Email lists can be a blessing or a curse. When they’re composed of real email addresses of people in your target micro-segment, and those people recognize you or your company by name, an email list is an invaluable lead generation resource. When the list is filled with contacts who don’t know of you or your company, i.e. a cold list, lead generation can be though – really tough. Likewise, if your list is populated with fake, inactive, or irrelevant accounts you’re at risk of being banned by your email software provider.
Not surprisingly, I hear from clients all the time asking how to build an email list that will get results for their campaigns. Should they purchase? Should they attempt to build their own?
Remember that with email list building your goal is to build a list of people within your micro-segment, so quality is more important than quantity. The more similar the contacts, the easier it is to tailor your nurturing and lead generation content to their specific needs.
Here are six methods that will help you build a quality email list.
Nurturing and lead generation activities: When you engage in social media, nurturing activities, SEO, and Adwords, those mediums provide forums for you to drive people to your website, start a conversation via a social channel, attend an event you’re hosting, and add people to your list. People who respond really do want to be part of your list.
Membership organizations: Whether it’s through industry associations, mastermind groups, or networking events, these types of organizations provide an excellent means for collecting contact information. Generally, people will update or provide their own information because they want other members to have easy access to them so you know the data is current.
Shared lists: By finding a peer who targets a similar microsegment with a non-competitive offering, you may be able to forge a partnership in which you promote to each other’s lists. This happens frequently within the high tech space, with consultants, and with professional services organization where they understand the value of collaboration.
Research the web and build your own: Increasingly, we’re seeing companies comb LinkedIn, Zoominfo.com, InsideView.com, DiscoverOrg.com and other websites for contact information, and then follow-up with companies to confirm the validity of that information. This approach is time consuming, but it can be very effective. A client who we coached through this process recently got a 41% open rate on their email nurturing campaign. I really like DiscoverOrg for the detailed information they have if you’re selling in the IT or telecom industry.
Purchase lists: There are numerous companies that sell email lists, but you need to be careful which vendor you buy from and how much you spend. Prices typically range from hundreds to several thousand dollars depending on list specificity and size. One warning: Expect higher bounce rates with these lists and negotiate for that issue when you purchase. To avoid high bounce rates, look for a list company that validates the information. In this way I’ve been very pleased with ExchangeLeads for new lists and validation of current lists. If you don’t have any list, this may be the way to get started.
Trade information for information: Sites like ExchangeLeads and Data.com community give you credit for providing contact information for companies you’ve worked with in the past. As you earn credit, you can use it to acquire lists for free. These services generally have a fee option as well, and the data integrity is dependent upon users keeping it current. Again, look for companies that validate data to reduce bounce rates and wasted time. I really like ExchangeLeads for trading information as well as purchasing it.
Ultimately, my advice would be to focus as much on the organic list building methods (#s 1-4) as possible, and supplement with the purchased methods (#s 5 and 6) when necessary. If you start with a purchased list, plan to nurture it and build your recognition. Don’t toss it away if you don’t get immediate results.
At the end of the day, you want to strive for list quality over list quantity. Pushing your messaging out to unwitting, uninterested, or unsuspecting prospects won’t do anything to help you close more deals.
If you’d like to talk about your list strategy, call, tweet or email me and we’ll set up a call.
- Contact details:
- +1 303-741-6636 (Old fashioned, but very effective.)
- [email protected] (Yes, I get every one of these personally.)
- @KendraLeeKLA (And I do follow all direct messages on Twitter!)