The success of your outbound marketing campaign hinges on the quality of your lead list. This might sound cliché but considering the staggering number of email campaigns run with bad data, it bears repeating every single time we talk about generating email lead lists. Building quality lead lists, therefore, is the cornerstone of every successful outbound marketing campaign.
In this post, I’m going to share some tips on choosing email lead lists for your outbound marketing campaign, and the best practices you should follow to ensure optimum ROI.
Building a Lead List that Works: Best Practices
Identify your target customer
Identifying your target customer is the first and foremost step in building a lead list. If you already have existing customers, you need to analyze them to see their behavioral patterns and identify the attributes that are unique to specific buyer groups.
If you don’t have any existing customers, you need to interact with, and conduct industry research on your potential audience. Many businesses list a specific number of attributes they would like to see in their target customers.
Choose a scalable source of leads
Once you have identified your target customers, it’s time to build the lead list. At this point, you have two options to choose from: buy the lead list or build it on your own. If you want to choose the latter, you could go to companies that offer contact email addresses for your target customers who would benefit from your services. Alternatively, you can either collect their address manually or use a scraper to help save time.
Collect leads into spreadsheet
Once you have collected the necessary information of your prospects or leads, you need to organize them into a spreadsheet. Create a spreadsheet template based on the number of items you need, e.g. first name, last name, title, email, phone number, city state, lead source, and notes. If you don’t organize this information from the beginning, it’s going to be more complicated when you have to deal with a large number of leads in the future.
Import spreadsheets into your CRM
There are many companies that still manage their leads on spreadsheets. However, if you are a fairly large company and want to save time and boost productivity, adopting a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is a smart idea. Managing leads and customer information through CRM software helps you streamline the process.
Buying an Efficient Lead List: Best Practices
Building your lead list is almost always considered a better idea to buying lead lists. However, building an organic lead list through opt-in requires a prolonged investment in inbound marketing efforts. If you don’t have massive budget allocated to inbound marketing, buying lead lists is a logical approach.
Even as buying leads from third-party services sounds easy, it still requires careful planning and consideration of the following steps.
Consider Your Ideal Customer
As with building lead lists, buying lead lists also requires identification of your target audience. With precise targeting, you will get more value from your lead lists. The process of identifying your ideal customer begins with ranking your most profitable customers based on the revenue they generate and the ease of doing business with them.
Similarly, you could rank customers that are least profitable, generate less revenue and are the hardest to do business with. Evaluate the characteristics of each customer type based on their geography, annual revenue, employee size, decision-making process, work culture etc. Once you have analyzed the characteristics, it’s time to buy leads that most closely resemble the ideal customers you want to target.
Acquiring Email List
As per the industry best practices, most businesses acquire email lists in the following ways:
Buying an Email List: This is pretty straightforward - you simply purchase email lists based on the demographics and psychological characteristics of your ideal customer profile.
Renting an Email List: There are services that allow you to rent an email list, meaning you won’t be able to see their email list. In such a scenario, the email list renting services provider will send out your email to your target audience list.
Before buying an email list, look for a list provider who is consultative and works closely with you to offer the most productive list available. Ask your list provider if they could create lists by both keyword and SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code. Don’t simply go for a list provider based on the number of lists they have sold, but the quality of services they offer.
Here’s a list of list B2B lead list companies for you to consider.
Invest in Quality Lead Lists
If you’re buying lead lists from a third-party service, stay focused on the quality of their leads. Ideally, expensive lists tend to deliver better ROI than cheaper lists. Buying a cheap list will prove costly when you factor in the cost per lead in the long-run. In short, paying for quality email lists is well worth the cost.
Test the Quality of Your Lists
Regardless of the price of the list you’ve purchase, it’s always a good idea to test the data before sending out emails. Choose a small sample from the contacts to see if there are any duplicates, incomplete and outdated information, and contacts that don’t belong to your target profile. If a substantial portion of the sample contacts falls in the bad data category, you may have to cleanse the data before using the list for your outbound campaign.
One of the most important questions that continue to perplex marketers across the industry is: Should you buy or build an email list? Well, the answer lies in your budget and marketing priorities. Many believe building lead lists is almost always better than buying them. Regardless of your choice, what ultimately matters is the quality of your data and process of your outbound marketing campaign.
What is your strategy for generating lead lists for your company?