How to build a marketing list after GDPR & ePrivacy regulation

How to build a marketing list after GDPR & ePrivacy regulation

Apocalypse now! Wherever you sit on the spectrum of: Business as usual <<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The end of civilisation…

You’d be hard pressed not to envisage some serious changes to the way us marketers are gonna go about our business. Both the GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation represent a major overhaul, and companies will need to adapt accordingly.

We’ve already covered off what to do if you have an existing marketing list that needs opt-in consent in a previous blog post. But what about developing that marketing list further, or even building one from scratch?


Pre-GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation

If you were being kind, you might say the process of acquiring data to run a campaign in the past was ‘murky’. If you were being realistic, you might say ‘dodgy’. If you were being blatant, you may say ‘criminal’.

In any case, there’s no shortage of list-brokers out there who will claim double opt-in consent on the lists they they push, 95% quality rates, all contacts validated in the last 6 months, blah blah blah…

Largely, a lot of what is claimed in these instances is bollocks in almost every sense.

So it’s perhaps unsurprising that these list-brokers that are shouting ‘legitimate interest’ from the rooftops at any given opportunity at the moment. That’s because in their latest GDPR guidance, ICO makes mention that ‘marketing’ could be a grounds for processing data using legitimate interest. Never one to shy away from literally ANY opportunity to put their oar in on the GDPR or ePrivacy Regulation debate, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) have been on too, issuing some guidance on how to ultimately get around GDPR using the legitimate interests data processing clause.

Aside from being deeply confusing for us sane people,  it might be all well and good. Well, maybe in a parallel universe where the ePrivacy Regulation wasn’t just round the corner, it would be Margarita time for spammy marketers the world over, but, alas – the ePrivacy Regulation is coming. Penned for May 2018 to coincide with GDPR, it’s looking increasingly unlikely it will even land this year. The draft regulation has changed more than a would-be bride in a bridalwear shop, and is currently rested in a position where legitimate interest is not a grounds for sending direct marketing.

As deeply organised marketers, who would never lock themselves out of their house after going to Morrisons for a bit of lunch (hello Charli), we obviously want to get ahead of the curve here.

In advance of these big legal changes, we want to build a sustainable marketing list after GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation that we can use to send highly targeted and relevant communications to. You know, to ultimately sell them something at some point. It’s the name of the game.


Go on then – how?

Content > Engagement > Conversion

If we’re going to build a marketing list of people who wanted to receive things, we need to get all of these three things right.



Content starts with a process of figuring out what your potential customers are putting into Google to help diagnose their current problem. This is keyword analysis. There are different methods to do this, but ultimately the end game is to come out with a decent sized list of keywords that are the right blend between popularity (the number of searches on a monthly basis) and competition (how many other sites are competing on that keyword, and how authoritative they are).

You then go through a process of content planning: a creative voyage to think of content ideas that will entice users to click on your stuff if they see it on Google, or on social media. It’s best to try not to be Buzzfeed, but similarly you need some pizzazz to what you’re doing to stand out from the crowd. It needs to be interesting, or opinion leading, or controversial – it needs to be of value and it needs to make the user want to see what’s what in a touch the screen or click your cursor kind of way.

Once you’ve got your content ideas, it’s writing time. There’s no getting around it. As long as you have good content ideas, then the more writing the better. We’re talking an absolute minimum of 2 a month, and 1 a week is a great place to be. If you’re doing more than that, then you’re a content ninja (:smugface).

Plug the content plan into your social media outreach too and have that driving additional traffic to your new content.

If you’ve done that, assuming your website is well optimised for search engines in the various shapes and forms that comes in you’ll see an uplift in traffic. Still not Margarita time though I’m afraid…



If you have visitors coming to our website, you need to do something with them. You need these website visitors to be converted into contacts. To do this, you need their consent to add them to a marketing list.

Go through your blog posts and make sure that every blog post has a relevant conversion point. We call these buttons or banners Call-to-Actions (or CTAs). Suffice to say, that CTA needs to be a logical next step. So it’s not so much about free trials and demonstrations as it is about research papers, webinars, white papers and the like. In addition to giving people the opportunity to download that content offer, get a tick box in there asking people to subscribe to receive a monthly email newsletter that has more of this great content in it.

It’s also worth having a really easy to find and simple ‘subscribe’ form somewhere prominent on your website. Header, Footer, Pop-ups – somewhere. Just asking for an email address and a tick in the box for your monthly newsletter to receive more of the great content that brought them to your site in the first place.


And that’s your lot

An intro into how to build a marketing list after GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation. We even nearly drank Margaritas (maybe next time).

There’s loads we haven’t covered here:

But in the best interests of actually being able to read this thing before all this new legislation comes into force, you can always contact us if you need any assistance with any of it. Suffice to say, we won’t send you any marketing emails unless you tick our box.

GDPR Checklist