Let’s get this out of the way first, a purchased email list can benefit your B2B business in many ways. Despite what you may have heard, buying email lists is still a valid and cost-effective way to scale your business-to-business products and services. The problems that arise with purchased email lists stem from the way marketers handle the process, not the idea of unsolicited email itself.
A cold list must be handled differently than a traditional opted-in list, due to the nature of the relationship with the reader. Obviously, someone who has subscribed to an email list is much more likely to engage with the marketing messages delivered to them. This is why open rates and conversion rates are notoriously lower in a cold campaign than an opt-in one – so adjust your expectations accordingly.
I Thought Purchased Lists Were a Bad Idea?
It’s true, you certainly don’t want to import a purchased list into HubSpot – because this email platform was never meant to send to a cold list. But there are email sending platforms that are meant for sending to a purchased list.
A major component of this process is the list cleaning stage, where invalid and potentially harmful email addresses are removed from the list. ALL data decays over time, so invalid emails are not necessarily a sign of a poor quality list, just the nature of data collection itself. Maximizing deliverability becomes crucial when you’re dealing with a non-permission based list, so keep this mind when the times comes to choose an email sending platform built for this type of campaign.
In this post, I’ll discuss the benefits of a purchased list, and how to maximize your ROI. Perhaps this post will clear the air on the subject of cold email lists, and give you a broader understanding of this highly controversial subject. Buying email lists is not always a bad idea, here are 6 reasons why:
6 Real Benefits of a Purchased Email List
I’ve been using outbound email to generate leads using a cold email list for quite some time now. I prefer to keep my business separate from this B2B lead generation blog, but I can tell you that I offer software solutions for small to medium-sized business-to-business companies.
Purchased email lists have gotten a bad rap over the past few years, especially with the overwhelming emergence of inbound marketing in the B2B space. If you’re not interested in educating yourself in the subtleties and quirks of outbound email marketing, and are looking for a “quick fix”, this post isn’t for you.
Marketing to a purchased list must be handled properly, or you can quickly get into trouble. Do yourself a favor and take the time to understand the nature of outbound email marketing, and reap the benefits of this proven lead generation strategy for years to come.
This one’s a real eye-opener, so I’ll mention it first. Inbound marketing is fun, effective, and generates some of the warmest B2B leads you could ever imagine. It’s also slow.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe in the power of content marketing. (That’s why I created this blog!)
But let’s say each new piece of content you share on your blog can potentially generate 10 new email subscribers per month (Once you’ve managed to rank your content on Google!). How many blog posts will you have to write each month to land 5,000 permission-based subscribers this year?
Some simple math quickly reveals that this method of generating email leads is not a realistic way to scale your email list. (46 blog posts per month!)
You have no control over the speed of building your email database because it relies on your contacts to find you and sign up. Even if your organic traffic flowing through the search engines is running at top speed, the leads trickle in at a staggered and inconsistent rate.
This is fine if you’re in no hurry to build an email list, and your lead generation is moving fast enough to keep the sales team running at max capacity. However, if the sales pipeline has slow periods where the rate of incoming leads is holding them back, inbound marketing can be painfully slow at filling the funnel.
A purchased email list can create an opportunity to reach hundreds (or thousands) of new leads overnight. Of course, these cold contacts will need to be nurtured properly to convert, but the future lead generation potential is massive. When the funnel runs dry, purchase more industry-related contacts to keep your pipeline topped up.
Am I saying that you should disregard your inbound marketing efforts to focus on outbound? Of course not. Consider the idea of combining the speed and scalability of buying an email list with your opt-in marketing efforts to offset downtimes and keep your B2B lead generation machine operating at full speed.
The bottom line is, you have no control over the speed a permission-based list grows, but you do with a purchased list.
2. Speed and Time Savings
Perhaps the most compelling reason to consider purchasing a marketing list is the speed and scalability of the strategy. Even with a healthy amount of organic traffic flowing into your website, Inbound marketing can take an absurd amount of time to generate a large email list.
Check out the following excerpt from the article “Are purchasing email lists a good idea?”
“With these two numbers, and assuming an agency produces 2,000-3,000 words of fresh content per month with a conversion of 3%, we can calculate how long it would take for the average agency to organically grow their list from 500 to 3000 contacts.
The answer is rather sobering: 12 years. No one has that kind of time. Once we did that math, I saw quite clearly that purchasing a highly vetted, highly targeted list is almost always the way to go.”
As outlined in the quote above, it is simply not possible to grow your email list organically at the speed buying an email list can. Yes, the quality of the contacts is lower than on an opt-in list, but it’s a numbers game. Even a warm list of contacts can’t match the potential value of a large list of targeted contacts in your industry.
3. Reach A Brand New Audience
Not everyone is up on the latest trends in their industry. It may seem like your perfect customers are aware of all of their options, and have done their online research about you and your competitors already. (And there are lots of those educated buyers out there). But some of your potential clients have no idea that you exist.
A purchased email list can showcase your business to a brand new audience of contacts in your industry. You have suddenly become a part of the conversation when discussing future solutions to a specific business challenge. When you know the biggest challenges your target buyer persona faces, your outbound marketing efforts can really start to generate quality leads from a cold list.
If you messaging offers valuable advice and is not overly pushy, the contacts will likely remain on the list without unsubscribing (The emails must include a clear opt-out link for compliance). A cold prospect that is not ready to convert will continue to read your email content, especially if they are benefitting from the information in some way.
Getting the contact to subscribe to your permission-based list for nurturing is a milestone for your cold campaign, but a non-opt-out can also be considered to be a small victory. When a cold contact is ready to take the next step, subscribing to your marketing automation funnel is a key indication that they are seriously interested in your business solutions.
4. Earn New Opt-In Subscribers for Marketing Automation
It’s no surprise that most of the cold contacts you email will not be ready to convert right away. BUT, many of them will want to learn more about your business and continue to hear what you have to offer. Provide an option to opt-in to a nurture campaign so that this audience has a way to keep in touch, and convert when they are ready.
This is where combining an outbound marketing strategy with your inbound methods can really compliment each other. Suddenly, your purchased email list has contributed a healthy amount of new leads to your opt-in list. Those that weren’t ready to sign up for a webinar, demo or phone call have the option of gradually learning more about your business at their own pace.
Opting-in pre-qualifies the contacts into the next stage of the sales funnel, as they have clearly shown some sort of interest in your business. A major part of your cold email campaign should be generating warm, opted-in contacts for lead nurturing. A purchased list is a fantastic way to speed up the process of earning permission-based contacts due to the directness and speed of email marketing.
The fact of the matter is, even if you believe that converting paying customers via inbound marketing is the only way to go, surely you can see the benefit in using a purchased email list to gain more subscribers.
5. Target industry-related contacts
A reputable data provider can get you a list of targeted industry-related contacts. This is a crucial aspect that is not to be overlooked, as sometimes marketers get caught up the overall volume of email addresses and nothing else. A list of 5,000 targeted contacts in your industry is much more powerful to your business than 50,000 random email contacts.
Nobody explains this better than Gary Vee:
Professional data providers specialize in selling lists that have been properly vetted to include the audience you are looking to communicate with. That’s why a quality service will always provide a guarantee of accuracy on the records. You can also request a sample contact record to validate for yourself using manual methods.
You wouldn’t buy a car without first taking a test drive, so why would you invest in a list of cold contacts without confirming the quality of the records?
Marketing to cold email list starts to make a lot of sense when you know who you are talking to. I understand that you have no prior relationship with these people, but what you do have is an understanding of the common problems their business faces. Speak their language, and prove to them that you are not just another spammer.
Open rates, clickthrough rates, and conversions grow exponentially with a quality list of targeted contacts. The dreadful non-permission based email open rates you’ve read about are likely due to deliverability issues and attempting to sell products and services to a totally unrelated audience.
6. Unlimited lead generation potential
Let’s get down to business. The reason you’ve found this post is because you want to generate more B2B leads. I get it.
As I have mentioned before, I send large outbound email campaigns each and every week using Clickback MAIL to reach a targeted audience. Not every campaign is a slam dunk, but my customer acquisition value justifies the time and effort (big time). Certain cold campaigns have landed me several quality leads that are ready to meet with my sales team. Others enter the funnel via my lead nurturing campaign in HubSpot.
The combination of outbound email marketing with my marketing automation efforts have allowed my business to scale over time in a measurable and consistent way. At this point, I could not imagine the idea of halting my cold email marketing efforts because my bottom line would surely take the brunt of the impact.
It still surprises me when B2B marketers tell me that they aren’t interested in sending campaigns to a purchased list because it’s considered spam and a waste of money. To those people, I’d like to mention that myself (and thousands of other business) send effective cold email marketing campaigns to a targeted audience that not only engage with my content but convert into paying customers.
If your outbound email campaigns are not working for you, I would suggest looking into an email service that allows purchased lists, so you can be sure that deliverability is handled properly. After that, it’s just a matter of speaking to your target buyer persona in a way that inspires them to take action.
After all, we’re marketers, isn’t that what it’s all about? 🙂
The True Value of a Purchased List
- Speed and Time-Savings
- Reach a New Audience
- Earn Opt-In Subscribers
- Targeted by Industry
- Lead Generation Growth
Feel free to share the following infographic on Pinterest!
Why Should I Believe You?
My goal isn’t to get you to purchase a list (I don’t work for a data provider company!). In fact, I don’t care if you continue to dismiss outbound email and focus on permission-based email marketing only. If you’ve had a bad experience with a cold email list in the past, I understand.
The reason for this post is to talk about the other side of the story. The side that marketing automation software services like HubSpot or email service providers like MailChimp don’t want you to believe. (I use both of these tools, by the way). Sending campaigns to a purchased list can provide a healthy ROI, and benefit your growing business in more ways than one.