I know, I know. Another GDPR related post…

How To Acquire Customers With Marketing & Outbound Sales After GDPR 1

I’ve read my fair share of them too. And a lot of content feels a bit like scaremongering.

Overall, I believe GDPR can be an excellent opportunity for Marketers. The Marketers that are already doing positive work, creating valuable content that solves the objectives and improves the lives of their customers will prosper.

It will mean that Marketers will have to work harder to earn attention in an already crowded marketplace and gain the right to communicate with people on an ongoing basis.

Also, if people aren’t interested in your product or service then having their email address and sending cold emails was never going to work. If I received a sales email about a product that I had no economic or emotional need for, then I would never purchase it.

But with all the hype around GDPR, when speaking to customers, the question I am often asked is:

Will I still be able to send out cold sales emails?

The answer is No. Or Maybe. It depends on where you look.

For many businesses, outbound sales emails are the number one method for driving net new revenue when used with phone calls. But starting from May 25th, 2018, any commercial communication will require previous opt-in.

Apparently, sending a first email to ask for consent is still something you can do according to Nina Cvijovic:

If cold emailing is at the core of your lead generation strategy, you can obtain consent by sending a consent form as your first outreach email. Make sure that email with a request for consent does not directly promote your commercial content and that it is targeted at the person you are sending it to.

How To Acquire Customers With Marketing & Outbound Sales After GDPR 2

There are a lot of grey areas with GDPR, and I’m unsure of whether the email in the above example comes across as too commercial.

Also, you wouldn’t be able to store the contacts details in your CRM when they haven’t given consent yet – which doesn’t help when it comes to scalability.

While we will need to wait for updates from The Information Commissioner’s Office, which will hopefully offer some clarity, there are a number of channels that Marketers should be focusing on.

Here are 5 areas where Marketing and Sales teams can focus on now and after May 2018.

1. Create valuable content:

Obviously, you’re doing this already of course. I would suggest diving deeper into your Ideal Customer Profiles and Buyer Personas to understand how you can create content that helps your prospects and customers:

  • Be more successful
  • Solve their challenges
  • Meet their business objectives
  • Make their lives better

This content should sit on your website and you can use content upgrades or forms for prospects to exchange their information for the valuable content.

You could also try using live chat software such as Drift to help encourage prospects to talk with your company.

2. LinkedIn is your friend

Using LinkedIn’s advanced search allows you to pinpoint your prospects and then connect with them (most of the time). There are a few tools that can help you automate this process, including Dux-Soup.

In fact, some of you reading this may have received a connection request from me. It was automated – I’m sorry.

The critical thing to remember with automation on social media is that you shouldn’t try and automate everything. Especially when trying to build relationships and establish trust with your brand.

That being said, I’m a big believer in automating the repetitive, low-value tasks which should free up your time to spend on the high-value tasks.

From the connection request, you could build rapport through messages and ask for consent to send an email to them.

A lot of this can be achieved for free, however, the Premium LinkedIn account gives you more powerful searching options.

3. Social Media

It will become even more important to engage with your audience on Social Media after May 2018. Currently, using social media to contact prospects isn’t covered in GDPR.

I would recommend using the search functions available to find and contact prospects. You could create a Facebook Group, start a Twitter chat, organise contacts in lists on Twitter, send messages via a Messenger bot.

Your aim should be to provide value and engage at the right time for your audience. Give, Give, Give (value) and then Ask

4. Paid Social Advertising

For me, there is still a grey area when it comes to pixels and lookalike audiences with GDPR. However, you will be able to use non-personal-identifying targeting to advertise to your prospects.

If you are selling a product or service which requires a significant investment – you could use paid advertising to build awareness about the solution (or the job that your prospect can achieve with your help). These links could lead back to your website or landing pages where you can gain consent form the contact there – if they are interested.

If you are selling a product or service which requires a smaller investment – then paid advertising could lead to direct conversions. Just make sure your CPA is economical for you.

I am expecting that my customers’ paid advertising costs are likely to increase in 2018.

5. Build a community

For a few of my customers, Facebook and Twitter are not the most efficient channels to focus on. LinkedIn is more useful in the B2B world. However, it doesn’t facilitate the smooth management of communities.

I’ve seen a lot more and more SaaS companies building Slack communities around their prospects and customers. While you can set up a community in a matter of minutes, it takes a lot more time to develop and manage a community.

When building your community (in Slack or elsewhere), you ultimately control the data and the platform. I think Facebook groups can be a good channel for acquisition, but one day Facebook could decide to change the way Groups are owned and managed – and you won’t have a say at all.

Build on your own plot of land, not on a rented plot of land.

So, community building isn’t easy, but it may be worth the investment for your business.

In conclusion

The above are just five strategies that Marketing and Sales teams can adopt to help with customer acquisition after GDPR comes into force.

The list is in no way exhaustive. There are 100’s of channels and 1000’s of tactics that can be used to grow revenue for your business.

But as ever, start with your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) via segmentation, reach out to them with personalised targeted messaging while building a scalable and repeatable process.

Additional Links

What is GDPR? WIRED explains what you need to know
Mailjet – GDPR and Email Marketing
Deeson GDPR Whitepaper

Disclaimer: This blog post is purely to share general information and is not providing any legal guidance or advice. We recommend that you seek support from established local authorities for any legal guidance you may need.

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