Dynamics 365: How to Create a GDPR Compliant Double Opt-In Process

Email consent is just one aspect of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the new EU privacy regulation, but for marketing teams this is a crucial consideration to make sure their processes are compliant.

When GDPR comes into force in May 2018 it will give individuals greater control over their data by making significant improvements to consent processes.

GDPR requires consent to be freely given and unambiguous. How and when this consent was given must be recorded.

Having a double opt-in process for email subscribers is the best approach for GDPR compliance.

This will involve contacts posting a form, or clicking a box, and then confirming their instruction by clicking a link in a follow-up email.

Let's first look at the recommended resources for a double opt-in process. 

  • Email marketing or marketing automation technology that enables sign-up forms to be embedded into a business website
  • Automation capabilities that will send confirmation emails enabling new subscribers to click a link that will complete the double'opt-in
  • Integration with the organisation's CRM system that stores each opt-in action against the corresponding customer record as evidence of their consent

By requiring contacts to carry out two actions, a double opt-in process presents an extra barrier to sign-ups. By requiring more customer effort, this approach may reduce sign-up volumes but it is good practice to avoid spam subscribers, minimise data cleansing work, increase engagement, and ultimately maximise conversions.

Connecting this with a CRM system will automatically create new contact records and apply opt-in / out instructions. Crucially this will also provide transparency of customer consent that will help marketing teams execute GDPR compliant campaigns. 

In this example, ClickDimensions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is used to demonstrate how a double-opt in process can be configured.

If you don't currently have your email marketing solution integrated with CRM, please get in touch and we'll help you to connect your processes.

The Opt-In / Sign-Up Web Form

After assessing what sign-up message will work best, and making sure this is referenced in your privacy policy, consider what fields will be used in the sign-up form.

Using just an email field will keep things simple and will likely drive greater form submissions but this will present an immediate challenge to personalize messages if no other contact information is known at this stage.

In ClickDimensions and Dynamics 365, define each field that will be used in this sign-up form, or any other, integrated web form:


Next, a new Form record will need to be created.

Using ClickDimensions this can be completed from the Web Content page:

A rule will be set that defines if new visitors who complete the sign-up form will be created as a Lead or Contact record in Dynamics 365. As the above example shows, new visitors will be created as Leads.  

A sign-up form will now be built with mandatory fields for first name, last name and email address:

To embed this form within a page on the organisation's website, the next step will be to grab some code. This can be inserted as an IFRAME, either directly using a website content management system, or by forwarding this to a web administrator to complete:

To ensure the formatting of the sign-up form is brand consistent, the ClickDimensions editor can be used to apply a standardised CSS control:

An automated process is now needed to immediately send an email when this form is posted. A new subscriber must click the confirmation link contained in this message to complete the double opt-in process.

Before that can be done, the email template must first be created!

Double Opt-In Email Confirmation

Using Dynamics 365 and ClickDimensions a new template will be created in Marketing > Email Templates.

This example has been designed using the ClickDimension drag and drop editor...

...and this is saved as an Email Template record in Dynamics 365:

The next step is to create a landing page that subscribers will be directed to when they click the confirmation link in the email notification.

Double Opt-in Completion Page

Using ClickDimensions a landing page record has been created that new subscribers will be directed to when they successfully complete the double opt-in process:


The landing page record (as shown above) and the privacy policy URL have been formatted to include 'May 17' which represents which version of this agreement was accepted:

With each click tracked in Dynamics 365, it will clearly be seen exactly which privacy policy was accepted by a contact when they opted in. This detail will be especially useful if the privacy policy significantly changes in future years as this will enable an organisation to identify which version of the agreement was accepted by a group of subscribers. 

Now these three resources need to be connected.

Working backwards, a link to the confirmation landing page will need to be inserted from the the automated email:

Finally, reverting back to the sign-up web form, an automated action is inserted that will immediately send the double opt-in email as an auto-responder when this form is posted:

Worked Example

To demonstrate, we'll follow an example that shows how these steps connect, and how these actions are captured in Dynamics 365.

Firstly, a new visitor visits the Hobbs Apple Farm website and submits a form to join the company's mailing list:

In line with the rules defined for this process, an auto-responder is sent requesting individuals to confirm their subscription by clicking a link that will complete the double opt-in.

When a new subscriber clicks the main link in this email the confirmation landing page will be opened which includes a link to the organisation's privacy policy:

Reporting the Double Opt-In

Upon submitting the signup form, a new Posted Form record is created. In this example, the subscriber wasn't previously known so in line with the defined rules, a new Lead record has been created:

The Posted Form record details the field values that have been submitted, which ClickDimensions form this originated from, and which Dynamics 365 lead / contact record this is associated with:

Clicking through to the signup form record lists every individual who has posted this form:

From the Lead record, a Dynamics 365 user can see confirmation that the sign-up form was posted:

To demonstrate that person has followed through and clicked the confirmation link to complete the double opt-in, open the Email Events page from a lead or contact:

This action is also recorded as a Page View record in Dynamics 365 that references the landing page record. This will be linked to a contact or lead and in this example it confirms that the individual has signed up with the May 2017 version of the privacy policy:

This page will only be reached when an individual clicks the main link that is shown in the automated email confirmation. 

By opening the web content record 'Double Opt-In Confirmation [May17]' all of the contacts and leads who viewed this page are listed. This ultimately reflects a list of every individual who completed the double opt-in process:

To make double opt-in actions more transparent this Page View could be used as a trigger for an automated Dynamics 365 process.

For example, when this type of Page View is tracked this could be the basis for setting a 'double opt-in' field value on a lead or contact to 'YES'. As a result, users will be able to see at a glance if a person has completed the double opt-in process. 

This data value could also be used as the basis for a rule that will automatically populate a dynamic marketing list for every contact or lead who has opted in.

This demonstrates how Dynamics 365 works with the embedded ClickDimensions email marketing service to implement a fully connected double opt-in process that will improve data quality and be compliant with the GDPR.

What Next?

Preact has teamed up with the e-learning experts, Me Learning to offer you a 5% discount off the regular price of its online GDPR courses. Click here to learn more about Me Learning's courses and enter the exclusive voucher code 'PREACTGDPR' to apply this discount upon ordering.

Please get in touch to find out more about ClickDimensions marketing automation and schedule a demonstration.

We've have shared more resources about the General Data Protection Regulation on our dedicated GDPR page.

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