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I have formulated an excellent offer for marketing the web sites of UK companies. I dont believe in looking up telephone numbers and individually cold calling companies 1 by 1. It's too slow and I like to do things on more of a large scale.
I wondered if I purchased/harvested a large list of UK company email addresses, and sent an attractive email whitch clearly allows the company to opt-out of future mailings, whether this would be acceptable?
I do have the resources to produce physical small brochures and post to the companies, but it's not quite the same as flicking a switch and watching them go from your PC.
I want to be responsible in my e-mailing and marketing, but as a business person, the opportunity to reach tens of thousands of companies is very attractive.
The EC Directive on Data Protection and Privacy [europa.eu.int](pdf link) makes it illegal to send unsoliticed commercial communication per e-mail throughout the EC (the link still titles it as a "draft", but it has been put in force by now). The member countries are currently updating their legislation to implement this directive. I think that the UK have already done so. But even if they hadn't, the courts would be likely to treat it as if it was technically in force, should someone sue you for a violation.
The brochures would be second best - something physical to hold in their hands.
Mass emailing has many attractive benefits, and I'm sure the EC law isn't putting a stop to companies trying to market their products through email.
However, I get about 4 "market your website" and "design your website" emails a day right now, and they all get trashed. Unless your emails are clearly targeted they won't be effective.
email/hard copy brochure (they are now expecting it)
follow up call
I'd reckon that the vast majority of people would just delete your email if they'd never heard of you. It's too easy and you need to engage them a bit more.
Since your target seems to be webmasters and site owners, why not advertise your offer in some of the many newsletters aimed at this market/ Even some of these are kind of spammy, but a few are well respected and have good content. Not only will your offer survive instant deletion, the association with a respected newsletter may add a bit of credibility.