Marketing lists are a bit of a sticky subject in marketing circles. Industry luminaries tend to discuss them in a backbiting fashion, leaving the legitimate, candid conversations for the ever-revered dusty alleys and forgotten corridors of marketing conferences. You can blame the negative connotations on a number of factors.
- The marketing list landscape is rife with unscrupulous companies that will sell you six million email addresses for $60, and the data is always garbage. These companies often obfuscate their list building and permissioning processes.
- Bad data and lack of transparency increase the likelihood of hitting spam traps, or incurring high soft and hard bounce rates. This, in turn, negatively affects deliverability, ruins sender scores, and can lead to blacklisting by ISPs.
These are all compelling reasons to avoid working with marketing lists, and many are rooted in truth. So, if these terrible tales are all true, why would you want to use marketing lists? Well, despite the obvious risks, there is a way to use marketing lists successfully.
Growing Your List
Essentially, every benefit you’ll get from working with marketing lists stems from this end goal. There’s an old affiliate marketing adage, “The money’s in the list.” Growing your list means your newsletter, content (white papers, webinars, case studies, etc.), and offers are all going to a larger audience. This increases the likelihood that you’re going to see success from your marketing – as long as your audience perceives your content and offers as valuable.
Now that you understand the benefit of working with lists, here’s how to keep third party data from letting you down.
Don’t expect to gain a multitude of new customers instantly. If you go back to the traditional marketing funnel, people that receive your email or direct mail piece are at the top of funnel. They’re not ready to buy immediately. If you understand this concept, and take the proper follow up steps, your list marketing campaigns are going to be much more successful.
Once a recipient acts on your offer, it’s time to start nurturing the lead. This is a common list marketing misconception. People think they’re renting or licensing a list of qualified leads ready to make a purchase. Not true. Nurturing is critical to earning new customers.
Follow up your initial message with other pieces of content, occasionally mixing in promotional offers. If you’re already using marketing automation software, you understand lead nurturing concepts. Take a balanced approach. Don’t email too frequently or give leads information that’s not relevant to their interactions with your marketing, and always remember that your goal is to steer these leads to your desired action, whatever that may be.
Effective targeting is critical to ensuring the performance of your list marketing campaigns. Targeting means defining the audience that you think is going to be most receptive to your offer, and then working with a list that aligns with that audience. You can target across a massive number of demographic and behavior attributes like gender, income, job title, and past purchases and hobbies. Proper targeting is going to help you see a better response rate, as well as prevent your offer from going to uninterested parties. Your marketing list partner should be able to provide you with a list that matches the audience you want to target.
Working with marketing lists is a process of testing, measuring, and refining to reach optimum performance. Test criteria like send time, target audiences, offers, email design, email copy, etc. until you’re seeing the performance you want. Then, roll out the campaign on a larger scale.
Hopefully you found these marketing list tips helpful. In our next post, we’ll cover some criteria for identifying a reputable list partner. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Have you ever used marketing lists successfully? If you have, what tips would you add to this list?