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GDPR direct marketing: how to send promotional emails

How does email marketing change in light of the new European privacy regulation? The main direct marketing activities are soft spam (to contact people who are already customers) and cold email (to promote themselves to potential new customers). Find out all the rules for doing GDPR ready direct marketing (GDPR compliant) and sending promotional emails in accordance with the law.

GDPR direct marketing: how to send promotional emails

GDPR direct marketing: the new legislation

The direct marketing (or direct marketing) is a tool through which companies promote their business. Communication takes place ” directly “, i.e. without intermediaries. In this way the company can reach a defined group of potential customers through various direct communication tools (usually, email or telephone).

Soft spam and cold emails are the most common way to send commercial communications to your customers or to a target of potential interested parties. In both cases, the email marketing activity is subject to the rules on the GDPR for the protection of privacy. For example, to process the data of the interested parties, it is necessary to request the consent of the interested party and to provide one’s own privacy policy. Let’s see in detail how to do GDPR ready direct marketing.

When is it possible to send soft spam emails?

The soft spam activity consists in sending promotional emails to subjects who are already customers of a company (or a company, an association, etc.). The processing of data in this case can take place by requesting the consent of the customer concerned. Alternatively, the email could also be sent without requesting the customer’s consent as long as the following conditions are met:

  • the email concerns products and / or services of the owner (and not third parties)
  • the promotional communication concerns products or services similar to those already purchased
  • automated systems are not used for email marketing
  • the customer must be of age
  • the customer must have the possibility to oppose the treatment in a simple and freeway (” opt-out “)
  • the privacy policy must be provided to the customer to communicate all the details on data processing
  • the processing is justified by a legitimate interest of the owner, that is, it is necessary to pursue the purpose for which the data are collected

The existence of all the conditions and the validity of the legitimate interest of the owner must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In case of doubts, you can request free legal advice with a privacy expert, with our complete service, to verify all the GDPR obligations to be carried out.

When is it possible to send cold emails?

The cold emails are promotional emails sent to potential customers who have never had any relationship with the company that sends. It is a sudden message, a “cold email”, which the recipient receives in the mailbox. This communication, like soft spam, is part of direct marketing. Generally, cold emails for commercial and marketing purposes can only be sent with the prior consent of the interested party.

An exception is the area of ​​communication between companies (B2B, or business to business) in which it is possible to send emails without prior consent. In the context of B2C (or business to consumer) communication, however, it may be possible to send cold emails without requesting consent only in a few cases. These are residual hypotheses, waiting to be confirmed by the Privacy Guarantor and by new European directives in the approval phase.

An example where consent may not be required is an association sending promotional emails to potential associates. However, this is a very specific case. In case of special needs of your company, the advice of a legal consultancy on privacy remains valid to evaluate the possibility of sending cold emails.

Furthermore, our GDPR website adaptation consultancy allows you to adapt your site or app to all the necessary obligations provided for by the new European privacy regulation. Through a specific analysis we will show you the necessary steps to put all aspects of your site in order to comply with the GDPR and avoid penalties.

How to manage privacy obligations?

On you can create all documents relating to privacy in a few minutes. Just answer simple questions to generate documents tailored to your needs:

  • Privacy policy for websites and apps: to inform users of a website or app about the use that will be made of their personal information
  • Cookie policy: to inform visitors of your site about the cookies you will save on their browser
  • Personal data processing register: to collect all information relating to the management of personal data processed

Our comprehensive plans include both contracts and legal documents as well as consultations with experienced privacy lawyers. You can request a first overview of your situation or complete support for GDPR ready direct marketing.