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An introduction to Email Marketing

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Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves sending electronic messages, typically consisting of text, images, and links, to a group of prospects or customers. These messages can be sent through email marketing software or through an email service provider.

Email marketing is used to nurture leads, build relationships with customers, and promote products or services. It can be an effective way to reach a large number of people at a low cost, and it allows businesses to target specific groups of customers or prospects with customised messaging.

To effectively use email marketing, businesses should have a clear understanding of their target audience and what types of messages will be most relevant to them. They should also follow best practices for email marketing, such as obtaining permission from recipients before sending emails where necessary, and ensuring that emails are mobile-friendly and properly formatted.

GDPR & Email Marketing

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations that went into effect in the European Union (EU) in 2018. It sets out rules for how personal data can be collected, used, and shared, and gives individuals the right to control their personal data and to know how it is being used.

GDPR affects email marketing in a number of ways. For example:

  • GDPR requires businesses to obtain explicit consent from individuals before sending them marketing emails. This means that businesses must provide clear, concise information about how they will use the data they collect, and must obtain affirmative consent from individuals before sending them marketing emails.
  • GDPR gives individuals the right to access, rectify, erase, restrict, or object to the processing of their personal data. This means that businesses must have processes in place to allow individuals to exercise these rights, and must respond to requests within a reasonable timeframe.
  • GDPR requires businesses to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect personal data from unauthorised access, use, or disclosure. This includes measures such as encryption, secure servers, and firewalls.

Overall, GDPR requires businesses to be more transparent and accountable when it comes to the use of personal data for marketing purposes, and to ensure that they have obtained the necessary consent from individuals before using their data in this way.

GDPR does not generally apply to the processing of business data, which is defined as data relating to a legal entity, such as a company or organisation. However, business data may still be subject to GDPR if it contains personal data, such as the names and personal contact information of employees or customers.

UK Laws related to B2B Email Marketing

In the United Kingdom, the main laws that cover email marketing to businesses (B2B) are the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) is a UK law that sets out rules for the use of electronic marketing, including email, SMS, and fax. PECR applies to electronic marketing to both consumers and businesses, and it requires businesses to obtain the consent of individuals before sending them marketing emails or texts.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a EU-wide law that applies to the processing of personal data, including by businesses and organisations. GDPR sets out rules for how personal data can be collected, used, and shared, and gives individuals the right to control their personal data and to know how it is being used. GDPR applies to the processing of personal data by businesses, public authorities, and other organisations located in the EU, as well as by organisations located outside the EU if they offer goods or services to individuals in the EU or monitor their behaviour within the EU.

If you are planning to use email marketing to promote your business or to send marketing messages to other businesses, it is important to ensure that you comply with both PECR and GDPR. This may involve obtaining the consent of individuals before sending them marketing emails, and ensuring that you have appropriate technical and organisational measures in place to protect personal data. If you have any questions about your legal obligations when it comes to email marketing, it is a good idea to seek legal advice.

What can be sent without opt-in requirements?

There are no specific “loopholes” in the UK laws that cover email marketing. However, there are certain circumstances in which businesses may be able to send marketing emails without obtaining the prior consent of the recipient.

For example, under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), businesses are allowed to send marketing emails to their existing customers, provided that the emails are related to the products or services that the customers have previously purchased. This is known as the “soft opt-in” rule.

Additionally, under PECR, businesses are allowed to send marketing emails to individuals who have given their contact details to the business in the course of negotiating a sale, or who have made an enquiry about the business’s products or services. This is known as the “legitimate interests” exception.

However, these exceptions are narrow and are subject to certain conditions. For example, the “soft opt-in” rule only applies if the marketing emails are sent by the same business that the customer has previously interacted with, and if the customer was given the opportunity to opt out of receiving marketing emails at the time their contact details were collected. Similarly, the “legitimate interests” exception only applies if the business has balanced the interests of the individual against its own interests in sending the marketing emails, and if the individual would not reasonably expect to receive the emails.

Cold Emails – are they legal in the UK?

Cold emails, which are emails that are sent to individuals or businesses who have not previously expressed an interest in receiving them, are generally legal in the United Kingdom, provided that they comply with the relevant laws and regulations.

In the UK, the main laws that cover email marketing, including cold emails, are the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Under PECR, businesses are generally required to obtain the prior consent of individuals before sending them marketing emails or texts. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the “soft opt-in” rule and the “legitimate interests” exception, mentioned previously. If these exceptions apply, businesses may be able to send cold emails without obtaining prior consent.

Under GDPR, businesses are generally required to have a legal basis for processing personal data, including for the purposes of sending marketing emails. One possible legal basis for sending cold emails is the “legitimate interests” of the business, provided that the business has balanced the interests of the individual against its own interests, and that the individual would not reasonably expect to receive the emails.

Keys to a well-performing cold email

A cold email is an email that is sent to an individual or business that has not previously expressed an interest in receiving it. Cold emails are often used to promote products or services, or to build relationships with potential customers or partners.

Above we discussed the legal side of things, now let’s discuss how to craft a successful message.

If you are planning to send a cold email, there are a few key elements that you should include to ensure that it is effective:

  1. A clear subject line: The subject line of your email should be concise and descriptive, and should clearly communicate the purpose of the email. This will help to ensure that your email is opened and read.
  2. A personalised greeting: Begin your email with a personalised greeting, such as “Dear [Name]” or “Hello [Name]”. This helps to create a more personal and engaging tone. (This can be difficult without knowing employees personal data)
  3. A compelling introduction: The opening of your email should grab the reader’s attention and clearly explain the purpose of the email. This could include a brief overview of your company, a summary of the products or services you offer, or a compelling reason for the reader to continue reading.
  4. A clear call to action: Your email should include a clear and specific call to action, such as requesting a meeting or a phone call, or inviting the reader to learn more about your company or products. Make it easy for the reader to take the next step by including relevant links or contact information.
  5. A professional closing: End your email with a professional closing, such as “Sincerely,” or “Best regards,” followed by your name and contact information.
  6. It’s important to include some kind of opt-out/unsubscribe option. If you’re sending emails manually from a standard email client which doesn’t support an unsubscribe option it’s a good idea to include a short few polite lines of text explaining that if they wish to not receive further emails, they can let you know by replying.

Overall, a well-crafted cold email should be concise, informative, and engaging, and should clearly communicate the value that you can offer to the reader. If you follow these principles, you will be more likely to capture the reader’s attention and generate a positive response.

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