4 Things to Do Right After You Buy a Contact Database

Things to Do Right After You Buy a Contact DatabaseSo 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.



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 BeyondMost 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



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 PlanHere’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



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 ListsCarrying 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 ListsSurveys 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 DatabaseIn 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.

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

buy b2b contact databaseIf 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.

Is Your B2B Contact Leads Database Ready for the AI Revolution?

Is Your B2B Contact/Leads Database Ready for the AI RevolutionOne of the main takeaways from Salesforce’s 2017 STATE of MARKETING report  is that investments in AI has outpaced spending in other marketing tech areas. B2B marketers are adopting AI technologies ranging from predictive lead scoring to chatbots in droves. But before you get caught up in the hype, there’s one thing you need to nail down before you start applying AI into your marketing processes: Is your B2B contact leads database ready for AI at all?

To answer this, we first need to separate the reality and the publicity behind AI’s capabilities in B2B marketing today. MarTech Advisor points to four key areas where B2B marketers can realistically expect AI to lend them a helping hand:

  • Scoring and ranking leads.
  • Segmentation and content personalization
  • Discovering and implementing Marketing automation strategies
  • Sales enablement and acceleration

At its present development stage, the best that AI technology can do is allow you to carry out the tasks in each of the above activities more efficiently. While some aspects of AI can uncover prospect behavior invisible to the unaided human B2B marketer, the reality is that AI remains just a tool, and tools are only as effective as the persons and processes using them.

So if you think AI has a place in your marketing toolkit, you first need to take a good look at your B2B contact leads database.

Like everything else in marketing, AI depends on good data. The data currently sitting in your CRM and datasets you’re about to collect need to meet some basic requirements before starting AI-enabled campaigns. In an interesting video series, Brandon Rohrer at Microsoft Azzure thinks of data science and AI as a lot like making pizza: the better the ingredients (your data), the better the final product (marketing insights).

There are four qualities that any dataset must satisfy to be ready for AI and data science:

  1. Relevant: Do the fields and records in your B2B contact leads database help you answer the questions you’re exploring? For example, which lead attributes in your CRM influence the likelihood that a prospect turns into a customer within the next quarter?
  2. Accurate: How reliable are the models/profiles generated from your marketing database? Do the records contain incorrect, outdated, redundant, or invalid entries?
  3. Connected: Are there significant gaps in your marketing data? What percentage of records contain empty fields?
  4. Sufficient: Do you have enough records to build robust AI models?

While each of the above criteria is important, we need to carefully consider sufficiency. AI requires data–lots of data. The algorithms that power most AI applications run on vast amounts of examples in their training set. In general, the more examples you use to train an AI algorithm, the more accurate the resulting model gets.

So before you think about applying AI in marketing, you first have to bring your contact leads database up to snuff.  Use the previous ideas as your guidelines and maximize the power of artificial intelligence.

Run These 6 Data Hygiene Checks On Your B2B Email Lists Before Your Next Campaign

Run These 6 Data Hygiene Checks On Your B2B Email Lists Before Your Next Campaign

Whether it’s B2C or B2B, email marketing has always been an excellent approach to nurture prospects, convert sales-ready leads, and solicit repeat and referral business. However, in order to be effective, your contact list requires a solid foundation. And whether you’re employing bought or home-grown data, doing hygiene checks on your email lists is crucial to boosting your ROI.

So what does it mean to run a data hygiene check on your B2B email lists?

Your contact database is brimming with data and insights into your potential clientele. However, if that data contains errors and inaccuracies, your sales and marketing initiatives are going to bear the brunt of the nasty side effects of having bad data on your list. Routinely running data hygiene checks guarantees that every piece of information in your contact database is as reliable and actionable as possible. Having meticulously-maintained and robust data is critical for running targeted and effective email marketing campaigns.

The following are the common types of dirty data that might be lurking in your B2B email lists.

  • Inaccurate data – These are those records that have typographical errors.
  • Duplications — These are separate records belonging to the same contact.
  • Dead accounts — These are those email addresses that were once actively used by their owners but have now become inactive.
  • Spam traps – These are those email addresses that are in circulation to help single out spammers who add addresses to their email lists without consent. They often find their way into authentic email lists.

To remove these kinds of data from your B2B email lists, you need to run these six crucial steps in maintaining good data hygiene:

  1. Data Scrubbing – This refers to finding and handling data entry and basic parsing errors.
  2. De-duplication and Records Matching – This refers to detecting and removing duplicate records as well as combining records incorrectly classified as separate.
  3. Recovering/Appending Missing Data & Values – This refers to managing records with incomplete data by using an intelligent algorithm.
  4. Data Migration & Merging – This refers to migrating or integrating a marketing database into another format or storage.
  5. Standardization & Normalization – This refers to checking the consistency and comparability of various pieces of data in the database.
  6. Data Verification – This refers to validating and verifying information on the database through phone, email, and online research.

Know that dirty data is something that you can absolutely do without. They can give you a bad rep by damaging your sender score and it could get a lot worst with your IP getting blocked or being blacklisted by your email provider. That’s why doing data hygiene checks routinely should be a part of your campaign process. It’s a good push toward reducing bounce rates and improving email deliverability and conversion rates.

3 Reasons Why Savvy B2B Marketers Do Email Marketing With Purchased Contact Lists

Why Savvy B2B Marketers Do Email Marketing With Purchased Contact Lists

When handled correctly, you can take advantage of purchased contact lists to its full potential. That is why savvy B2B marketers include purchased contact lists in their must-haves especially when running email marketing campaigns. Here are three reasons why they just love to do so.

  1. It lets you kick-start your email campaign right away.
    Inbound marketing has its share of boon and bane. Sure. It’s a potent marketing technique that you should have. However, you can’t deny the fact that it takes a considerable amount of time. Time is precious so why be solely dependent on a strategy that eats it up? Fortunately, getting hold of purchased contact lists eradicates this as it gives you the upper hand in your lead generation.
  1. It fills your sales funnel right there and then and expands your contact database overnight.
    When you depend on inbound approaches alone, Your marketing team isn’t the only one that will bear the brunt. It can become an obstacle for your business growth as numbers tank and sales become sluggish. If that’s not a nightmare scenario for you, I don’t know what is. But if push comes to shove and you opt to send emails using purchased contact lists, filling up that funnel is easily within your reach. In other words, with a bought contact list, you can expedite sales-ready leads for conversion.
    Aside from virtually letting you expand your database overnight, using purchased contact lists in your email marketing basically opens up new horizons for you and put you in front of boundless business opportunities. So whenever you need a push in your lead generation efforts, don’t hesitate to make a purchase!
  1. You can use it to convert cold contact into warm leads.
    Some of you might be thinking that emailing to purchased contact lists is a little risky since the contacts haven’t opted in. But of course! They haven’t opted. Yet! Using these contact lists in your B2B email marketing enables you to convert cold contacts to warm, consent-based leads. You can, therefore, make these leads part of your sales and marketing campaigns. After this, it’ll be all about employing lead nurturing strategies and conversion.

In the right hands, purchased contact lists are great tools for building and growing the sales pipeline. That’s why savvy marketers use bought email lists because: it frees up their time to focus on more important things; it lets them fill up their funnel with ready-to-contact prospects practically overnight; and finally, it allows them to nurture and convert the right kind of leads. So, go find a B2B contact list provider that gives you more bang for your buck. Look for a vendor that manually verifies each list record, so that your email campaigns get better deliverability, response, and conversions.