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Do You Need An Opt Out In Cold Emails?

As a data company, we’re understandably obsessed with cold outreach – how to get a higher open rate, how to get people to respond to your messages, etc.

After all, email outreach is not only one of the best ways to directly reach your target market, but it is also sustainable for the long term.

However, this method of lead generation is greatly misunderstood and often likened to spam. One of the main reasons for this are the various laws that govern data privacy such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the US and GDPR in EU.

As such, it can be a bit difficult to understand all these laws and regulations, and apply them to email campaigns.

In this post, we deal with two questions that are commonly asked from the perspective of both CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR.

    1. Is cold emailing legal?
    2. What is the importance of adding an opt out in cold emails?

Let’s dive in.

Is Cold Emailing Legal?

In a nutshell, cold emailing is perfectly legal – as long as you’re compliant with the related laws.

For example, from the perspective of CAN-SPAM, you can reach out to cold prospects from your target market even though you don’t know them. Similarly, you can also email prospects under GDPR without breaking any laws.

But here’s the catch – you absolutely should never send irrelevant or generic messages.

Other rules that you should also abide by include:

      • Never use misleading subject lines
      • Always include your company’s address in your signature
      • Be sure that you’re sending only relevant information – this pertains to ‘legitimate interest’ from GDPR and is an all-round good practice to adopt regardless of your prospect’s location
      • Provide a clear opt-out in your cold email

By following these points, not only will you be able to comply with the legal aspect of cold outreach, but you’ll also be able to create better emails that are bound to get a response.

Now, the question is, if you’re creating relevant and personalized messages, why do you still need an opt out or unsubscribe link?

Here’s the answer.

Importance Of Opt Out In Cold Emails

There’s some debate about opt out or unsubscribe links and whether it actually helps you comply with CAN-SPAM and GDPR.

First off, let’s understand what opt out or unsubscribe actually means, especially in the context of cold emails.

By its very definition, cold emails are actually messages you send to prospects who have not engaged with your brand yet. In other words, these people have not ‘subscribed’ or ‘opted-in’ to receiving any sort of messages from you – and so, giving them the option to unsubscribe from your list doesn’t exactly make sense.

On the other hand, according to the CAN-SPAM Act, B2B emails with a commercial offer have to include some way for the recipients to opt out from receiving further messages. Similarly, if you want to comply with GDPR, then you have to provide a clear way for your prospects to opt out and erase their personal information from your database.

And while this is the crux of why cold emails usually have an unsubscribe link at the bottom, there is a better way to comply with the law – by adding a disclaimer.

The thing about disclaimers is that they don’t have to be long, complicated or even in the legal language. Simple and visible messages can do the trick well – for instance, ‘P.s. Just hit reply to let me know if you don’t want me to contact you again and I’ll remove all your data from my list.

You can simply make this message a bit longer and include why you’re sending them an email. In fact, you can even provide an external link in your disclaimer with an opt-out form that informs recipients how you’re planning to remove their personal data and will never contact them again.

Besides this, you can also include the option to opt out in the body of your email with the help of a simple sentence like: ‘Let me know if this is of interest to you or if I should stop sending you emails ASAP.’

In short, the word ‘unsubscribe’ does not have to be present in your email for a valid opt out. In fact, we insist that using this word simply goes against what a cold email actually means.

Bottom Line

Overall, giving your recipients the option to opt out from your emails is crucial in order for you to comply with laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR.

Nevertheless, the common practice of simply adding in an unsubscribe link at the bottom is not the best way to do so – in fact, it is inherently misleading as a cold email prospect has never really opted in to receive these messages from you.

And so, the best option is to include a light disclaimer that gets right to the point and is clear. There is no need to write a paragraph of legal fine print or use complex jargon to differentiate your emails from opt in newsletters or spam.

Cloudlead specializes in sales prospecting and B2B lead generation. We mine top of the funnel leads based on your ideal customer profile with sales triggers that help you close more deals than ever. Want to learn more? Book a demo with us today.

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