B2B Cold Email Lead Generation – Forbidden or Not?

When it comes to B2B cold email lead generation, many companies are unsure what is legal and what is not. The main question that they ask themselves is whether or not cold emailing is against the law.

After a bit of research about cold emailing, you’ll probably find some information that can make you doubt it’s legal. Today we are going to dispel this myth and your doubts.Cold emailing is permitted as long as you stick to the rules and regulations of your country.

For example, have you heard about the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States? This act sets the standard for sending cold emails for commercial purposes in the USA.

In this article, you’ll get a better understanding of the laws and regulations in the U.S. and other countries around the world. You will also gain valuable tips, which will help you get better results in your future email marketing campaigns.

 So let’s start with some theory.

What is Cold Emailing?

Cold email is the first email you send to a potential client without prior contact. The aim usually is to establish and maintain business relationships between the two of you.

You can look at how business relationships are built in the offline world to understand it better. Everything starts with a simple conversation, and below, you can see an example of one scenario: 

A salesperson attends an industry trade show to meet new customers and looks for ways to have conversations during the event. The goal is not to sell a product but rather to make contact and have a chat. Doing so can help them learn more about the prospect’s company and build a relationship with them.

You can apply the same principles to outbound sales. Still, your goal is to use a cold email to initiate a conversation online. You’ll probably send a message to someone who doesn’t know much about your company. You can call those people “cold leads.” That’s because it is the first time they have heard about your company. 

By the way, what do you do with a cold lead? The same you do with a cold dish. You warm it up. Gradually. Let’s move on with the next point.

What Laws Govern Email Marketing?

You can find many laws that govern email marketing for commercial purposes. After all, if you follow the law, a cold email to a potential client is legal. Yet, you will now find out how to avoid unnecessary problems.

We can start with the CAN-SPAM Act in the US and the CASL laws for Canada. Then we can find the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2002 in the UK. Those laws are not your best friend as a marketer. Yet, they are essential to protect people and businesses from receiving unsolicited messages. 

You need to follow a set of rules to avoid any penalties. Does this seem a little intimidating for you? Even so, don’t worry. If your business uses an email marketing tool to send legitimate emails, you likely already follow the rules. How can you be sure that you’re not violating them?

For example, a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act would be to send a fraudulent email to someone with misleading or false identity information. You don’t do that, right?

Those laws target spammers who try to obtain people’s email addresses without permission and then spam phishing emails. 

Still, the laws have peculiar parts that legitimate marketers can inadvertently violate. Even if that ever happens, you may want to learn how to comply in such a situation.

However, your goal is to get the best out of your email marketing campaign. That means personalizing emails and figuring out the subject lines that work best. That is a great way to increase your open rates, CTR (click-through rates), target leads better, and ultimately close more deals. 

There is just one problem. People tend to overlook email regulations and laws, but they can significantly impact your business’ reputation. And that can cost you a lot.

*Note: The rules we will share will help you comply with anti-spam regulations on and international level

Tip #1. Determine who you are emailing

Email marketing allows you to reach anyone around the globe and promote your products or services in the international marketplace. The problem is, something legal in one country may be illegal in another. 

You need to adhere to different international email laws if your emails aren’t country-specific. That’s very important because you need to know the demographics of your leads or subscribers.

You should remember that the laws of their countries will govern any emails you send. These are international laws that you need to know if you operate in one of those places:

  • United States – CANSPAM Act
  • Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL)
  • EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (from May 25, 2018)
  • Spam Act 2003 in Australia

Segmenting your subscribers and leads can be time-consuming and difficult. It is best to follow all anti-spam laws when doing international email outreach.

Tip #2. Provide an opt-in option or ask if they’re interested

The US CANSPAM Act doesn’t require you to opt-in your leads or subscribers, but all other anti-spam laws do. These laws require you to ask permission to email somebody. They are also very strict regarding recipients’ rights. 

Have you heard about the case of Compu-Finder, a Canadian company that got fined 1.1 million Canadian dollars for sending spam emails to customers without their consent? 

Yes, here’s the deal. The company never sent an email to check the interest. That’s what you should do first, that’s the trick. Why? Because it will protect you from violating any rules that you may have when you send emails. It’s also polite to do so.

Asking your customers for their consent or if they are interested will show that you value their freedom of choice. There are two options. You can either ask for permission via your website’s opt-in box or when you send  your first cold email.

Tip #3. Ensure you store people’s consent.

So what exactly consent means? That is an agreement that is freely given by the person to send them emails. You can’t get consent if your client is silent or inactive. 

Yet, it is your responsibility to ask for your prospects consent and keep valid evidence of it. That’s why you need to prove your point and create a system that will keep all information up-to-date.

Tip #4 Make sure to provide an opt-out.

That is a disputable claim because it is a principle advocated by all email laws on a global scale. Your subscribers or leads should have the option to unsubscribe from your emails. It is essential to make surepeople can easily opt-out of your emails. Also, respect your subscribers’ wishes promptly.

Although the US CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t require you to opt-in your leads for marketing purposes, the opt-out serves a similar purpose but is a little less stringent than other laws. 

Many email automation tools, such as Reply, have an opt-out feature. If you don’t use these tools, you can manually add an unsubscribe link at the end of your emails, using a built-in functionality of your email provider or a Google form. 

Tip #5 Don’t use fraudulent email lists

Legally, you can purchase email lists, but there’s a catch. To purchase an email list, you must obtain explicit consent from the people on it for any further use.

Some of the recipients may have consented to your purchase of their email list. Those people must again give their permission. It can be challenging for you to buy an email list in the US under the CAN-SPAM Act. 

Even if consent is not required, it’s possible to reach out to people who have already opted out. The unsaid truth behind the email list is that it can cause you problems and do the opposite of saving your precious time.

Another way to legally collect leads and subscribers is via your website or by reaching out to them via email. You can control your email marketing and create a more precisely targeted strategy.

Tip #6 Inform people about your identity

A great piece of advice is that you don’t hide your identity. Why? Because you seem very fishy, and people will mark you instantly as spam. 

You must let your recipients know who is emailing them. You can do that simply by adding your first name, your last name, and your company name to the signature. You can also link to the website of your company.

If your business is legitimate, this is the simplest way to create credibility in a cold email.

And don’t forget to let them know your location. You can include your physical (real) mailing address at the bottom of your email. Remember that you can always use the smaller font size if your physical address is long.

Tip #.7 Be truthful with your offer

No matter what you do, just don’t mislead the recipients. It doesn’t matter what you are asking or offering. Just make it simple and clear. 

Also, make sure your subject lines reflect the message you are sending. It would be best if you follow this advice. Even though the subject of your message might be intriguing and make people open your emails more often, they won’t be interested in the actual content of your proposal.

Final words

Cold email lead generation is only one form of lead generation. You can also use traditional marketing methods to attract new customers to your website or business. 

You might want to make sure that your website is optimized so that individuals searching on the internet can find your business easily. The more search engine optimized your website is, the higher the chances that your company will get ranked higher on the pages of search engines.

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