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Have you bought a database? Any recommendations?

GDPR and databases

As part of my (often poor) attempts at marketing, I've built up a database of approximately 2,700 businesses which I email a few times a year with useful info such as tax deadlines, what you need to know, changes to legislation, etc.

Over the years I've gained some clients through these emails so it has definitely been worthwhile. However, with GDPR looming I'm concerned that my database isn't legal because these companies haven't opted in/subscribed to my emails. Am I the only one with this problem?

My question is has anyone ever bought a database from a company and if so who would you recommend?

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15th Jan 2018 14:34

Yes and No.

Yes - I think you have a problem.

No - I don't think you're the only one with the problem.

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to lionofludesch
16th Jan 2018 10:53

I thought so!!

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15th Jan 2018 15:04

Why don't you email your existing database before the deadline in May asking them to opt in to continue receiving your emails?

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to Cloudcounter
16th Jan 2018 11:01

Yes, I did that and the response has been abysmal, only 11 opt ins so far. That’s why going forward I may need to invest in a database. I'm hesitant though because I bought a database a couple of years ago and it wasn’t great.

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to Counting numbers
16th Jan 2018 11:12

Will a purchased database be legal under GDPR?

Consent has to be specific and the data subject needs to be fully aware of what they're consenting to. Who on earth gives consent to their details being sold to any old punter?

(Apologies if I've misunderstood how purchased databases work)

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to the_drookit_dug
17th Jan 2018 10:58

A company I’m getting quotes from assures me that their database would be GDPR compliant where the recipients opt-in to emails. However, I’d like written confirmation of this before I purchase anything to make sure I’m covered. If they can do that I think I'll give it a go. I do agree though, I wouldn’t give my details out.

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to Counting numbers
16th Jan 2018 11:21

Counting numbers wrote:

Yes, I did that and the response has been abysmal, only 11 opt ins so far.

Maybe that's an indication of demand your emails.

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to lionofludesch
23rd Jan 2018 11:35

Haha! I think you may be correct. I do get a good open rate (average 30%) which is pretty good. Ironically though, I don’t opt-in to a lot of newsletters/emails and I’m sure a lot of people are the same.

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By Selaen
to Cloudcounter
17th Jan 2018 11:10

I'd be careful with that as Honda and Flybe have been fined for just that; they emailed their list asking for people to update your details re: whether you still wish to be subscribed but when investigated by ICO, were unable to prove that consent was given to such communications.

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2017/03/...

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15th Jan 2018 17:02

To answer your question - don't waste your money. Much better and easier to use Linkedin to find target people in your area.

Going back to your earlier points, I suggest you send a short series of emails that, alternately, provide some valuable advice and invite recipients to opt in to receive further such emails from you in the future. If they optin before 18 May you can continue to email them regardless of when and how you originally obtained their details.

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to bookmarklee
17th Jan 2018 11:08

Thanks, Mark. I do bits and pieces on LinkedIn at the moment but with GDPR looming I may invest more time in it so I can use it as my main marketing channel. I’ll also persevere with my attempts to get recipients to opt-in because I tend to get good open rates which hopefully means I'm doing something right. Let's see!

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15th Jan 2018 17:13

I get new company formation information from Recently Formed and if you want generic data I have used Selectabase in the past and found the data to be of a decent standard.

@Marklee if sending emails is no good why do you send me them at least once per week.

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to Glennzy
15th Jan 2018 18:37

I'm guessing because you've expressed an interest in Mark's offering in the past, perhaps?

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to Glennzy
15th Jan 2018 20:38

Same, however I will have subscribed at some point. Whilst there is no doubt his material works for some people, I find the cheesy American style emails irritating so I blocked them.

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to Manchester_man
16th Jan 2018 01:13

I think I need some sort of anti zapping spray applied to my Accountex badge as simply walking passed some folk seems to get you signed up to whole world of spam.

I sometimes wonder if these accountant gurus actually understand the business at all as spamming people in January will just lead to you becoming blocked or maybe a stiff response. I had those My Firms App people onto me for a meeting again today even though I have clearly told them I have no intention of ever having one of their apps.

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to Glennzy
16th Jan 2018 06:43

The number calls I get from people in the accountancy based industry trying to sell me products/services in January is truly amazing. From software to ‘gurus’ to recruiters (you’d be surprised how many tax staff seems to be available for interview in January).

Invariably the conversation starts “I know your busy this month, but ...”.

Is the busy month of January not advertised enough?!

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By Alex_T
to atleastisoundknowledgable...
23rd Jan 2018 11:50

I completely agree! I find it beyond frustrating. If you know January is a busy month for accountants why are you calling in January?

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to Glennzy
23rd Jan 2018 16:41

AHHH. Really sorry Glenn Martin that you seem to feel my shorter than usual weekly emails this month are spammy. Indeed I'm horrified if they come across this way.

This month I have started each one with a ref to it being January and that therefore I've kept the emails shorter than usual.

There are some people I am happy to be compared with and others I would not want to be considered in the same category! ;-)

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to Manchester_man
23rd Jan 2018 16:42

Oh wow. There was me priding myself on not writing in that "cheesy American style" and now I'm castigated for doing exactly what I aim to avoid. Is it possible that Manchester_Man has mixed me up with someone else? I hope so.

Still, if you'd like to email me with your name I will ensure I remove all of your email addresses from my database.

I have no desire to trouble anyone with emails they don't want to receive. Seriously!

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to Glennzy
23rd Jan 2018 16:36

Hi Glenn
Apologies I wasn't clear. I was simply replying to the OP about buying a cold list. I doubt it's worth an accountant doing so and trying to engage the list through unsolicited emails in the hope of generating valuable clients.

As you know, all of my emails include the facility to opt out/unsubscribe. Please do so if you find what I'm sending you is of any interest or value (Though I appreciate you may not be saying that)

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16th Jan 2018 10:25

GDPR only applies to personal data. If you hold email addresses of sole traders, partners, or named individuals employed by companies (e.g. [email protected]) then you'll need their consent to hold their email address for your specific marketing purposes.

Why not send a few emails over the next few months to get them to opt in? You may only get a 5% response rate, but you'll arguably have a better quality database at the end of it.

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to the_drookit_dug
23rd Jan 2018 11:53

Exactly! Only keep in your mailing list the folk who really want to receive your stuff and who demonstrate that they will engage you or pay for your Workshops, Webinars et al.

And do all you can to get rid of those who don't!

Presuming you send out at least fortnightly, if not weekly or more frequently - like Mark Lee, for example - you should also consider dropping those who don't open your e-mails for two or three months. This can result in 60%+ opening rates and 15%+ (of all recipients) click rates.

Quality trumps quantity every time!

David Winch
Sales & Marketing Consultant, Cambridge

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By Alex_T
16th Jan 2018 11:23

Marketing can be so tricky. I've purchased several databases over the years with little or no success. I now employ a lady a few hours a week to do our marketing on social media which has been far more successful.
Good luck!

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to Alex_T
16th Jan 2018 11:31

Completely agree! We now do all our marketing via social media with pretty good results.

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17th Jan 2018 10:51

Thank you for all the comments. I think I might just give it a try to see how effective it is. I got a quoted of £1400 for 16,000 contacts which sounds reasonable.
Thank you, Glenn for the recommendation. I’ll definitely take a look at Selectabase too.

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23rd Jan 2018 11:43

I had a call the other day from Selecta base. I can get 270 contacts with emails and phone numbers in my target location for £101 which seems quite expensive. I’ve been assured by their salesperson that they are GDPR complaint but this salesperson didn't seem quite so confident when I asked for documentation confirming this. It’s all so wishy washy!

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