What You Need to Know About Buying A Mailing List

For many B2B businesses, buying a mailing list is often a consideration when it comes to lead generation.  When you make the decision to buy a list, it’s important to understand the pros and cons and know what questions to ask throughout this process.

Some may argue that emailing a list of strangers is not the way to go (and it can violate SPAM laws), however, when the ultimate goal is lead generation, you do have to find a way of getting in front of more people and buying a list can be viable solution.  The following are a couple of important notes to be aware of when you are researching your options.

List Criteria

When buying a list, the more detailed your criteria, the more likely you’ll get to your ideal prospect.  But the more criteria you establish for your list, the smaller your list will be.  You will have to determine the right combination of criteria.

buying a mailing listWhat Information Do You Want

There are multiple sources for list buying and one of the first decisions to make is whether or not you plan to physically mail this group or if you’re just looking for email addresses.  Generally speaking, a list with just emails will cost less than a list that has mailing addresses.  Physically mailing something to someone will help your business stand out more than simply sending out emails, however, it also requires a larger budget.  You need to fund both the item that you are mailing and the postage costs to deliver that item as well.

Prior to moving forward with your campaign, it’s important to plan all the details around this lead generation campaign to ensure you’ve considered and budgeted for all the desired details and that includes the number of touches you’ll continue to deliver to this list.

List Fall-out

Regardless of the source of the list, you should expect some fall-out in terms of invalid addresses—both physical and email.  When you’re shopping for list providers, ask the provider about the expected percentage of fall-out and consider that in your analysis.  It’s not uncommon for as many as 30% of the addresses to fall-out. And as your list ages, bear in mind that the percentage fall-out will only increase over time.

Response Expectations

When buying a mailing list, you have to set the right expectations in terms of response rates.  It’s also important to keep in mind that because you are unknown to this list, you’re expectations should be rather low the first few times you mail the list.

Marketing is all about developing know, like, and trust, and when you begin with a list of names that don’t know you and your business, you should expect this process to take some time and multiple touches. We’ve all heard the statistics that indicate it takes between 6 and 11 touches with a prospect to get them to sign on the dotted line.  Your plan and your budget should account for this process of establishing know, like, and trust.

And if you’re going to invest the money to buy a list of contacts, you really ought to continue your contact with this list.  They might not have a need for what you offer today, but there’s always the future.  If you keep yourself top of mind and provide quality content throughout this process, they won’t opt-out and could continue to be a prospect for some time.

Marketing is about connecting with someone who has a need what you offer so that has to be part of the process for setting your expectations.  Understanding the buying cycle is also important.  In most B2B scenarios, prospects don’t buy right away.  They pull the trigger based on the level of pain they’re experiencing.  In rare cases, you catch them when it’s unbearable but in most cases, they’ll endure the pain for a little while.

Purchasing a list is still a viable means of lead generation.  But you need to manage your expectations.  Think about the way you buy for your business.  That’s the way your prospects buy too.  The key is to understand the way your prospects buy and create a marketing process that maps well to that buying process.

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