out” at any time.


Setting which opt-in types Vtiger can send emails to

Vtiger will never deliver email to contacts with opt-ins of “None,” “Opted out (user)” or “Opted out (contact).” For the remaining opt-in types, you can tell Vtiger which ones should be emailable. Your options are:

  1. Double opt-in
  2. Double opt-in and Single opt-in (user)
  3. Double opt-in, Single opt-in (user) and Single opt-in (webform).


The default setting in Vtiger is “Double opt-in” and “Single opt-in (user).” This is useful because your contacts will all need to double opt-in to be sent email unless you manually opt them in by setting “Single opt-in (user).” You might do that if you know that a contact resides outside of the EU and has already permitted you to send them marketing email.

If you prefer to err on the side of caution, you should change this setting to “Double opt-in” only. For GDPR compliance we recommend never making “Single opt-in (webform)” an emailable state.

Obtaining a double opt-in from leads and contacts

You can send the double opt-in email request to leads and contacts with Email Opt-in values of “None,” “Single opt-in (user), and “Single opt-in (webform).”

Note: When a customer submits a webform and doesn’t enable the Email opt-in checkbox, the opt-in field value in the CRM is set to ‘None’.

Contacts created through a webform that have requested to receive your marketing email will automatically receive the double opt-in email. To request it from them again, or to request it from any of the other states, you have two options: an individual request, or a mass request.

But first, you have to configure the double opt-in email delivery settings

Configuring the double opt-in email delivery settings

To send a double opt-in email from Vtiger, you have to first set up your email delivery settings. To do that:

  1. Go to Settings page and select Email Settings page
  2. Click the edit button
  3. Scroll to the Consent and double opt-in email settings section
  4. Change the From email to a company email address
  5. Change the reply-to email to a company email address
  6. Save the page


Sending an individual double opt-in request from the contact record

If you’re working with a lead or contact who have asked to subscribe to your marketing emails, you can send them the double opt-in request directly by the following:

  1. Go to the detail view of the particular contact record
  2. Scroll to the “Email Opt-in” field
  3. Click the “Request confirmation” button


Points to remember!
1. You can send a Request confirmation email only once a day(or 24 hours). If you try to send again, it will throw an error message as shown below.
2. You can find the sent confirmation mail logged in an Update section.

Sending a mass double opt-in request to a marketing list

If you want to obtain consent from multiple leads or contacts who have asked to subscribe to your marketing email, you can do that with the following:

  1. Hover on Menu and select Marketing List
  2. Hover over the marketing list name and click on the envelope icon
  3. In the Opt-in Confirmation Email window, change the From name as desired
  4. Change the From email address to a company email address and follow the verification instructions if needed
  5. Select the intended recipients (None, Single opt-in (user) or Single opt-in (webform))
  6. Edit the email template as desired
  7. Click the “Test” button and check your email inbox to ensure that it appears as desired
  8. Click the “Send” button to send the double opt-in email to your contacts


Points to remember!

  1. To send out an Opt-in Confirmation email to a marketing list, enable the Email Campaigns module.
  2. Get count button gives you the count depending on the Email Settings configured. For example, Consider that you have 10 contact records in a marketing list - “Requesting Email Confirmation” of which 7 are Single Opt-in and other 3 are Double Opt-in and you have configured the Email Settings to Double Opt-ins only. Now when you click on Get Count in the Opt-in confirmation window, it will show 7(not 10), as it depends on the option you have selected. Learn More
  3. When you send an Email Campaign to the 7 contact records(as per above example), the emails will be sent to only those customers who haven’t received any confirmation email in the past 24 hours.

Setting up a webform to request permission for email marketing

Requesting permission to send marketing email through a webform

To request GDPR compliant consent to send the double opt-in email to a lead or contact created from a webform, you must add a checkbox to your webforms to seek permission. To do that:

  1. In the Settings page, click on Webforms under Automation
  2. In Webforms page, Click on Add Webform
  3. Give the form a name
  4. Set the module to Contacts
  5. Add the primary email field to the webform
  6. Change the “Email Opt-in” field name to something descriptive like “Subscribe me to your email newsletter.”


  7. Save the form

  8. Click the preview button
  9. Copy the code and paste it into your website

When submitters of the form enable the “Subscribe me” checkbox, Vtiger sets their “Email Opt-in” field value to “Single opt-in (webform)” and automatically sends them the double opt-in email.

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