With so many articles discussing the risks and pitfalls of purchasing email lists, it can be difficult to find reliable information on avoiding those risks.
Purchasing and using email lists effectively is an extremely powerful B2B marketing tool – and one that many marketers don’t take advantage of.
This guide will show you how to identify what type of list you need, purchase a high-quality list, and actually reach the contacts on that list.
Using Email Lists Effectively: How to Purchase and Reach Cold Contacts
Before you go ahead and purchase a list, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you’re getting the best list for your purposes.
To do that, you need to have a clear understanding of who you’re trying to target. Buyer personas will help you with this.
If you have already created buyer personas, then you can skip this next section – otherwise, read on to learn how to build them!
Building Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are a way of profiling your target audience. Of course, every lead has unique context and needs, but the trick is to generalize enough that you can create profiles that largely fit most of your buyers.
First of all, consider your product or service. What problem does it solve?
Now think about who has that problem. Those are going to be your buyers.
One very effective method for building personas is to examine your existing customers. Look for patterns – are they often from a particular industry? Are there common job titles, such as a pattern of most customers being in management positions?
Identify as many patterns as you can and use those to build a persona.
For example, if you notice that many of your customers are marketing managers, you can use that as the basis for a persona. To fill it out, look at those marketing managers again. Are they primarily male or female? What age range do they fall under?
These sort of generalizations allow you to create a persona that you can use to inform your marketing decisions – including purchasing an effective email list.
For more information, check out our post about building B2B buyer personas.
Purchasing the Right List
Once you know exactly what sort of person is most likely to purchase your offering, it’s time to find a list full of them.
It’s crucial that you get your list from a proper, reputable source (here’s a fantastic article on where to purchase an email list). Email lists that come from less-reputable sources such as scrapers will be full of bad data, invalid addresses, spam traps, and irrelevant contacts.
In other words, not email addresses you want to send your campaigns to.
Instead, you should ensure that your list is comprised of contacts that match one of your buyer personas as closely as possible. Continuing our earlier example, that would mean acquiring a list of marketing managers.
Your list should include as much information as possible about each contact. You need their name and company name at least, and ideally their industry as well. You’ll use this information as personalization tokens in your email content.
Reaching Your List: What Might Go Wrong
Cold email is powerful, but like any channel, it comes with challenges. In particular, it’s important to know why your campaigns might end up in spam folders instead of inboxes.
That way, you can do something about it.
When you send an email campaign, it gets checked in two places – by your internet service provider (ISP) when it goes out, and by the recipient’s ISP when they receive it.
They check your sender reputation, which is a score from 1 to 100 that they assign to you. If it’s too low, your campaigns might get flagged as spam, and end up in spam folders.
Damaging your sender reputation is, unfortunately, all too easy. Modern spam filters are very advanced and alert for any signs that you might be trying to send spam.
They watch for obvious signals such as suddenly sending large amounts of emails, content consisting almost entirely of images (or one large image), and getting flagged as spam by recipients, as well as whether you’re on a blacklist.
They also watch for much subtler signals, including all caps, over-punctuation (such as multiple exclamation points in a row), and whether your content contains any of a wide range of “typical” spammer language (such as “buy now!”).
One of the biggest pitfalls in cold email is running into spam traps. These are real email addresses that are used exclusively to identify spammers. Typically, when a spam trap address receives an email from the same domain more than once, that domain gets added to a blacklist.
If you’re on a blacklist, your email campaigns are headed directly for the spam folder. It’s something you need to avoid at all costs, which goes back to ensuring your list is high-quality.
For a deep dive into how spam filters work and how to make sure you don’t get tangled in them, read How to Send Mass Email Successfully.
No list is perfect, even from reputable providers. Over time, email lists decay naturally as people switch companies or positions, change their address, and so on. Sometimes, previously-valid email addresses are repurposed as spam traps, too.
In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your list, it’s important that you run it through an email list verification service. Even the highly-targeted, best-quality list will have some bad data in it – it’s inevitable.
Email list verification, also called a hygiene check, is a process that cleans out invalid, bad and generic addresses, spam traps, honey pots, and generally useless data. The result is a ready-to-go list.
Using Email Lists Properly
Buying and cleaning a well-targeted list is a strong step towards success, but there’s more you can do.
Instead of sending one email to your entire list, try segmenting it. Split it into smaller groups of more tightly-related contacts (this is where getting as much information about your contacts as possible comes in very useful).
Sending more personalized and tailored emails to smaller, more focused segments is an effective method for increasing your open and click rates, and doesn’t require an immense increase in time investment.
Getting Into Inboxes
Overall, there’s quite a few things to keep in mind in order to succeed with cold email and use your email lists effectively.
Some of them are simple, like making sure your email list is high-quality and well-targeted. Some of them are more difficult, such as keeping your sender score high.
Another challenge is actually sending your emails. Most email providers don’t allow mass email.
Clickback MAIL does, though. It’s built to help you get the most out of your purchased email list without worrying. It takes care of many of the biggest challenges for you – it automatically cleans your lists, keeps your sender score untouched, and many other helpful things.
It also helps you create top-notch content by auditing your content as you write, notifying you of any content that spam filters might not like.
Want to use your purchased lists effectively? Learn how with a 1-on-1 live demo of Clickback MAIL.