Will GDPR affect cold emailing?

Will GDPR affect cold emailing?

We have been getting a lot of questions around the impact of GDPR on cold sales email. This is a particularly huge burden on small teams who are simply trying to keep their business alive.

To address this, we created a short summary of what we have learnt on the topic so far from multiple customer and vendor interviews as well as continuous research on this topic. Please check back on this post as we will keep updating it. Also, do let us know if there is anything that you would like to add by contacting us at info@actionable.me.

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers.

What is GDPR? 

Governments from around the world have established regulations to protect their citizens from unsolicited emails and privacy and data breaches. It becomes enforceable from 25 May 2018. It’s main purpose is a better protection of personal data.

What is cold emailing? 

A cold email is an unsolicited e-mail that is sent to a receiver without prior contact or a request for information previously.

Will cold emailing still be legal? Yes in most cases but you need to follow a few rules.

What to focus on? 

Every country has their own regulation so where do you start?

Our view (and this seems to be shared across other vendors) is that Relevance is key. If you mass-email random people with random content, you will get in trouble. This is why sending to right content to the right people will become more and more important moving forward. You need to be able to explain to someone why you are reaching out to them and why you think that your product or service would be relevant.

If you comply with specific local laws and make the effort to write relevant content to potential customers that could reasonably be interested in what you have to say, you’re clear.

In all cases, you need to:

  1. Clearly identify the sender so people understand who is emailing them.
  2. Have a clear and descriptive email topic.
  3. Personalise your email and content
  4. Have an unsubscribe option! If you don’t know how to do this, actionable.me will allow you to add an unsubscribe option to all your emails easily (start here)!
  5. Include a legitimate physical address
  6. Keep up-to-date records and an audit trail of opt-ins and opt-outs. GDPR (39) – “Every reasonable step should be taken to ensure that personal data which are inaccurate are rectified or deleted.” Your records must be kept accurate, if an E-Mail bounces you’ll need to enrich or remove it.

Further reading

Here is the list of main anti-spam laws and regulations:

  • United States: CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act)
  • Canada: CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Law)
  • Australia: Spam Act 2003
  • EU: GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018

Current laws in some of EU countries:

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