Contact List Provider or Lead Generation Services – It Depends on What You Need

a guy looking for sales leads online

Not all leads are equal.

That’s why those in B2B advertising who decide to buy leads instead of developing campaigns to generate them, or else to pad out their existing list of contacts are warned against being too trusting of establishments claiming to provide quality leads.

It’s also understandable that companies looking for, say, a contact list provider will have a hard time doing so, mainly because there are more than a few of them.

 

Throw in the “not all leads are equal” issue, and things can get a little more complicated.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make choosing the right vendor and finding those leads easier.

Here’s a brief overview.

 

  1. Define what you’re looking for.

Your definition of a lead won’t necessarily fit with all companies’ definition of the same.

The general definition describes a company or entity that will be able to use your product, has need for it, and is interested in offers.

The specifics, however, will change depending on if you’re looking for a company that fits a certain profile, or a contact person – or persons.

If you’re looking for a list of contacts, then you’re not looking for leads – those who have somehow showed a need for your product or service and indicated interest in hearing from you.

This can be trickier to deal with when it comes to advertising campaigns, but not impossible.

 

  1. Conduct your search.

Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, then you can look for potential vendors to provide it.

For example, you’re looking for decision makers in a particular industry.

So you wouldn’t look for a telemarketing service, or a company offering appointment setting services; you’d be looking for list providers, since these can give you custom lists built around your parameters.

Defining what you’re looking for will also help you give your chosen list provider said parameters, from industry to company size, to job title or level, to revenue.

While narrowing the list down doesn’t guarantee you’re calling someone in the market for what you offer, you’ll at least get in touch with someone who might be interested later on.

 

  1. Make sure the vendor is selling, not renting.

There are vendors who offer contact lists only for rent, rather than for sale, so make sure you read carefully.

Otherwise, you might not be able to carry out your campaign properly.

Besides not being able to see the names on a mailing list rental, you won’t be able to contact them more than once, defeating the purpose of the list in the first place.

 

At this point, you should have a very short list of vendors to choose from; whether you choose a contact list provider or a company will – again – depend on what you’re ultimately looking for to help your campaign along.

4 Things to Do Right After You Buy a Contact Database

Things to Do Right After You Buy a Contact Database

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So you’ve got yourself a new contact list. Now what? Bought lists help you reach your growth targets faster—that is, if you’re able to set it up the right way. Today’s post goes over four steps you should follow right after you buy a contact database. These activities ensure that your list works as expected or, even better, exceed your targets.

In a previous post, we talked about the five situations where it’s okay to buy a contact database:

  • Your solution solves a real pain point or problem.
  • You’ve clearly identified your target prospects.
  • You’re targeting a high turnover industry.
  • You don’t have the resources to build a list at scale.
  • You’re expected to deliver results in the near-term.

If it makes sense for you to buy a contact database and you’ve invested in one already, then there’s a few things you need to straighten out first before using your list right out of the box.

 

1. Clean the bought list thoroughly first

Even though your list may come from a reputable database provider, you can’t take any chances when it comes to data quality. That’s why you need to thoroughly scrub and validate your bought list before putting it to use.

  • Scrub invalid addresses, spam traps, and distribution email addresses
  • Remove (hard) bounced addresses
  • Verify and update records

List cleaning tends to take up time and resources, so it might be a better option to let a third-party data cleaning services company do it for you.

 

2. Build your sender identity and reputation

To improve email deliverability, you need to convince both your recipients and ISPs that you’re someone they can trust. The idea is to let them know there’s a real person behind the email and that you’re really who you say you are.

  • Personalize your sender name
  • Use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC tools
  • Try out sender score and certification services
  • Warm up a new IP or use a dedicated sending IP

Using a bought list means you’re likely reaching out to most of the contacts for the first time. This underscores the importance of building your identity and reputation.

 

3. Ask contacts if they want to stick around

Most list vendors tout their products as opt-in, permission-based, or anti-spam-compliant. But, unless you’re deeply familiar with their data collection and QA practices, it’s better to err on the side of caution and carry out a double opt-in campaign, where you ask contacts for permission.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to run a double opt-in campaign after you buy a contact database:

  • Do a thorough data scrub (see step 1)
  • Prepare your free (value) offer
  • Craft an opt-in confirmation email
  • Build the landing page
  • Re-confirm with a thank you email

It’s okay if you encounter a lot of unsubscribes after your double opt-in campaign. Aside from staying compliant, this is one way of cleaning your list for better deliverability and engagement.

 

4. Reach out, engage, and respond

Bought lists translate to cold outreach. But that doesn’t mean your first interaction with the contacts should be icy, too. In order to maximize response and/or conversions, be sure to:

  • Personalize your cold emails beyond ‘Hi [FirstName]’
  • Segment your list according to buyer personas
  • Offer educational content (whitepapers, webinars, articles, etc.) related to the contact’s job title or industry
  • Start a nurturing campaign with follow-ups and multi-touch cadence

These best practices should help you avoid getting the cold shoulder from your cold prospects.

 

Conclusion

When you buy a contact database, you need to put a few things in place before using it in your campaign. Keep these four steps in mind as you start growing your pipeline.

How to Personalize Cold Emails Beyond ‘Hi [FirstName]’

How to Personalize Cold Emails Beyond

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Most people (and ISPs) mistakenly lump cold emails as junk mail. One proven way to ensure your cold emails don’t end up in the spam folder is to personalize your message. Today’s post provides a step-by-step guide on how to personalize cold emails beyond the usual “Hi [FirstName]” tactic—and to do this at scale.

Cold emails remain the workhorses of B2B marketing. They’re a good way to start building a relationship with prospects, influencers, and business partners. Sadly, cold emails continue to get a bad rap from people and ISPs alike. That’s because a lot of marketers misuse cold outreach to send out bulk, unwanted, and irrelevant (read: spam) messages to unsuspecting recipients. Although cold emails are, by nature, unsolicited messages, it’s how they’re being used that turns them into spam.

There are several strategies for improving the chances of your cold emails reaching the right recipient’s inbox, but personalization is demonstrably one of the most effective. Applying personalization tactics that really increase your emails’ relevance improves deliverability by:

  • Avoiding bulk, generic email blasts, hence preventing setting off spam filters
  • Improving engagement rates (opens, clicks, replies, etc.), which also boosts sender reputation
  • Minimizing spam complaints, which also improves sender reputation

Of course, personalization does have its downsides, one of which is that it requires time and a lot of research. But personalizing your cold emails pays off. That’s why we’re sharing this short practical guide on how to personalize cold emails at scale.

 

Step 1: Create personas for your target audience

Personas help you precisely define who your target recipients are. With personas, it’s much easier to accurately target and segment your audience. If you haven’t yet identified personas for your target recipients, Marketingprofs suggests building ideal buyer profiles with the following info:

  • Role in the buying process
  • Fears and challenges
  • Drivers and motivators
  • Organizational goal and priorities
  • Problems and issues

 

Step 2: Build your cold email list

Now that you’ve identified your target audience personas, you’re going to use the generated profiles for finding contacts to include in your cold email list. If you already have an existing email contact database, the process involves simply filtering the list using the profiles’ attributes.

If you don’t yet have a current list to fetch records from, you can either gather the contacts through your own research or work with a third-party list vendor.

 

Step 3: Find relevant and relatable info for each recipient

IT’s now time to get your hands dirty. This step involves doing some (mostly) manual, tedious research. The goal here is to mine pieces of information specific to each recipient that you can then mention in your cold email copy.

Sales engagement platform provider PersistIQ recommends the “3 takeaways in 3 minutes” approach when determining what personal details to include in your research. The idea is to start with 3 personal facts about each prospect you can gather in 3 minutes. Each of these pieces of information should help you connect with that particular prospect. These include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Current location
  • Work history
  • School or university
  • Mutual connections

Other personalization snippets include:

  • Website
  • Blog post and articles
  • Company news and announcements
  • Social media posts

Append some or all of these pieces of prospect data onto the cold email list you generated (or acquired) in step 2.

 

Step 4: Craft the personalized email template

In the previous step, you gathered relatable prospect information for each recipient. Now, it’s time to write the email template (or templates) where the relevant personal facts will be inserted.

While we all have our own cold email writing styles, here’s a quick rundown of email personalization best practices to keep in mind:

  • Try to mention one of the personal facts on the subject line
  • Start the body by pointing out another relatable fact
  • Segue into the main portion of your message
  • End with a clear call to action

 

Conclusion

Personalized emails tend to produce better engagement rates (26% higher open rates, 14% higher CTRs, and 10% conversion rates). Not only that, personalization tends to boost deliverability and inbox placement, especially for cold emails. So, before doing your next cold email outreach, try a little personalization first.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Email Marketing Campaign Plan

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Email Marketing Campaign Plan

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Here’s a number to think about: 3,800%. That’s the average email marketing ROI according to the DMA. But just because you’re doing email marketing, too, doesn’t guarantee you’ll also be getting the same spectacular returns. To generate decent ROI, you first need to develop a working email marketing campaign plan.

Putting together a coherent and doable email marketing campaign plan remains a daunting challenge for a great number of marketers. A lot of moving parts make up a typical email campaign, and it’s easy to get lost in the dizzying details. But with a clear planning process, the task becomes more manageable. Today’s post provides a step-by-step guide to campaign planning, plus a ton of email marketing tips and tricks to get you started.

 

Step 1: Set specific campaign goals and objectives

As email marketers, we’ve been raised to believe that everything starts with the list. But this mindset needs to change. Goals and objectives actually precede the email list. Everything only follows once you’ve identified the things your campaign needs to achieve.

Some email marketing campaign goals include:

  • Reaching out to cold prospects
  • Nurturing email prospects
  • Welcoming new subscribers
  • Verifying/Updating subscription
  • Promoting/Announcing new offers
  • Achieving conversion goals
  • Responding to triggers or actions

 

Step 2: Identify the types of emails to be used

Once you’ve specified your campaign targets, it’s time to figure out which types of emails work best for the tasks at hand. Marketers use dozens of email types, but these can be grouped into:

  • Prospecting Emails – These are emails sent to identify new opportunities for customer acquisition
  • Nurturing Emails – These are emails that cultivate relationships with leads, subscribers, or existing customers.
  • Promotional Emails – This type of emails announces offers or company-related news.
  • Transactional Emails – These emails are sent in response to a specific action or trigger.

 

Step 3: Know the target audience and segments

This looks like a fairly straightforward activity. But almost half of marketers still fail to segment their lists into relevant groups. There’s more to audience identification than simply knowing your target market. You have to define specific buyer personas that serve as your ideal audience profiles.

We’ve written about effective ways to segment a list in a previous post, and the key points are worth repeating here:

  1. Start with basic firmographics
  2. Map emails to sales funnel stages
  3. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site4Find out what content they’re engaging with
  4. Find out what content they’re engaging with
  5. Keep track of responses and activities
  6. Apply a lead scoring scheme

 

Step 4: Flesh out a robust sending schedule

Now you’re ready to set the schedule and frequency of email send-outs. Different sources cite varying optimal times of day and days of week for sending out emails, but it’s good practice to test this out for your own campaign. The same holds true for sending frequency.

While not all campaigns need a detailed sending schedule, the following email marketing tips and tricks for scheduling will help you find the right send-out times:

  • Start with the widely-accepted “best” times for sending out emails (Tuesdays through Thursdays, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.)
  • Let subscribers indicate how often to receive emails
  • Keep initial follow-ups to within 3 days of last touch point
  • Sync nurturing emails with your content calendar
  • Tweak schedule and frequency based on campaign results

 

Step 5: Brainstorm content and design ideas

You now have the why, what, who, and when of your email marketing campaign plan. The next things to think about are your emails’ content and design. Compelling copy and great design go hand-in-hand at producing successful email campaigns.

In terms of content, your emails need to speak to your audience and achieve a purpose. Consider the following tips when crafting email copies:

  • Use a catchy subject line
  • Make the copy easy to scan and skim
  • Keep it short and strong
  • End with a clear CTA

For the design, it’s the message that dictates the email’s look and feel:

  • Place main takeaways and CTAs at the top
  • Divide text into sections
  • Use contrasting color schemes
  • Format everything for easy skimming

 

Step 6: Choose suitable metrics and KPIs

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s why selecting a suitable set of metrics is part of campaign planning.

Email marketing continues to be one of the most data-rich marketing channels around today. So, if you think “vanity metrics” (delivery rates, open rates, CTRs, bounces, spam reports, and unsubscribes) can tell you everything you need to know about your campaign, then you’re leaving a huge insight gap in your program.

To ensure your dashboard displays only the right numbers, follow the below steps:

  1. Revisit your campaign goals and objectives
  2. Use metrics that determine if you’ve reached each goal
  3. Look at all your campaign data sources
  4. Know which pieces of data improve timing, content, and impact

 

Step 7: Outline a clear process for testing

The final step in the planning process is to come up with a program for testing and tracking your email campaign. Testing allows you to continuously improve your email marketing campaign plan. So, you need to hammer out a workable testing procedure before hitting “send”.

But, with so many individual components to test, creating a testing plan (as well as carrying it out) can feel overwhelming. Put the following tips into practice to make this part of the planning process run more smoothly:

  • Test basic elements first
  • Focus on one component at a time
  • Make your sample sizes sufficiently large (i.e., at least 1,000 observations)
  • Use consistent schedules when testing
  • Trust the test results over gut-feelings, no matter how counterintuitive

 

Conclusion

At this point, you now have a working email marketing campaign plan. But before you hit send, it’s crucial to go over your outline once or twice to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

If you think some aspects of your campaign look tedious or too time-consuming, then a good email marketing automation tool can make things easier. In addition, reputable email marketing service providers help you carry out part or all of your campaign activities more effectively.

What other steps do you follow when putting together an email marketing campaign plan?

How to Launch Opt-in Campaigns with Marketing Managers Email Lists

How to Launch Opt-in Campaigns with Marketing Managers Email Lists

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Carrying out campaigns with marketing managers email lists can be a difficult feat to accomplish. For one thing, marketing managers are constantly being bombarded with content, promotions, and offers that catching their attention even for a split second is almost impossible. They’re also intimately familiar with the bag of tricks their fellow marketers use that it’s going to take a pretty unique and compelling material just to register as a blip on their radar.

And these obstacles can turn into roadblocks when you’re working with marketing managers email lists that contain contacts acquired through implicit opt-in. Marketo says an implicit single opt-in happens when someone submits their contact details on a website or to an individual (typically in order to download content or to register for an event) and the info gets stored in a database without the contact’s express consent.

Implicit opt-in is a favorite tactic among B2B marketers because it lets them grow email lists quickly, although this approach doesn’t come without its drawbacks. If a subscriber doesn’t realize or remember opting into your email marketing list, the contact has every right to mark your emails as spam. Once those spam complaints start piling up, you run the risk of ending up on an ISP’s blacklist. That’s why, in a previous entry on collecting email contacts at tradeshows, we emphasize the need to verify every prospect’s permission.

That’s because not everyone who provides their email address to download your whitepaper wants to receive your email newsletters and promotions. Similarly, not all event attendees who hand you their business card are looking forward to starting an email correspondence. In fact, only a small percentage of contacts in a single opt-in list will actually want to remain as subscribers. The challenge then is finding out which contacts are really interested.

One effective solution is to launch an email opt-in (or re-opt-in) campaign. An opt-in campaign gives contacts in an existing email list a chance to confirm their subscription. It’s a way to remove uninterested (and most likely unfit) contacts from your marketing managers email lists, while retaining those subscribers who unequivocally gave you their permission. The end result will be a smaller but more relevant list of email contacts.

Running an opt-in campaign, however, goes beyond simply sending out subscription confirmation emails. It requires a great deal of planning and preparation, and usually follows the below steps:

 

  1. Do a thorough data scrub

As with any other email marketing initiative, opt-in campaigns require accurate and clean lists. So, before proceeding any further, you need to do a thorough data scrub on your marketing managers email lists for best results.

Find a good database scrubber and run it on your list a couple of times. You don’t want hard bounces and invalid emails dragging deliverability down.

 

  1. Prepare and polish your free offer

Whitepapers and case studies still remain the most effective offers for attracting and converting new subscribers. In fact, a DemandGen survey finds that among B2B buyers, 8% consult whitepapers, 73% request case studies, and 67% attend webinars.

Your free offer answers the question every potential subscriber asks herself: “What’s in it for me?” So, you need to make it convincing. Make sure that your offer isn’t only something that contacts will be interested in but is also content that prospects can benefit from.

 

  1. Create an opt-in confirmation email

Now, it’s time for you to put your thinking cap on and start writing the opt-in confirmation email. The main goal behind opt-in confirmation is to determine whether or not contacts really want to be part of your marketing managers email lists.

Leverage your free offer (see #2) to give your target contacts a good reason to sign up. Instead of directly asking recipients to confirm their subscription, gauge their interest first by delivering your free offer.

 

  1. Build the landing page

The offer’s landing page is where the first part of the opt-in process happens. The landing page signup form should ask contacts to enter their first name, last name, and email address—nothing more. Keep in mind that, in general, the more fields you put on a landing page, the lower the conversion rate.

In order for contacts to explicitly opt in, the landing page should include a checkbox that reads “I want to receive news and updates” (or something like that). In some countries, it’s mandatory to leave this checkbox unchecked by default.

 

  1. Re-confirm their opt-in with a thank you email

After a contact submits the form and confirms her subscription, the contact is directed to a thank you page that indicates that a thank you email has been sent to the given email address.

The thank you email includes a link or a button that the contact needs to click in order to confirm her subscription. Contacts who do so should remain on your marketing managers email lists, while those who don’t should be removed.

We’ve just outlined the basic steps of a double opt-in process. When done right, double opt-ins lead to a more accurate and more compliant email contact list. But more importantly, this process helps purge your list of uninterested contacts, keeping only those who’ll engage with your future campaigns.

5 Tradeshow Tips to Grow Human Resource Email Lists the Right Way

Tips to Grow Human Resource Email Lists

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Surveys reveal that between 75% to 77% of B2B marketers rank in-person events like tradeshows and conferences as their top-performing marketing tactic. Tradeshows are great venues for finding qualified leads in an industry or market, since these events are where you’ll typically meet decision-makers, influencers, and thought leaders face-to-face. That’s why, if you’re looking for ways to grow your human resource email lists, joining relevant HR conferences can be the right strategy.

That is, if you know how to leverage your tradeshow attendance for email list building. For today’s post, we’ve hand-picked five proven tips you can quickly apply on your next HR event to make each contact count.

 

  1. Choose your tradeshows wisely

From the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition to the HR Tech Expo, there’s no shortage of in-person HR events happening each year. But, even if you can afford to attend every single one of them, it’s best to join only those tradeshows relevant to your target customer or solution. This keeps potential email contacts to only within your target prospects as much as possible.

So, make sure to do thorough research on a tradeshow you’re interested in. See to it that the event’s target attendees match your target decision-maker profile. Be sure that your offer is consistent with the theme or focus, and not just tangentially related.

 

  1. Use the right lead capture tools

A study done by event automation provider Certain, Inc. finds that 73% of marketers still use manual data capture tools at live events. That’s despite the availability of digital lead retrieval tools that make collecting attendee contact details many times simpler and faster than with traditional fishbowl and spiral notebooks.

Capturing lead information is now as easy as downloading apps for scanning badges, administering surveys, taking notes, prequalifying leads, and doing other event lead generation activities.

 

  1. Segment your tradeshow contacts

Most event marketing experts agree that contacts obtained at tradeshows and conferences need to be segmented as soon as acquired. Tradeshow contacts should be grouped according to the action or interest they’re showing. You can classify these prospects into labels like “visited booth”, “requested more information”, “set appointment”, and “general attendee”.

This helps you put together a more robust follow-up plan and send relevant messages later on. As we’ll see in the following point, segmentation lets you avoid spammy behavior as well as steer clear of opt-in issues with your human resource email lists.

 

  1. Follow up on time and on point

According to the same Certain, Inc. study mentioned above, 57% of marketers say it takes four days for them to follow up with tradeshow leads. There’s, of course, no universal rule on the best time to check back with event prospects but, in general, the sooner you follow up, the better.

If you’ve classified contacts into appropriate segments, then you’ll be better able to craft a more relevant and compelling email message for each group. Don’t send the same follow-up email to all your tradeshow contacts.  Always start off by reminding your leads you met at the event and tell them how you were able to obtain their contact information.

 

  1. Validate and verify email addresses right away

Before you add the tradeshow contacts into your main human resource email lists, there are some things you need to do first:

  • Verify if the contact details are correct
  • Look for duplicates and redundant entries
  • Check whether an email address already exists in your main database
  • Remove hard bounces
  • Ask if a contact wants to opt out

Also, if the event organizer provides you with a list of attendees, you should never directly add them as contacts in your main database. The best thing to do is send one-on-one email to these contacts asking them to opt in.

With these expert tradeshow tips, it’s going to be much easier for you to cultivate your human resource email lists. The key thing to remember is to always be timely and relevant.

4 Tips to Better Gauge the ROI of Your Custom Targeted Database

4 Tips to Better Gauge the ROI of Your Custom Targeted Database

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In a previous post, we took a look at five key metrics to gauge your list’s performance and effectiveness. But we left out one crucial KPI that you should always be keeping track of: the ROI that your list generates. As we’ll see below, measuring exactly how much return a Custom Targeted Database brings to the table can become a little challenging. That’s why we’re setting aside this entire entry to help you get started with this critical marketing yardstick.

It’s typically hard to correctly determine the ROI of most custom target lists since they’re mostly used for top-of-funnel activities. This means that, by the time a lead becomes a customer, the touch points associated with the contact list that contributed to the sale are often difficult to trace since they took place at earlier stages in the process.

To get around this, the following tips can help you reliably measure how much revenue your custom targeted database helped generate:

 

  1. Know exactly where contacts come from.

In order to accurately gauge ROI, you need to find out where every contact that becomes part of your list originated from. Did a lead come from organic sources? Which paid source did a particular database record pass through before entering your funnel?

For your custom targeted database, this means having separate fields that report where and how you got the contact information.

 

  1. Refine your sales funnel stages.

There’s a surprising statistic from MarketingSherpa being thrown around that claims 68% of marketers haven’t yet identified their sales funnel. If you happen to be part of this group, you need to define and refine the stages in your sales funnel right now.

What are the steps a prospect goes through before being deemed sales-ready? What actions constitute a conversion in each of these steps?

 

  1. Track and score leads throughout your funnel.

Once you’ve established the precise steps that a prospect has to go through in order to turn into an opportunity, you now need to assign points that indicate how sales-qualified that particular lead is.

This is called lead scoring and is a crucial component of accurately measuring marketing ROI. Points are assigned based on the lead’s attributes (demographic and firmographic details) and their actions (interest and intent).

 

  1. Match closed deals with past touch points.

Now that you’ve got contact source information and lead scores recorded in your custom targeted database, it’s time to take a look at the data for deal closes. These closes should be tied back to the series of touch points that preceded the deal.

Marketingprofs says there are four categories of closes based on source and nurture history. It’s important that you identify the right classification for a particular deal, so that credit and attribution can be correctly given.

You can now start reliably measuring the ROI of custom target lists with these four tips in mind. The main idea is that your custom targeted database does contribute to the revenues your marketing and sales processes generate, provided that you’re using it correctly in your campaigns.

5 Metrics to Measure the Health of Your B2B Contact List

B2B Contact List

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You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s according to an old business adage that’s still relevant in marketing today, especially now that marketers are drowning in an ocean of metrics and KPIs that let them know what works and what doesn’t. So what numbers should you be keeping track of to get a feel for how your B2B contact list is performing?

As you may know all too well already, everything in B2B marketing starts with your list. That’s why you need to keep this critical campaign component firing on all four cylinders. To find out whether your B2B contact leads database is really up to the task, here are the five key metrics you should always be monitoring:

 

  1. Inbox Placement Rates and Delivery Rates

Inbox placement rates (IPRs) and delivery rates are two distinct metrics that measure email deliverability, although they’re often incorrectly used interchangeably. Delivery rates count the number of emails sent that didn’t bounce, while IPRs only consider emails that actually made it into the recipients’ inbox.

These two numbers can indicate the overall health of your B2B contact list. Low IPRs and delivery rates are often taken as signs that a list probably needs some scrubbing and updating. Recent research from Return Path reports that average global inbox placement rates hover around 80%.

 

  1. Hard Bounces

Bounce rates refer to the percentage of total emails that were not delivered. Soft bounces happen when emails get rejected from the recipient’s server because of a full inbox. Hard bounces, on the other hand, take place when emails are not delivered because of invalid email addresses.

You want to keep an eye on hard bounce rates, since ISPs and mail providers view high levels of hard bounces as a sign of spammy behavior. To help minimize hard bounces, regularly scrub your B2B contact list for invalid or non-existent email addresses.

 

  1. Unengaged Subscribers

Unengaged subscribers are inactive contacts in your list that have yet to promptly opt out. These are subscribers who remain on your B2B contact leads database but haven’t opened or responded to your emails in a while.

Sending emails to unengaged subscribers can harm email deliverability, since doing this tends to trigger spam alerts in most ISPs. So, manage inactive subscribers with a reengagement campaign or by removing them from your B2B contact list altogether.

 

  1. List Churn Rate

List churn rate or attrition rate is the proportion of subscribers that either opt out or drop out of your list in a given period. Factors like the number of opt-outs, hard bounces, spam complaints, and subscriber inactivity are the main drivers behind list churn rates.

List churn tells you how fast your B2B contact leads database is shrinking. That’s why you need to acquire new contacts at a rate that exceeds the churn rate in order to grow your list. GetResponse estimates average annual list churn rates to be around 25%-30%.

 

  1. Spam Complaints/Reports

Every time a recipient marks your email as spam, you’re racking up spam complaints under your sender record. Once the number of spam complaints exceeds a given threshold, mailbox providers automatically classify your emails as junk. According to data from MailChimp, average spam complaint rates can vary from 0.01% to 0.04%, depending on the industry.

While spam complaints tend to reflect the quality of your email messages, they can also give you an idea about the quality of your B2B contact list. Email lists sometimes contain spam traps, which are email addresses created by mailbox providers to catch spammers red-handed. Clearly, it’s important that you find and remove this type of address from your B2B contacts leads database to help reduce the risk of incurring spam complaints.

Now, you know the crucial set of numbers that help you accurately gauge your contact list’s performance. To gain sharper insights on your B2B contact list, don’t just passively measure these metrics against industry benchmarks. Also actively run tests designed to optimize your database on a regular basis.

A 5-Point Data Hygiene Plan for Your B2B Contact Leads Database

A 5-Point Data Hygiene Plan for Your B2B Contact Leads Database

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You may not know it, but you’re wasting at least 12% of revenues due to bad marketing data. That’s according to a review from Econsultancy that says bad data tend to directly impact profitability in as much as 88% of companies.

That’s why proper data hygiene is as important as ever, since practically every marketer today makes decisions based on insights extracted from the data sitting in their CRM or prospect lists. In today’s post, we’ll go over the five key points you need to carefully consider in order to come up with an actionable data hygiene plan for your B2B contact leads database.

 

  1. Develop a thorough data maintenance routine.

Inaccurate data occupies just one segment    in the Venn diagram of bad data. There are other data quality issues—such as missing data, inconsistent data, duplicate data, and unsynchronized data—that you also have to watch out for.

So, you need data maintenance initiatives that both prevent and fix data quality issues at different stages of your data life cycle—from data collection all the way to data removal.

 

  1. Remove data barriers and silos.

In a typical B2B organization, it’s not uncommon to find multiple instances of the same piece of prospect data housed in separate locations (e.g., marketing automation platform for marketing and CRM database for sales). This increases the possibility of having unsynchronized, inconsistent, and misaligned information used by different teams.

A good data hygiene plan also needs to take into account potential barriers to the free flow of data across users, teams, and departments. There should only be one version of a piece of prospect information at any given time.

 

  1. Supplement manual with automated processes.

For best results, data hygiene should be carried out with the right mix of manual and automated data cleansing methods. While tools like AI and machine learning have now streamlined data hygiene tasks, there’s still a clear need to keep humans in the loop.

Take, for example, data deduplication. Most commercial data scrubbing packages come shipped with powerful deduplication capabilities, which are especially helpful for scrubbing a large B2B contact leads database. But the deduplication process still requires human input to correctly identify which redundant records to keep and which ones to discard.

 

  1. Rethink your entire data quality approach.

Another key point that your data hygiene action plan needs to address is to make data quality everyone’s concern. While you need to define clear roles and assign specific tasks for maintaining data quality, it’s equally important to make sure everybody’s onboard.

Also, keep in mind that you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so you need to choose a relevant set of KPIs and benchmarks to gauge how well your data hygiene initiatives are performing.

 

  1. Know when and how to look for expert help.

In some cases, outsourcing part of your data hygiene program to a data quality solutions provider is a more practical option than doing it yourself. For instance, enriching your prospect data for improved segmentation is best done with a third-party data provider, since doing this in-house can take up time and resources which could be better spent elsewhere.

So, take stock of your current data hygiene capabilities, and let a reputable data quality solutions provider handle those activities that you’d have a hard time carrying out in-house.

Now that you’ve nailed down what a data hygiene action plan should contain, it’s time for you to flesh out concrete ideas for maintaining data quality. Use these five points as guidelines, and be sure to track, test, and tweak your strategy.

The 5 Cases Where It’s Okay to Buy a B2B Contact Database

buy b2b contact database

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If you go around asking whether to buy a B2B contact database, chances are you’d soon end up being chastised for simply just thinking about it. This is a little unfortunate, since a bought list sometimes makes more business sense. In fact, there are specific cases where buying a list can potentially bring you better results than taking the organic route.

The main reason why a lot of marketers advise against buying B2B contact databases is that people tend to use purchased lists for spamming contacts. While this is a valid point, the truth is that it still boils down to how you use a bought list that determines whether you’re engaging in spammy activities. So with that aside, here are five situations where it’s really okay for you to buy a B2B contact list:

 

Case 1:  Your solution solves a real pain point.

Early-stage investor and serial entrepreneur Jason Lemkin raises this very interesting idea. If you can solve a real pain point, outbound marketing will always work for you.

The same can be said about using a bought prospect list in your campaigns. When your solution fixes an urgent issue or fulfills a pressing need that your target buyers are experiencing right now, why wait for leads to naturally start trickling into your funnel? Why not reach out to them and deliver value right away?

 

Case 2:  You’ve clearly identified your target prospects.

In an eye-opening post, creative strategist Jake Jorgovan shares the story behind his cold email campaign that landed him a consulting project with a bunch of new customers including some Fortune 500 clients.

Among the key points he mentions is that he was only able to build a cold email list after knowing exactly who the target audience was. So, instead of sending generic templates, he came up with relevant, compelling email messages that cold prospects were interested in.

 

Case 3:  You’re targeting a high-turnover industry.

It’s no secret that marketing data has an expiration date. MarketingSherpa places the average rate of database decay at about 2.1% per month or around 22.5% each year. For some industries, this can reach as high as 6.1% every month.

So if you’re targeting decision-makers in an industry where people tend to change job titles or move to new locations relatively frequently, one way to keep up is through using bought contact databases from a reputable list vendor.

 

Case 4:  You don’t have the resources to build a list at scale.

Aside from the time investment required to help your B2B list reach critical mass, organically growing your database also needs tons of effort and the right kind of expertise.

That’s why, if you’re unable to make all these necessary commitments, buying a contact list is a more viable option. What you’re paying for when you buy B2B contact database goes beyond list records. You’re putting resources where they’re needed the most.

 

Case 5:  You’re expected to deliver results in the near-term.

Let’s say your revenue goal for this quarter is $300,000, the average deal size is $10,000, and your sales cycle is around two weeks. That means you need to close 30 deals. At a close rate of 5%, you need to generate at least 600 new leads by the first half of the quarter to reach your targets.

While we’ve played around with figures in our hypothetical scenario above, the main point is that hitting sales targets is still pretty much a numbers game. In most industries, B2B conversion rates (lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-close rates) simply aren’t in your favor, so you need to start out with a large number of relevant prospects to get any meaningful results further down the funnel.

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, then by all means start looking for a trusted list vendor right now. Don’t pay too much attention to people who think they know what’s good for your campaign. Instead, let your solution, audience, industry, capabilities, and objectives decide whether you should buy a B2B contact database.