What are the best cold emails

How to Send B2B Cold Emails in a GDPR World

Follow these 5 principles to send B2B cold emails and comply with the General Data Protection Regulation

History is full of events that mark a crucial turning point for people. For some it was the fall of the Berlin Wall. For others, it was the day that brought independence. For many marketers, that date was May 25, 2018.

The GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018. She announced an end to spam practices in digital marketing and promised a firm stance to protect personal rights. Anyone who violates the GDPR must expect high fines of up to 20 euros per violation. Many digital marketers saw this as the killing blow for email marketing and cold communications, and many still avoid cold emails for fear of violating the GDPR.

However, we can report that the death certificate for cold e-mails was issued too early, and cold e-mails are in reality very much alive - at least in the B2B sector. To be more specific, email marketers simply need to follow five principles in order to send cold B2B emails.

This post will walk you through these five principles you need to adhere to in order to send cold emails in this GDPR world.

5 principles for sending cold B2B emails

The GDPR was never about protecting businesses or banning cold emails in general. Above all, it is about protecting personal data and the privacy of individuals. In other words, business and business emails are largely harmless.

These five principles are all digital marketers need to stay GDPR compliant and send cold emails to prospects. However, we would like to point out that we are not lawyers and that the advice given here should never be taken as legal counsel - only as a general guide to help panicked marketers regain control of their campaigns.

Without further disclaimers, here is a look at the 5 principles:

  1. Always choose the right prospects and dates
  2. Always explain your reason for contact
  3. Always offer an easy and quick unsubscribe
  4. Maintain your database
  5. Provide answers to complaints and questions

Sounds easy right? Well, each of these principles has a little more substance than it appears. Let's examine in more detail what we mean by each one below.

1 - Always choose the right prospects and dates

If you are like any other digital marketer, you will believe that the right prospect is anyone who would buy your product or service. In most cases this is correct, but overly simplified.

Marketers who want to adhere to the GDPR and continue to send unencrypted emails need to keep two aspects in mind when choosing their contacts and the type and amount of data they will collect:


The amount and type of data must be absolutely necessary for your purposes. In other words, you can't collect information that you don't use. For example, if you don't plan on calling your leads, you can't ask for their cell phone number.


Relevance refers to only contacting prospects who would buy your product or service. If your choices are accurate, you shouldn't have to worry about this aspect. As a general rule of thumb, if your prospects are surprised to hear from you, then you are most likely violating the GDPR.

In short, you need to be very specific in choosing the right prospects and dates. Any data you collect must be used to personalize your marketing so that it is interesting and useful from a customer perspective - not yours.

2 -Always explain your reason for contact

The GDPR allows data processing under six conditions:

  • Consent - the prospect has given you permission.
  • Contract - You have a contract that obliges you to process your prospect's data.
  • Legal obligation - the law instructs you to process your prospect's data.
  • Protection of important interests - there is a mutual interest that requires data processing.
  • Public Interest - There is a public interest that requires processing.
  • Real interest - there is a clear benefit to both parties in processing data.

Regardless of what the reason for contacting and processing, you must address it in your communications. Most of the above reasons are pretty self-explanatory and you would know which one you fall into, but "Actual Interest" is often the subject of confusion - and most useful for cold emailing.

"Actual interest" can be disputed by your prospects, which means that it can often be interpreted differently. Because of this, you need solid reasons to demonstrate a legitimate interest. Some of these reasons include:

  • Your offer would support your prospects.
  • Your prospect recently invested in growth, and your offering supports that growth.
  • Your existing customers are in a similar industry to your prospect.
  • You have been referred to your prospect by your network.
  • Your prospect expands into an area relevant to your offer.
  • Your prospect has asked for information that is relevant to your offer.

In order to explain a mutual legitimate interest to your prospect in your cold email, you need to give them some key information:

  • An explanation of how and which data is processed
  • A brief explanation of the reason for this
  • Clear instructions to change or delete the processed data

An example of how this information works together in your email:

"Hi Max, I noticed from the LinkedIn press release you shared a few days ago that your company recently expanded into Switzerland (statement).

My company conducts extensive demographic research in the region and is familiar with business practices that are often misunderstood by foreign companies. I believe our services would be useful for your company (explanation).

Don't hesitate to send me a message for more information. If you would like me to change the information I have used to contact you or to remove your information from my list, simply reply "No thanks" and I will remove you from our database (removal instructions). "

In addition, it is important to make sure that an opt-out or unsubscribe mechanism is clearly visible at the bottom of your email.

3-Offer easy and quick unsubscribe

In the GDPR, the right of an interested party to deletion is clearly defined - i.e. it is an inalienable right to request that you delete the data and never to contact him again. We must therefore always offer our interested parties a simple and quick way to opt out and inform them about it.

The easiest thing to do is to include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email. Another option is to simply explain how prospects can unsubscribe directly with an email, such as "If you don't want to hear from us again, just reply 'No thanks' and we will never contact you again."

Whichever way you go about it, your unsubscribe strategy should always be this:

  • Sure - don't be vague.
  • Easy - it should take no more than two steps to log out.
  • Consistent - you have to take inquiries seriously and delete the data immediately.

4-Maintain your database

In addition to removing prospects who have opted out, the GDPR states that marketers are not allowed to keep information for months on end for inactive contacts. You must therefore regularly check your CRM database and contact lists and, if necessary, send e-mails to contact you again.

It is also important to secure your database and take all necessary steps to keep your processes and systems secure. Physical access controls, system access controls, data access controls, transmission controls, input controls, data backups and data separation are ways to prove that you are not negligent with customer data.

5-Have an answer to complaints and questions

Many are very sensitive when it comes to their data - and for good reason. You may encounter some unkind responses and hostile reactions when emailing prospects - that's part of the game.

Below are some of the questions or comments you will come across. We have included a general answer for each question to inspire you to write your own answers.

What gives you the right to email me?

If you have followed our principles, you should have the right to contact the person concerned. However, you need to keep in mind that you are still dealing with someone and that your communications may include their name, which makes them personal. A good answer to this is to highlight the point of view of actual interest:

"We have collected and processed your contact information based on real interest. Given that our offering has historically been beneficial to companies like yours, I thought our offering might benefit you too. "

Where did you get my information from?

This is another common answer that can be easily answered by taking note of publicly available information such as websites, online directories, LinkedIn, or articles. It is best to answer the question truthfully:

"I found your email address on your company's website linked to your LinkedIn profile. Your company is our typical customer profile, so I wanted to contact you."

What information do you have about me?

The GDPR gives the right to comprehensive control over one's own personal data. This means that all information about the stored data and how it was used must be provided. One possible answer would be:

"We have your name, email address, company name and job title on file and nothing else. You have the right to request that we delete this data from our database if you wish. Your data will not be stored in another database or resold and we guarantee that we will delete them at your request. "

Let's send!

Sending cold emails doesn't have to leave you out in the cold in a GDPR environment. In fact, cold emails are probably more effective today than ever, as legitimate scammers, spammers, and phishers can be fined heavily. If you follow the above 5 principles, you can still coldly acquire prospects via email and generate income for your business.

If starting new business and generating more revenue for your business is one of your goals, then you should consider Demodia.

Demodia has more than a decade of experience in digital marketing in Switzerland and abroad and has developed excellent cross-industry marketing campaigns. As a marketing consultant, Demodia has generated success through hard-earned knowledge and experience in digital marketing.

Contact Demodia today and begin your journey to more leads, more sales, and more success.