Cold Emailing

GDPR and cold emailing: 7 tips to make your cold outreach GDPR compliant

Mihaela Cicvaric
LAST UPDATED
July 12, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

If you everhesitate before sending that cold email because you weren’t sure it’s even legal to do cold outreach - you’re not alone.

There's a huge misconception that cold emailing isn’t aligned with GDPR regulations.

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation, a European Union directive designed to protect the personal data of EU citizens.

And yes, it does cover email outreach.

But nowhere does it state that cold emailing is illegal. It’s all about how you do it.

In this article, we'll clear up the myth around GDPR and cold emailing and give you actionable tips on sending cold emails that are 100% legal.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation.

It's a regulation by the European Union (EU) that regulates how personal data of EU citizens is collected, used, and protected by organizations operating within the EU or targeting individuals in the EU.

The regulation outlines requirements for organizations on how they handle personal data.

This is what you need to know about GDPR:

  • It focuses on individual privacy: The core principle of GDPR is to empower EU citizens with control over their personal data. It grants them rights to access, rectify, erase, and restrict the processing of their data.
  • It's wide in scope: GDPR applies to any organization processing the personal data of EU citizens, regardless of the organization's location. So, even businesses outside the EU must comply if they offer goods or services to EU residents or monitor their behavior online (e.g., through website cookies).
  • It doesn't ban cold emails. Contrary to popular myth, GDPR only dictates how businesses collect and process personal data for outreach purposes. Use our 7 proven tips below to ensure your cold outreach campaign is GDPR compliant.

7 tips to making your cold outreach GDPR compliant

Tip #1: Have a clear purpose & legitimate interest

Before hitting that send button, ask yourself why you’re sending this email.

Under GDPR you need a clear purpose for processing personal data - this could be a legitimate business interest.

But remember, just wanting to sell something doesn't make it a “legitimate interest”.

Instead, ensure your outreach aligns with the recipient's profession or role and can benefit your recipient.

For example, if reaching out to a tech manager, discuss something to help him streamline his dev team processes and make his life easier.

Tip #2: Be transparent about who you are

Always make sure the recipient knows who you are.

This means no hidden sender details. Be clear about your identity and the company you represent.

For example, you don’t have to waste your email’s content on talking about yourself - but have a clear signature, include links to your socials, and have a self-explanatory email address.

Tip #3: Provide an Opt-out option

Always offer an easy way for the recipient to opt out or unsubscribe from your emails.

If they opt out, ensure you never email them again.

For example, include a line at the bottom of your email, such as: "Not interested? Click here to stop receiving emails like this one”

Tip #4: Store your prospects’ data safely

If you’re storing email addresses or any other data, you must ensure it’s secure.

Invest in security measures to prevent data breaches.

For example, encrypt your email list or use secure CRM platforms like Salesforce, which offer data protection measures.

Tip #5: Regularly update your database

Keep your email list clean and up-to-date. Regularly check for bounces, out-of-office replies, or any other indicator that your emails are unwanted.

For example, dedicate one day a month to filter out bounced emails and ensure opted out prospects aren’t receiving your emails.

Tip #6: Keep proof of how you got someone’s data

If someone has shared publicly their email address (at a conference, online, or in person), always keep a record of this. It’s your proof of consent, and under GDPR, it proves you have permission.

For example, if someone shared their business card at a conference with you, you can later transfer this detail to your digital records.

Tip #7: Use double Opt-in

This isn’t mandatory under GDPR, but it’s a good practice.

A double opt-in ensures that the person really wants to hear from you, reducing the chances of any compliance issues later on.

For example, after someone shows initial interest, send a follow-up email: "Thanks for connecting! Confirm your interest by clicking here."

Key takeaways

You can send cold emails and stay compliant - it's all about the approach.

GDPR doesn't say "Don't send cold emails". It says, "If you send cold emails, respect personal data, and have clear reasons for outreach".

Steps like clear communication, keeping minimal data, and offering easy opt-out options are simple yet effective ways to remain compliant.

P.S. lemlist users can certify that their prospects' data will be collected under GDPR, straight from their outreach app. If you want to grow your business with cold emails while avoiding legal troubles, start your 2-week free trial here!

Get weekly outreach tips
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Thanks! You've successfully subscribed to lemlist newsletter
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
G2 Rating
Price
Best for
Standout feature
Con
4.9
star
star
star
star
star
$30/mo
$75/mo
$2,999/mo
Large, distributed sales teams
AI evaluation precision, gamified KPIs
Lack of tracking system
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Sales operations and finance teams
Powerful configurability
Limited training resources and complex to navigate
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Mid-market and enterprise businesses
Comprehensive incentive management
Potentially high cost and steep learning curve
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
$15/user/mo
$40/user/mo
Enterprise: custom price
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Complex sales structures and businesses of all sizes
Steep learning curve
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Collaborative teams
Connected planning
Complexity and steep learning curve
4.6
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with complex sales structures
Complex incentive compensation management (ICM) with high efficiency and accuracy
Complexity for smaller teams and potentially high costs
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies who want to automate commission calculations and payouts
Simplicity and ease of use
Lack of features like redirection
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
$30/user/mo
$35/user/mo
Custom: upon request
Businesses that need a comprehensive and user-friendly sales compensation management software
Ease of use and adoption
Lack of ability to configure the product based on user needs
4.8
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with modern sales culture and businesses who want real-time insights
A built-in dispute management and real-time visibility
Users say it works slowly, customer support is slow
4.9
star
star
star
star
star
$30/user/mo
$50/user/mo
Smaller sales teams
Powerful automation
Lesser user base and average user interface
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Not publicly available
Companies with scalable needs
Automated Commission Calculations
Lack of filtering by date, no mobile app
ERP vs. CRM
ERP
CRM
Summary
Backbone of a business's internal operations.
Backbone of customer-centric interactions and operations.
Goal
To centralize and streamline core business processes in a company.
To increase customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty, and boost sales.
Focus
Internal operations and processes across departments (finance, accounting, inventory, supply chain, HR, and sales).
All interactions with leads and customers.
Manages
Internal business data like financial data, inventory levels, production details, supply chain, HR info.
All customer data like contact info, purchase history, communication history, customer preferences and more.
Users
Finance, accounting, operations, supply chain, and HR departments.
Customer-facing teams like sales, marketing, and customer service.
Benefits
Streamlines operations, improves data accuracy, enhances decision-making, boosts collaboration, increases productivity.
Improves customer relationships, increases sales, strengthens customer service, personalizes marketing campaigns, provides insights.
Price
$150 per user per year on average.
$10 to $30 per user per month on average.
PRM Tool
Rating
Feature
Pro
Con
Mobile App
Integrations
Free Plan
Pricing
4.65
star
star
star
star
star-half
Org-wide alignment
User-friendly layout and database
Suboptimal as a personal CRM
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-check
Team: $20/month
Business: $45/month
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Social Media Integration
Easy contact data collection
No marketing/sales features
square-check
Lack of tracking system
square-xmark
7-day trial
$12/month
4.75
star
star
star
star
star-half
Block Functions
High customization capability
Not a dedicated CRM
square-check
Limited
square-check
Plus: €7.50/month
Business: €14/month
N/A
Open-source
Open-source flexibility
Requires extensive manual input
square-xmark
Limited
square-check
Self-hosted
$9/month or
$90/year
3.1
star
star
star
Simple iOS app
Ideal for non-tech-savvy users
iPhone only
square-check
iOS only
Limited
square-xmark
1-month trial
$1.49/month or
$14.99/month
3.6
star
star
star
star-half
Smart Contact Management
Feature-rich and flexible
Reported bugs
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
7-day trial
Premium: $13.99/month
Teams: $17.99/month
4.4
star
star
star
star
star-half
Customizable Interface
Customizable for teamwork
Pricey for personal use
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
Standard: $24/member
Premium: $39/member
4.7
star
star
star
star
star-half
Integrated Calling
Integrated Calling
Too sales-oriented & pricey
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
Startup: $59/user/month
Professional: $329/user/month
4.8
star
star
star
star
star
Business Card Scanning
Business Card Scanning
Mobile only
square-check
Limited
square-check
$9.99/month
4.45
star
star
star
star
star-half
160+ app integrations
Comprehensive integrations
No free app version
square-check
Rich
square-xmark
14-day trial
$29.90/month or
$24.90/month (billed annually)
Capterra Rating
Free Trial
Free Plan
Starting Price (excluding the free plan)
Maximum Price (for the most expensive plan)
Best for
4.5
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-check
14-day
square-check
€15/month/seat billed annually
€792/month/3 seats billed annually + €45/month for each extra seat
Versatility and free plan
4.2
star
star
star
star
square-check
30-day
square-xmark
But it offers reduced price to authorised nonprofit organisations
€25/user/month
€500/user/month billed annually (includes Einstein AI)
Best overall operational CRM
4.3
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-xmark
square-check
Limited to 3 users
Comprehensive incentive management
€52/user/month billed annually
Small-medium businesses and automation
4.5
star
star
star
star
star-half
square-check
14-day
square-xmark
€14/seat/month billed annually
€99/seat/month billed annually
Sales teams and ease of use
4.1
star
star
star
star
square-xmark
square-check
Limited 10 users
$9.99/user/month billed annually
$64.99/user/month billed annually
Free plan for very small teams up to 10
CRM goal
Increase the sales conversion rate for qualified leads from marketing automation campaigns by 10% in the next 6 months.
SMART Breakdown
1. Specific: It targets a specific area (conversion rate) for a defined segment (qualified leads from marketing automation).
2. Measurable: The desired increase (10%) is a clear metric, and the timeframe (6 months) allows for progress tracking.
3. Achievable: A 10% increase is possible based on historical data and potential improvements.
4. Relevant: Boosting sales from marketing efforts aligns with overall business objectives.
5. Time-bound: The 6-month timeframe creates urgency and a clear target date.
Actions
Step 1: Refine lead qualification criteria to ensure high-quality leads are nurtured through marketing automation.
Step 2: Personalize marketing automation campaigns based on lead demographics, interests, and behavior.
Step 3: Develop targeted landing pages with clear calls to action for qualified leads.
Step 4: Implement lead scoring to prioritize high-potential leads for sales follow-up.
Step 5: Track and analyze campaign performance to identify areas for optimization.
Outcomes
Increased sales and revenue
Improved marketing automation ROI
Marketing and sales alignment
Data-driven marketing optimization

What you should look at next

Receive weekly outreach tips in your inbox, sent to 210 000+ salespeople, marketers, founders, and entrepreneurs worldwide!

Subscribe to the lemlist newsletter
You've successfully subscribed to the lemlist newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.