Buying lead lists is quite a controversial subject, particularly given 68% of businesses struggle to generate quality new leads. As a marketing agency it is both controversial and one of the more frequent conversations we have with our clients.

Buying lead lists is risky

It is well known that buying data lists can be risky, costly, and the accuracy of data is not guaranteed and can often be questionable. The quality of data can vary greatly depending on where it’s sourced from, who is selling the data and where it fits with what you are looking for in terms of contacts.  But there are many data companies out there willing to sell data, and many firms who consider buying it.

So before considering a data purchase, have a look at our top tips:

1. Know who you want to target

Firstly, are you wanting to target referrers (e.g., Other key businesses that will refer clients to you and vice versa) or members of the public? Knowing who you want to target is vital because it will also influence how you use the data down the line and whether you are allowed to.

For example, if you are a law firm there are quite strict guidelines from the SRA about how you approach members of the public – you can click here for more information on the SRA guidelines. Understanding what you can or can’t do is vital when regulated by a professional body. There is no guarantee that a purchased list will contain contacts interested in your offer. They may be completely the wrong types of company, industry, or demographic. So, by making sure you know who you want to target before purchasing a list, you’ll be able to get rid of leads who aren’t your target audience. A clear target audience is a must.

2. Does buying lead lists lead to ‘clean’ data?

Just because you have bought a list of data, it doesn’t mean it is fit for purpose – when we refer to clean data, we mean data that is regularly updated and refreshed. Many lead data companies are now moving to annual payments, rather than a one-time purchase, which is a far better way to ensure data is as up-to-date as possible, as the company should be sending through refreshed data every few weeks. A reputable company will update its lead lists regularly to ensure that its contacts are as “clean” as possible.

Things to check:

  • GDPR – make sure the company you are buying from has covered all GDPR requirements.
  • Be specific about whether you are mailing or telephoning or both – data companies will be able to segment data according to your needs
  • Before purchasing check whether TPS – Telephone Preference Services – are included/ excluded.

Some clients who have purchased data for emailing have then decided to initiate follow-up calls and realised they can’t actually call because the lead has stated no telephone contact. Sometimes it’s these little things can crop up down the line that will impact how you use the data going forward, so being clear at the start is important.

3. Now you have the lead data, what’s next?

There are many ways you can use a list of data but essentially you have to remember that it is full of cold leads – you have names and contact info but no existing relationship. So again, knowing how you want to reach out to people is key. And as with everything, preparation is of paramount importance. For your email campaigns to be more successful, you need to do research on the companies. The more knowledge you have of the company and the people you need to speak to within that company, the better – not all contacts listed on lead data lists are the right contact for you!

Use LinkedIn and company websites to determine if the data on your list is accurate. Is the lead still in the same position with the same employer? Did the company move? Is the email address valid? Even with a purchased list, the goal of your outreach is to form an authentic relationship, and that starts with getting the details right.

4. Consider your call to action (CTA)

Knowing what you want your target audience to do and communicating that call to action effectively, is really crucial. You can create the best campaign in the world but if your audience doesn’t know what you want from them then it’s highly likely they won’t engage with you. In marketing, your call to action is the part of your communication piece that tells your target audience what they should be doing. Your call to action is also measurable, in other words, if you want your leads to download a piece of content, or sign up to your regular communications, you can measure the success of your campaign by how many people interacted with your CTA.

So, is buying a lead list the right move for YOUR company?

We would normally advise against buying lead lists because they are risky, they can hurt your business’s reputation and your email sender reputation*. You don’t usually get a good return out of bought email lists, firstly because the recipients don’t know you and don’t yet have a reason to trust you or to open an email from you, and secondly, if you don’t have a follow-up process in place with a dedicated telesales resource then your success rate will suffer, which impacts your return on investment.

So, what’s next?

There are more effective ways to generate leads for your business and we can help you do that!

One sure way of maximising new leads is to follow up and successfully convert your new enquiries, not only to win the business but also to grow your marketing lists and of course your client base. Find out more in our blog ‘Following up enquiries is important – but why?’ If there is anything in this article that you would like further advice on, get in touch with Lara, we would love to help your business!

*An email sender reputation is a score that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to an organisation that sends email… The higher the score, the more likely an ISP will deliver emails to the inboxes of recipients on their network.

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