Is the list worth the price?
Although list purchasing is not recommended by most within the marketing world, it is a reality and should be addressed. Email has become an efficient and economic method of contacting both new and current customers, and many marketers find themselves constantly searching for the next best list. How fabulous to find a pre-compiled list of potential customers, and at a great price too! But wait – we’ve all heard the adage that if it seems too good to be true, it is. There are no free lunches. The clichés come thick and fast.
Are these purchased lists all they’ve cracked up to be? Are we risking the reputation and accuracy of our current customer list for a quick-fix to our lead increase challenge? Is it worth the potential harm to the email deliverability and IP reputation?
To retain your sanity, here are some suggestions on ways to grow your email marketing list.
If you’re still considering the list purchase route, read on.
There are several ways to obtain email lists, and the three most common are buying, renting, and generating an opt-in list. The first two work with a list provider, theoretically identifying segments of people based on demographic and/or psychographic information. The third option relies on someone voluntarily providing their email either online or in person (trade shows, mixers, events, etc.) when they believe they are interested in something you have to say.
Before jumping into the list purchase pool, consider the following:
- Test out a small list to determine the quality of information the vendor is providing
- Make sure they supply a statement regarding how the names were collected so you know exactly how the list was obtained.
- Be fully aware of CAN-SPAM rules and the application to the US versus the rest of the world. Note: most countries outside the US have explicit opt-in laws which means most list purchase activities for these countries are not legal.
- Consider using vertical list source vendors that will ensure your audience is more focused and thus provides a list of higher quality = higher conversion.
- If you buy the list, make sure you own it and that there isn’t an ‘expiration’ on the ownership. Some companies will charge additional license fees if you’re unable to remove the names of people who didn’t convert. This is a process you will want to avoid.
- Be specific in titles and on the number of people from any one organization. Big red flag if a company is inundated with an unsolicited email campaign.
- Negotiate a success guarantee where the list provider will provide a cash refund if the list does not meet the exact criteria you were promised. If they supply poor data, they will only continue to supply the same poor data so don’t accept the offer of “credit”.
Those that opt in generally open more emails than those retrieved from a list, but the lack of significant difference in click-through adds weight to the other side of the argument. Legitimate marketing is tough, and there aren’t any shortcuts. But it’s worth it.