Email target lists – The ‘Wild-West’ of marketing

datawildwestWe are regularly asked to supply marketing data and lists for email campaigns and, to be honest, the world of commercially available email marketing data is like the wild west!

As a rule, you should never forget that your own data and contacts, built up through doing business in your field, will be better quality and more qualified than any commercially available email target lists.

While we would ALWAYS recommend that you start with the people you know and focus on making the most of existing contacts, it is also important to grow your target list with more, well qualified contacts.

Given that good marketing is a process, not an event, so should growing your list be a process and, if you can afford the time, adding well qualified contacts a few at a time through networking or careful research is likely to produce the best results long term. The process is sustainable but it does take time and not everyone has this luxury.

We also find even well established businesses  who have no meaningful marketing database. Creating a starting point with a usable list of acceptable quality becomes a priority. So where to begin? It isn’t easy. There are so many diverse options as this example shows:

A client recently asked to research list options for targeting schools by email. Here are the result of our investigation:

Option 1 The ‘QUALITY’ Email Target List

  • List based on lots of research
  • 30,000 school contacts
  • Very selectable by area, school type, contact type etc
  • Minimum order 1000 records
  • 12 months rental on open licence
  • Rental cost upwards of £400/1000 (Full list £10k+)
  • Rental must be renewed after 12 months

Option 2 The ‘MEDIUM’ Email Target List

  • Complete list of 24000+ records
  • List could be split by region
  • 12 months rental. Maximum 12 email in 12 months
  • Full list cost £850
  • Rental must be renewed after 12 months

Option 3 The ‘VALUE’ Email Target List

  • 17000+email addresses
  • No selection available. All or nothing
  • One-time purchase
  • Cost £59!

Is Option 1 really over 100 times better than Option 3? What do you think?

To be fair, schools data is a little unusual in that much of the core information is publicly available online (if you have the time to look) but the principle applies across the board – there are B2B email marketing lists available from less than £50/1000 to more than £300/1000. All claim to be well research, up to date and fully opt in!

So what should I do?

  1. Make the most of what you have already – a simple spreadsheet can be enough of a ‘database system’!
  2. Make sure all new (relevant) contacts you make go onto your list
  3. Have a plan to build your database with well qualified target contacts – little and often is best – and make sure you stick to your plan
  4. Keep in touch with your contacts. Build relationships. Make sure they know exactly what you offer and appreciate your expertise – Be Heard, Be Valued
  5. If you need to build a list quickly, certainly look at options for bought-in data but KEEP IT SEPARATE from your own data. Quality data is very valuable. Make the most of it but treat it with respect.

Remember the adage: ‘If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!’ – but there is no question; there are opportunities out there….


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About Duncan Wright

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Over the past 25 years, working in both the corporate world, and the field of SME marketing consultancy, Duncan Wright has developed extensive knowledge & experience that really adds value to BSA Marketing's clients.

As a member of the CIM, and as a Chartered Marketer, Duncan has the marketing knowledge to come up with relevant and innovative marketing strategies for clients, whilst at the same time possessing the technical knowledge to turn these strategies into relevant and sustainable marketing campaigns in the real world.

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