This was a question posted on Quora we answered (myself and Karan from Hubsell) today. Enjoy!

Let’s define the premise of the question:

  1. Firstly, there is only one GDPR (it is new entirely).
  2. Secondly, B2C ‘email prospecting’ under GDPR is strictly prohibited, so we’re only going to discuss the rules around B2B prospecting under GDPR.

Here is the video if you prefer:

Now, how do you prospect for B2B leads in the EU post-GDPR without breaking the new law and being fined?

  1. Gathering data:

    1. Ensure you are being both purposeful and accurate
      1. Purposeful = In the legitimate interest of your company.
      2. Accurate = If you know what you need to get, only get that.
    2. Ad hoc vs pulling from a pre-built database
      1. Ad hoc = Creating a list of criteria (as specific as possible) so you know everyone in the audience is going to relate to the message. Further, this allows you to be very customized in your copy.
      2. Pre-built = This violates our first point of making sure your data is gathered with purpose. Buying a list is inherently not specific to your purpose.
      3. Read this article for a review of the top 5 email platforms who provide data and the ability to act on that data.
  2. Now, how you act on that data (outreach) is the most crucial:

    1. Follow opt-out vs opt-in regulation (at the local level, differs per EU state)
      1. Opt-out is where you are allowed email but have to stop if the prospect asks you to. UK is an example of an opt-out EU state.
      2. Opt-in is where you have to have permission to mail them before you mail them the first time. Here, you have to start via a channel other than email = Linkedin message/Inmail/follow, Quora follow/comment. Germany is an opt-in state (note: German opt-in is based on Unfair Competition and not on Data protection).

Finally, I’d like to conclude on how to see GDPR as an opportunity.

  1. Most bad practices will die-out and the ones who are doing it right will continue.

    1. Those who were buying and sending to large datasets every month (breaking GDPR) will no longer be in your potential customers’ inbox each day. This gives your product/service more attention (assuming you are going to be compliant).
  2. Be relevant, add value and initiate dialogue (do not send non-customized messaging).

    1. Human-like (one : one) message – your message needs to go beyond simply calling them by their name and mentioning their company. Whether you use dynamic text in your email, or write them manually, the more customization, the better.
    2. Value – aside from customizing your message to the person, make sure you are honest with yourself in the respect of that person really being a good fit for your product/service (which, again, is why ad hoc database building is crucial).
  3. How to learn more about this?

    1. Join my newsletter (for anyone interested in growth marketing strategies…)
    2. Listen to my podcast on anchor or itunes.