Purchasing an email list is a great idea, even if making the decision can be a hard one. You’re in the business of creating authentic, emotional brand connections. Using a method like list purchasing might feel, well, artificial.
But list purchasing today — the intent behind it and the application of it — isn’t what it used to be. The old standard of casting the widest net possible to reel in a boatload of emails, many of which were only tangentially relevant to your expertise, and blasting huge volumes of content to them is (for the most part) over. With the right strategy in place, purchasing an email list is a smart, completely respectable thing to do.
We’ve written previously about the merits of purchasing an email list. Here’s the gist: Purchasing a targeted email list through a reputable source can immediately bolster traffic to your site and increase conversions on your website calls-to-action, all while disseminating your expertise to a larger group of prospects who are very much interested in what you have to say. It’s not casting a wider net — it’s casting a deeper one.
Once you’ve decided to purchase an email list, the question remains ofhow to go about it. Generally, the process is pretty simple, but there are a few very clear do’s and don’ts to consider:
DO establish sender authentication.
It’s a good practice to have sender authentication in place prior to deploying to a purchased email list. Sender authentication will improve email deliverability by ensuring your email recipients’ security controls perceive that the server from which you send your email matches your main domain. This is important because most email blasts are deployed through the mail server of a third-party email platform, not your company’s email server. The details of this process vary slightly depending on which service you’re using to deploy your email. If you’re unsure of how this works, be sure to reach out to your email partner and ask them to provide you specific instructions.
DO find a reputable list provider.
Not all email list providers are created equal. A reputable list provider will be able to explain how “clean” the list is, how often they scrub the list to remove dirty data like duplicates or bad domains, and how often they update the list to ensure that it’s as accurate as possible. These are important factors to consider when choosing your email list provider. It’s also key to understand how the list provider can incorporate the email list into your existing business processes. For example, do you need your new list to integrate with your CRM system? Do you need the data updated on a regular basis? Understanding the capabilities a list provider has beyond the email list itself will help you identify the right fit for you.
At Newfangled, we’ve had much success with The List, which focuses specifically on decision makers in the marketing, advertising, branding and public relations industries. Whenever we decide to purchase an email list, The List is usually our first stop because of the high quality of the data we receive. We’ve also seen quality results from Data.com. That being said, you should always take extra steps to ensure the cleanliness of your purchased list prior to sending to it. But more on that in a moment.
DO narrow your focus.
A key to success with a purchased email list is having a firm grasp on your target audience. These parameters should align directly with your marketplace position. Once you’ve identified the specific types of people who are most likely to derive value from your expertise, you can work with your email list provider to narrow the focus of your list purchase. Be specific. Really specific. The more detailed demographic information you can provide (e.g., region, state, city, title, company, interest, etc.), the better quality list you’ll get.
DO purchase a substantial number of emails.
Let’s not lose sight of the main goal here. You’re purchasing emails because you want to expose more people to your website and your content, ultimately growing new business opportunities. From what we’ve seen, most small-to-midsize agencies sustain a 3 percent conversion rate on web CTAs, regardless of the list size. However, most of these same agencies usually have pretty small lists (between 500 and 1,000 contacts). In order to drive significant traffic to your site and increase the overall number of conversions, you need a bigger list, ideally 3,000 to 4,000 contacts. Organically growing a list of 500 contacts to 4,000 is a tall order. A big benefit of purchasing a list is the ability to effectively double or even triple your master list size: Suddenly that 3 percent conversion rate becomes a lot more meaningful.
So when you’re deciding how many emails to purchase, don’t skimp. Carve out a big enough budget to substantially change the size of your existing master list, then use that momentum to grow the list organically from there.
DO clean your list.
This is important. You might be working with the most reputable email list provider around, but it’s always a good idea to carve out a little extra in your budget to have your list professionally scrubbed before you deploy emails to it. This is a fraction of the cost of the list itself (usually between $300 and $500 for a 4,000-email list) and is well worth the investment. From what we’ve seen, even the most quality list results include about 20% bad emails – it’s just the nature of the beast. It’s worth the extra budget to clean as many of these junk emails as possible prior to the first send. There are many data hygiene services out there; we’ve had good experiences with Impressionwise and LeadSpend in the past.
DO A/B tests.
A/B testing your marketing emails is a good habit to establish. It will always help you learn more about your email recipients, but it is especially true for a purchased list. When planning communications to your newly purchased email list, consider dividing the send into two or three equal splits. Test your subject line. Test the day and time of your communication. Test the color red vs. the color blue. Test whatever else you can think of that might help you better connect with this group the next time around.
DON’T purchase generic email aliases.
This is likely no surprise: Generic email aliases (like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) don’t perform well from a marketing perspective. You’re looking to connect with people. So don’t spend your time and money nurturing generic email addresses. Keep this in mind when you’re applying filters to narrow down the focus of your email list. When possible, exclude generic email addresses entirely. And when that isn’t possible, make sure they’re removed during the cleaning process prior to your first send.
DON’T rent an email list.
The difference between renting and buying an email list is that purchasing a list allows you to immediately grow your master list and keep those emails for future nurturing. Renting a list means you’ll be working with a third party who will actually be the one deploying a message to a list of emails on your behalf. The only way you’ll keep any of those email addresses on your list for future followup is if they convert through a CTA on your website. Bottom line: Renting an email list defeats the purpose of nurturing purchased emails in the first place, because you won’t be able to consider them part of your master list after the initial send.
DON’T purchase lists too often.
Think of purchasing an email list as a shortcut to gaining the momentum for you to grow your master list organically in the future. This tactic is quite effective but should be used sparingly. That’s why you should make sure to purchase a substantial list at the outset — it eliminates the need to purchase another list for quite a while. With the purchased list, you’ll immediately increase traffic to your site in a meaningful way. Be prepared for that. Have a clear position statement that’s visible from all of your web pages. Make sure your expert content is easily accessible. Include various related CTAs throughout the site so you can continue to learn more about this new group of prospects.
DON’T overestimate the performance of a purchased list.
For a typical email to a warmed-up list, you should be shooting for roughly a 30 percent open rate, at least a 3 percent click-through rate, and roughly a 5 percent bounce rate. While results are going to vary based on your list and your content, you can expect about half of that performance level from your first send to a new purchased list — and that’s OK. You’re going to weed out the lower quality emails from the legitimate prospects with the first send. That’s a good thing — you shouldn’t pay to continue delivering email to people who aren’t interested in your expertise.
If your instinct is to cringe at the thought of purchasing an email list, I get it. It has seemed taboo in the past. But the reality of this industry today is that a well-targeted and well-cleaned purchased list can help you meet your marketing goals much, much faster than growing your list organically, all while communicating with prospects in a respectful way. Following these tips will keep you on the right track.
Article From: www.newfangled.com