Email Downloads: LinkedIn finally made your dream come true!

LinkedIn has finally changed the settings, so you cannot download your connections email addresses as easily as before. This is a recent change, and many will welcome it.

Essentially LinkedIn used to automatically permit your email address to be downloaded, now, you have to expressly choose to allow your email address to be downloaded. The reality is, the downloading of email data just got eliminated (or did it?)

I’ll make a confession here, I have used the download feature and messaged my contacts, I’ve done it around 5 times and send in total 5 emails to my connections. It actually works really well, except for the ones who opt you into newsletters. When I have done it, I was getting a 60%+ open rate, so it really does work.

I have done it occasionally, where as looking in my own inbox, some are doing it daily.

Earlier this year, I advised people using this method to stop or find different ways because the misinformation around GDPR has given people the wrong perception that email marketing is illegal or prohibited.

GDPR I hear you cry. Well, GDPR in this scenario it isn’t relevant, firstly, you’ve shared your email with the person, secondly, the platform is a business platform, this means, you could choose to rely on legitimate interest to occasionally email their connections. You can’t rely on it to opt you in to an ongoing marketing campaign however.

The daily or weekly newsletters you get to your LinkedIn email address are unethical and a breach of PECR and probably GDPR, however, if you get an ad-hoc email from a connection, that probably isn’t an issue. So many have profitably misused the data download, LinkedIn has killed it.

I am pleased about it, because going forwards it will mean you have to be smarter to win business from LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a ton of tools available, the reasons everyone defaulted to email was because it was quick and easy and got big results quick.

Now, the game just got smarter.

For those who have your data already, the newsletters will continue, for those new to this, you must start with a real strategy which is more than add connections and download data.

I quit that game long ago and adopted smarter strategies using all the tools that LinkedIn has. This allowed me to develop a “Lead a Day” strategy and a “Sale a Day” strategy. LinkedIn is part of those but both strategies are part of our Guerrilla Marketing and LinkedIn Masterclass.

If you want to stop the emails coming what can you do?

For those who already have your data downloaded, all you can do is unsubscribe / report as spam. If you are cross, remove them as connections.

Change your privacy settings so you stop sharing your email address on your profile. Pretty soon a bot will be created to scan your profile and collect email addresses.

Get a LinkedIn specific email address to stop clogging your inbox. The old emails will continue to come until the returns have diminished to an extent that it becomes an unproductive activity.

Don’t go on a campaign! Be careful as a bad attitude can backfire. One guy destroyed his business online taking the moral high ground over an email, it seems like a good idea, but can backfire when you look like a bully. Right or wrong, if you look like a bully, people keep their distance.

If you are an emailer or wanted to email

You need to tread very carefully with the data you have downloaded. People have never opted in to your newsletters, so if you have been doing it, you have probably breached PECR.

If you are sporadically contacting connections through downloaded data, the scope of legitimate interest is limited as now that everyone has by default turned off email sharing (LinkedIn did it for us), It is a grey area as to whether you can still email them or not. You could argue your sourcing of the data is out of date and against the express interest of the person.

If connections are sharing their email address on a download list or on their profile, by the letter of the law you could sporadically email them under legitimate interest, but the ease to effort ratio is now gone so it may have just become unproductive for you. You need to keep your records up to date as in effect LinkedIn has created an opt-in.

I can see LinkedIn alongside some of the story features they are developing, giving you the option to subscribe for content on platform which is delivered off platform to help them to deepen their involvement within businesses.


LinkedIn has never been about email… the opportunity is much bigger.

If you are seriously hooked on the emails, you have totally missed a trick. Email Marketing, as I shared at a conference this month is a powerful tool, but in comparison there are more powerful tools to utilise to get business from LinkedIn.

Don’t cry if you lost your newsletter list. There is a better way.

It’s called social selling.

It’s called marketing

It’s called building relationships.

Now, you may consider this is going to increase your time and effort – it will! But I have shown coaches and small businesses how to sell at scale through LinkedIn using the “Sale a Day” strategy and for larger more complex sells a monthly enquiry generation strategy.

If you want to know more about those, you need to book on to one of our courses.

Emailers… don’t give up on LinkedIn because they took your favourite toy away, just get smarter.

Emailees… you know what you need to do (and not do).

If you’d like to join my on one of our courses which shows you how to win business without downloading data, check out our events at