GDPR. No doubt you are sick of hearing about it. We know we are. Prior to May 2018 when it was officially enacted, we read a thousand articles about it. And a thousand more since (one thing Pearl Lemon does better than almost anyone else; research.) And no doubt you have too. And you probably have the basic rules (almost) clear in your head.
You probably know that it is still OK to do cold email outreach on a B2B basis. You probably know that because the UK decided that B2B communications via email do not require an opt-in (that was one element of GDPR that the EU left up to its member states) And you may even wonder why you are getting all nervous about this stuff as we – as in the UK – are supposed to be leaving the EU soon anyway. But, as that is a political hot potato politicians can’t even figure out yet, we’re not going to and suggest for now you do keep GDPR in mind.
And that’s where so many of the articles we read fell down. They explained the rules. But very few gave a clear, simple outline of how you should implement them yourself in a cold email campaign. So here is that very thing:
Target Your Ideal Client Accurately
Think about the geographic location you want to cover, and the specific types of businesses that represent your best clients. If you do that, then most likely it is OK to make contact using a cold email introduction. Under GDPR you must have a good enough reason to be contacting the businesses with your email, be it a legitimate interest, necessary for initiating a contract, or required under a legal obligation but the good thing here is that is a pretty broad definition.
Respect People’s Wishes
If someone asks you not to contact them again honour the request. Make a note on their file not to contact them again, and ensure any other staff working with you understand what this means. The best way to do this is to use the email and domain blacklists or equivalent functions of whatever software and systems you are using. Many of them have added some very helpful GDPR protections so make sure you take the time to review them (and then actually use them)
Don’t Harass People
If you regularly clear the list of sent emails so that everyone is contacted again, consider doing that less frequently. Depending on your particular industry and target market, it might be reasonable to not email cold prospects more often than once a quarter for example. Don’t bombard people who haven’t subscribed with emails every few hours! (and actually, that’s always been a terrible idea, GDPR or not so hopefully you’ve never done it anyway)
Make sure that your email subject line is not a trick to open the email, as this can result in annoyance (to say the least). You know what it’s like when you see a video on YouTube or on Facebook with a headline that forces you to click it – and the content normally doesn’t live up to the promise. Instead, have a clear email subject line that conveys the key benefit that the reader is likely to receive if they take action. Again however, this is not something you should have needed GDPR to tell you, it’s basic common sense.