Avoid bad data – guidelines for purchasing a marketing list

BadDataYour database of leads is not as large as you would like, so you buy a marketing list. Unfortunately, the list is filled with duplicate names, non-existent emails, or people who have no need of your product or service. Sound familiar?

It’s a common problem for many marketers, but one that’s easy to avoid if you ask the right questions prior to purchasing your list. In a recent article, Chris Golec of  Demandbase outlines eight key questions you want to ask the list company.

1. What makes your data unique?

Because there are so many data provides, it’s important to ask what makes the data in the list you are considering unique. You don’t want to purchase a list that overlaps the data you already have.

2. How often do you refresh your data?

It’s important to know how often your data provider adds names to its database, but it is perhaps even more important to know how often names are removed from the database and what steps are taken to prevent “dead” names from being added back in.

3. How is your data priced? Is there a minimum purchase?

Although the cost-per-lead price may sound minuscule, minimum purchase requirements could easily push you over your budget. In addition to inquiring about minimum purchase requirements or what the price breaks might be for larger purchases, ask about the vendor’s filtering system to ensure you will not wind up purchasing irrelevant contacts.

4. How do you handle inaccurate data?

Regardless of where you purchase your data, there are bound to be some inaccuracies. Prior to purchasing, work with your provider to establish some sort of “return policy” for bad data. Reputable companies will usually offer a full credit for data proven to be incorrect, as it helps them maintain database accuracy.

5. Do you remove or credit duplicates for contacts I already own?

A common frustration when purchasing lists is acquiring contacts you already have in your database. Make sure your data provider has some sort of system in place to remove or to credit back contacts you already own.

6. How are your lists targeted? Do I need to pay for any filters to refine my list?

Some companies charge you to run filters against their database that help you to target your list to your specific needs. For example, if you were looking for a list of marketing contacts at software companies, you might be charged $300 to remove all non-software companies and another $300 to target the marketers.

7. Do we own the data, or are we renting the list?

Data providers often rent out their subscriber lists for “one-time” mailings. You send them creative, and they run the email campaign for you and report back on opens and click-through rates. However, the real measure of success is conversions—how many people filled out the form on the Web page that was included in the body of the email. A conversion is the only way to capture the contact information of anyone in the list that you rented.

With a list rental, the cost per lead is much lower than it is for an outright purchase, but you do not own the information and cannot market to contacts again without renting the list again. Make sure to clarify whether the cost-per-lead is for a rental or for a list purchase.

8. Can I send email to the contacts I purchase from you? Are they “opt-in”?

If you are buying a list  that is marketed as “opt in,” be very careful; and keep in mind that the people on the list have not opted in to receiving emails specifically from your company. Opt-in is the gold standard in email marketing, without a doubt, but CAN-SPAM is the law and it does not cite “opt-in” as a requirement. Agree on a policy internally that will not only preserve your reputation but also allow growth of your brand and sales pipeline through the use of email.

Also consider the campaign requirements from your email vendor. Some companies require you to be able to prove “opt-in” on every email you send, while others simply require you to comply with the law.

Read Chris’ full article for more in-depth information on purchasing a marketing list.

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2 Responses to “Avoid bad data – guidelines for purchasing a marketing list”

  1. This is an EXCELLENT article on lists. Thanks so much for sharing.

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