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With GDPR Disrupting Email Marketing, LinkedIn Is the Best Alternative You may have a smaller list, but it will be more engaged and responsive.

By Melanie Goodman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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For those that may have tried to avoid the elephant in the room, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data protection law issued by and directed toward the European Union (EU). It came into effect in May 2018 and aims to provide better data rights for its citizens as well as to increase the responsibilities for companies that handle that data.

Related: How Small Businesses Can Survive in the Age of GDPR

At its most basic, the GDPR intends to grant EU residents greater control over their data while at the same time, imposing higher fines (up to 4 percent of turnover or €20 million) for organizations that misuse that data or breach the law, in any way. As companies need to reconfigure their advertising campaigns to make sure that all individuals are entirely clear about which marketing communications they are agreeing to receive, for example, by using cumbersome double opt-ins, email advertising has become unwieldy, less effective and email lists have shrunk. LinkedIn provides the almost perfect alternative for low cost, compliant outreach.

GDPR and LinkedIn

First and foremost, every company in the EU that processes data will have to register with the proper authority and have a higher regard for data security. As a public social media platform, LinkedIn is classified as a data controller, meaning that it has the primary responsibility when it comes to the GDPR compliance. However, if members are looking to take data off the platform or share it with a third party, they will automatically become responsible.

In other words, although the day-to-day use of the social media platform will not be impacted by GDPR, since the short-term adverse effect will most likely be a smaller mailing list, it will be crucial to your lead generation strategy to significantly expand your network on LinkedIn.

Related: The EU's GDPR: 6 Things Online Business Owners and Marketers Can Do to Prepare

Tips to use LinkedIn to counteract the effects of GDPR

1. Grow your network. Send 30-40 personalized invitations daily. Tell your invitee why you want to connect with them. Below is an example:

Dear {firstname}

I read your profile (via our mutual connections on The Finance Club Group) which appears very interesting and it's always great to meet more professionals with similar interests with whom to exchange ideas and opportunities.

Best regards


2. Respond personally to acceptances and add value to your new connection. For example:

Hello {firstname}

Thanks for connecting with me here. I just read this super article showing people how to increase the quality of their network on LinkedIn and thought that you might be similarly interested:


All the best


3. Post in LinkedIn groups. Some of these have around 200,000 members -- larger than any email subscriber list you are likely to hold.

4. Send "broadcast" messages on LinkedIn. Send private messages to all your contacts over a specified period of time. Your clients and potential clients will respond to a message that arrives in their private inbox.

Related: With GDPR Restrictions on Using Consumer Data, Marketers Will Need to Start Mining Moments

5. Follow good marketing principles:

  • Don't scrape email address and spam.
  • Research the right people to contact.
  • Communicate one-on-one on LinkedIn.
  • If the person reached out to doesn't react, move on.

6. Capitalize on LinkedIn's pro-version, Sales Navigator, which provides invaluable connection triggers and lead suggestions.

7. Show a genuine interest in the contact by gathering insight and intelligence to help understand a connection's needs, the difficulties they may be facing and the market influences affecting them in order to demonstrate a legitimate interest in their circumstances.

8. Improve your inbound marketing. Render yourself irresistible and compel connections by sharing know-how nuggets and sexy industry relevant content.

Although life will become more complicated for businesses, with a relatively small capital and labor input into familiarizing employees with the mechanics of the LinkedIn platform, there is an upside: Potentially higher click-through rates, higher engagement, cleaner data and more valuable relationships. Now, even though your mailing list may be numerically smaller, because of their effective compliance, the chances are that your subscribers and LinkedIn connections will be more engaged and responsive. I believe that the healthiest view to take is that GDPR is not here to hinder business development but is just requesting that we add value and show respect to our prospects. Be inspired going forward to nurture meaningful business relationships.

Melanie Goodman

Owner and Founder of Trevisan

Melanie Goodman is owner and founder of Trevisan. Melanie specialises in providing CPD-accredited LinkedIn marketing and LinkedIn training services to the professional services sector in Europe, drawing on her comprehensive knowledge of and experience in finance and law. Her company assists businesses to achieve their goals by providing bespoke LinkedIn growth and visibility strategies.

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