How can I do email marketing under GDPR?

European regulation changes the marketing landscape. Suppose i have 40,000 contacts (name, email, telephone) which weekly i mail about my products/updates. Now according to GDPR i need to have user concent approval.

But when GDPR email is sent to 40,000 contacts none of them even read the email to submit there YES or NO.

Which means 99.99% contacts are to be deleted. Which impact very much on small, medium companies (like me) because that is the only way to hope for business and to survive (large enterprise have multi business we small dont)

How to keep alive/survive with GDPR in email marketing?

  • 1
    (I’m not familiar with the GDPR) If you got their permission back when they registered, wouldn’t this still hold (and you might have to update your privacy statement at the most, allowing them to opt-out if they don’t agree)? Or do you really have to get their permission again? (or are these cold emails, so they never registered?)
    – unor
    May 5, 2018 at 4:17
  • @unor: Some emails can be collected with payments (there are email marketing firms who sell contacts, suppose you buy 20K contacts and 20K was registered via site, then 20K purchased contacts can be trashed because it was not permitted by the end user).
    – YumYumYum
    May 7, 2018 at 5:56
  • Law said you need to prove that the end user (email owner) gave you the rights to send email to them (if you have kind of prove per email, you are safe else you can be brought into court and could be charged more then 200K euro or above)
    – YumYumYum
    May 7, 2018 at 5:58
  • People who work in Facebook, Google, Microsoft they track rich, middle class, poor class of group of people and they have some sister, brother channels who as third party/masked face sell contacts for business improvement/starter like us. We pay for those contacts to propose our products on a weekly marketing. I do not think GDPR made for us but more to protect those people leaking info out of Facebook, Google, Microsoft
    – YumYumYum
    May 7, 2018 at 7:20
  • You're buying identifiable information, and using it, GDPR is as much about the risk of accidental leak as deliberate missuse.
    – jrtapsell
    May 28, 2018 at 7:40

2 Answers 2


It sounds like the problem here is people are already not very engaged with your emails. I see two approaches to reach your audience before the deadline:

  1. Send another email, but make it engaging. Instead of just "Action required - opt in to keep receiving emails" as the main message, include a coupon, or a whitepaper, or something that has proven in the past to capture people's attention. Look at your past subject lines in particular and find out what works best to grab your audience's attention. Then look at emails with a higher clickthrough rate and model your email after that. Perhaps you could offer a coupon - set up an intro paragraph recapping what your newsletter/emails are about and reminding them of what value they receive through them. Then a simple "Stay opted in and claim your 30% off coupon" button and after that a bit of legal text about why you are asking them to opt in again. If ecommerce isn't your field, try a whitepaper, or some other thing they wouldn't often get in email to make it valuable to them to click that opt-in button.

  2. When you send this campaign, split it up into batches. Find a way to segment your audience. For example, you can look at their past open rates and clickthrough rates. For those who haven't opened an email in awhile, send a 50% off coupon; those who are moderately engaged, send 30%; for your best customers, send 40% off. Customize the email toward them. Or if you have ecommerce data segment by the types of products they've purchased and offer a different whitepaper based on their past purchase. In any case, this serves two purposes: it gives them a more customized experience, and it splits your mass email up so that your deliverability increases. If you're not already using an ESP, get one right away, add your contacts, and have this be the required double opt-in step that many require.

If your audience is not engaged enough to open your emails and click through to opt in, then they aren't valuable to you in the first place. Saying you "reach" 40,000 customers isn't very valuable if they're not actually going to open the emails and buy things from time to time. You may find that by losing your least engaged subscribers, you will actually improve your overall email marketing efforts because you're finally focusing on people who will take action, rather than let your emails accumulate in an unopened inbox.


If you are already using those emails for marketing I assume you already have their consent to do that.

If yes then your are already GDPR compliant.

If no (so those users do not want to receive those emails) just delete them as your contacts are no good for marketing anyway.

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