Microsoft announced a leap in profits last month attributing the rise to its relaunch of LinkedIn.
Since Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016, the corporate social media site has been flooded with innovative new functions. Microsoft has focused on the site’s main user-base – recruiters and jobseekers, and sales and marketing people. It offers packages of paid-for extras and add-ons for each of these target markets and promotes them relentlessly, largely by on-screen prompts and email.
I have been on the receiving end of a few comments on the lines of
“Can’t believe Electric Marketing is still going, now that we’re all using LinkedIn”
“Who buys email marketing lists these days?”.
But plenty of b2b marketers still buy email lists because while social media has its place, it also has its limits. Yes, you can make contact with a sales prospect on LinkedIn by inviting them to connect with you. And if they do not reply you can use the InMail service. If the prospect ignores your message, LinkedIn cannot get you any further. To persist in chasing that prospect now, you need a phone number, or an email address.
It can take 12 emails, phone calls and other contacts before a business person buys from a new supplier. You can reach out to a prospect over and over using email marketing, direct mail and telemarketing. And you can only start that process by having your prospect’s full contact details to hand.
LinkedIn understands this; it promotes its own products to its users by email. But it guards those email addresses closely; LinkedIn is mainly concerned with its profits, not yours.
Electric Marketing’s mailing lists come with full contact details. Our postal and email lists are sold on the basis of multiple use. If you have a list of leads and prospects that you have found on LinkedIn, our List Research Service can research their email addresses and full contact details for you. 25 years of experience in business-to-business marketing has taught us that re-mailing and regular emails, can build a client base and bring you sales.
GDPR sure has been a long time coming. We’ve been worrying about the effects of the new Data Protection legislation from Europe since 2011. We are now a year away from the deadline of 25 May 2018 to comply. And Brexit won’t save us.
For consumer marketers there are big changes but for b2b marketing, changes need to be made but they are not too onerous. And if you already comply with current legislation, you will find yourself with a pretty short to-do list for GDPR.
Electric Marketing has prepared this guide to GDPR for b2b marketing. It focuses on what is relevant for b2b marketing.
The key change is that a company must show itself to be compliant with the rules. Write a policy document which sets out how you comply with the rules. Our guide puts the eight key issues into simple language that your policy document must cover.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about how email marketing will be affected by the new rules. This is certainly true for consumer marketing but b2b email marketing is not governed by GDPR, it is covered by the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulation (PECR).
Until PECR is updated, the rules for b2b email marketing remain as they are ie you may send an email to a person’s business email address about business matters without first gaining their permission. Your email must have an opt-out mechanism. If the person opts out, you must not email them again. This is known as an ‘opt-out regime’.
What About Consent?
If you are using data for the sole purpose of b2b direct marketing, you do not need the prospect’s consent to do so. GDPR gives six reasons for lawfully processing data ie using emailing lists. Read them here on the Information Commissioner’s website.
B2B marketing does not rely on consent as the reason for data processing. Your policy document will say that you are processing data for the reason that the GDPR calls “legitimate interest” ie you have a legitimate business interest in emailing the person at their business email address.
Worried About PECR (Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulation 2003)?
The EU has an ambition to update the rules of PECR in May 2018 and has drafted legislation. The draft legislation appears to allow the UK to retain its opt-out regime for b2b marketing and while this could change, it seems unlikely. It is also possible that the EU’s timetable for updating PECR may slip beyond May 2018.
So PECR is as yet unknowable but if the EU’s timetable for the legislation slips just ten months to beyond March 2019, the UK’s Great Repeal Bill may not include the PECR update. To read more about the likely effects of the PECR update, look at solicitors Bird & Bird’s take on PECR here.
Following the events of last summer, the Pound crashed against the US Dollar to a 30 year low. The UK’s manufactured goods and services are falling in price for shoppers in the EU and across the world.
It follows that UK companies which export are set for a few years of strong sales growth. With growth comes new opportunities for b2b marketers to sell into these exporters as they gear up for expansion by investing in recruitment and training, marketing, market research into international markets, IT, international financial services and many other corporate services.
While many UK corporates are now drawing up plans to increase their exports, there are some companies which are ahead of the game. Electric Marketing has compiled new b2b mailing lists of companies which grew their exports by more than 10% last year. These companies are already showing strong sales growth and the new economic environment of a low pound and Brexit can only improve their prospects.
B2B marketers can buy data on fast-growing exporters in the knowledge that these target companies have insulated themselves against the chilly effects of Brexit and whatever the UK economy has in store for us.
In May 2016, Companies House reported that there were 3,725,232 companies registered in the UK. Though many will be dormant, non-trading or too small to buy your goods and services, business marketers must decide on the best corporate targets and take aim. Electric Marketing has long offered targeted mailing lists by job title, industry sector, company size and postcode.
This week we add a new mailing list selection, companies experiencing a high growth rate. We think these companies are excellent targets for your new business campaigns. Each one demonstrating an annual growth rate of 10% and above, they are likely to be fizzing with new ideas, have ambitious plans and be willing to invest in their business to push it to meet its full potential.
As they meet fresh challenges thrown up by their high growth rate, they rapidly staff up, skill up and buy in expertise from consultants and advisers. These companies make timely purchasing decisions.
Crucially, they are less likely to have long term relationships and loyalties to current suppliers and are more receptive to new partners and fresh proposals. Change is key to building a business and adapting to their fast-moving working environment.
The mailing lists show a bias to tech firms and around one third of the companies are technology driven, some in cutting edge areas such as cloud computing, fintech and online trading platforms.
If you would like to be involved with these bright stars of the UK’s corporate universe, full contact details (postal address, email address and phone numbers) are available to buy for your email marketing, telemarketing or mailing campaigns.
Summer of sport has begun with European Football, next week it’s Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics starts on 5 August. Hundreds of companies have paid to sponsor the events, the teams and the players.
But if you haven’t paid to be an official sponsor, beware of trying to associate your brand with sporting events. Firstly, the sporting event brands themselves police sponsorship very closely; the chicken shop in Stratford that rebranded itself Olympic Chicken in 2012 was short-lived.
Secondly, avoid tortuous connections in your email marketing. The eshot that begun ‘With Valentines Day fast-approaching, now is the perfect time to buy a new toner cartridge’ was mocked and swiftly deleted. Not many b2b companies can claim a real connection to a big sporting event so it might be best to leave that to consumer brands. This is the time to be in takeaway pizzas and big TVs.
Electric Marketing was asked for mailing lists of the companies who are official sponsors of international sporting events. It follows that if there is a sponsorship budget for the European Football, there must be a big marketing and promotions budget surrounding it. If you can make this work for you, we now have lists of sports sponsors.
There are different levels of corporate sponsorship; the ten global sponsors of the UEFA 2016 football championship are Adidas, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Continental Tyres, Hisense (Chinese electronics giant), Hyundai-Kia, McDonald’s, Orange, SOCAR and Turkish Airlines.
Although national teams are not permitted to display sponsors’ logos on their shirts, Vauxhall sponsors England, Northern Ireland and Wales national teams. The England team have an official supermarket sponsor (Lidl), their suits come from sponsors Marks & Spencer and Panini is the official sticker provider. There are many more companies involved in sponsoring the teams in the Euro 16 Football and still more in the Rio Olympics.
These sponsors will have allocated big budgets to be spent during these events and have a very limited time in which to spend them. The right approach at the right time could see a small chunk of that budget heading your way.
To access the mailing lists of companies actively involved in the business side of this summer’s sports, see our website page dedicated to mailing lists of UK sports sponsors.
We’ve compiled a new mailing list of companies signed up to pay their staff the Living Wage and who support the Living Wage Foundation. Signalling a commitment to employee wellbeing and a progressive HR vision, the companies on this mailing list are more likely to invest in HR, people development, learning and internal communications to cement a reputation as an ethical employer.
What does it mean to sign up to the Living Wage?
All UK companies are obliged to pay workers aged 25 and above the National Living Wage, an hourly rate of £7.20 (The rate for workers aged 21-24 is £6.70 per hour, and for 18-20 year olds it is £5.30 per hour). The Living Wage Foundation has set a higher wage, the Living Wage which is calculated so that anyone with a job is not living in poverty. The companies who sign up to the Living Wage Foundation commit to pay all their staff aged 18 and over (including contractors), a minimum of £8.25 an hour (£9.40 in London). Financially, it is a big commitment but the campaign has attracted companies large and small; Aviva, Barclays, Burberry, Channel 4, ClearChannel, GSK, ITV, KPMG, Legal & General, Linklaters and Santander are significant supporters of the Living Wage Foundation which campaigns against in-work poverty.
Why sign up to the Living Wage?
These companies are highlighting their commitment to be fair employers who care about the lives of their staff outside the workplace. Membership of the Living Wage Foundation is more than a component of a recruitment and retention strategy; organisations are seeking to distance themselves from rival corporates who look to be out to make profits at any cost and some maybe making amends for past corporate misdemeanours (there’s a fair few banks on the mailing list).
Why Might You Be Interested In Marketing To Living Wage Employers?
Unwilling to buy on price and not hiring the cheapest option, serious about CSR (corporate social responsibility) and wanting to be seen as ethical corporates who try to ‘do the right thing’: we think these companies are great b2b marketing prospects, and not just for HR and training companies. If your product offering has an ethical slant, why not consider a targeted email marketing campaign to the Living Wage Employers. Just as they are fair employers, they are more likely to be fair business partners too.
Top 5 Tips To Get Best Value From Your Marketing Lists
It’s, ahem, 25 years since I sold the first subscriptions to Marketing Appointments to a handful of advertising and design agencies. You don’t need to know everything I’ve learned about mailing lists, business data and marketing information. But knowing how to get the best value from our marketing lists, that is useful. Here’s five points for b2b marketers that can’t be said often enough.
- The best performing list is one that contains companies with a similar profile to your current client list. If you buy a mailing list and it contains the names of people and companies with whom you are already doing business, this is a good sign. Don’t waste your time grumbling that 3 people on the list of 100 names are already clients, get on with contacting the other 97 in the happy knowledge that these are good prospects.
- Social media is great but unless your tweets and FB posts are being read by your target audience, it won’t bring in the sales. Use mailing lists to identify your target readership, find those prospects on Twitter and LinkedIn and communicate with them directly. Follow people on Twitter and get yourself noticed by writing some interesting tweets. Most Tweeters receive an email each time they attract a new follower, which puts your company name in their inbox, just by clicking the ‘follow’ button.
- In times of mass emailing clogging up the executive inbox, you need to stay on good terms with your prospects and clients. Figure out how often people can bear to hear from you. Think of something new to say or a new way of saying your old message. Bashing out the same copy to the same people every week wins you no fans, just a whole bunch of unsubscribes.
- Many executives have their inbox security set to ‘very high’ to screen out unwanted emails. Email sent to these people will bounce back to you as ‘identified as spam’ or ’email unavailable’. Put these email addresses in a separate file and write an email specifically formulated to get a very low spam score and to get past their spam filter. Keep it short, keep links to a minimum and keep it text only. See here for more tips on keeping your e-shots out of the filters’ way.
- ReMail. You have bought a list from Electric Marketing. Don’t just use it once, get your money’s worth and email it again. You can send an initial email, follow it up a fortnight or month later, look the person up on social media and make contact, write a letter, send a brochure or pick up the phone. You’ve got the data, use it while it’s current. ReMailing works.
So you’ve bought your mailing list, removed the people you already have as clients, checked your creative for typos and spelling errors and sent the email out. Apart from dealing with all your enquiries, setting your appointments and processing your orders, what should you do next?
It probably isn’t your favourite job but remember to keep a record of your results. How many orders did the mailing generate, how many appointments, enquiries, phone calls? Listen to your prospects when you speak to them. Did they understand the mailing and did they know how to respond? Were they the right people to mail or did they pass your mailer up the corporate ladder, sideways to another department or down to a subordinate? Next time you come to buy a mailing list, having a note of the industry sectors and job titles of the people who responded, can guide your purchase so that you buy the best data possible.
Remember that re-mailing the same list can work really well, as long as you are careful to remove the people who have already responded. Try a new subject header or tweak the copy based on what you’ve learned from your conversations with responders. Electric Marketing does not charge you for re-mailing a list, so get your budget’s worth and send a second email. Or follow up with a phone call or look the person up on social media and make contact. You could even send a letter. In a world of many forms of communication, everyone has their favourite way of interacting with companies.
And if you feel you have left it too late to follow up on an email, remember that Electric Marketing offers an updated version of your mailing list for just 25% of the price if you come back to us within six months of the purchase date. Or you can pay 50% of the price for an update if you bought the list within 12 months.
Get Me Off This Mailing List! The Insider’s Guide To Removing Yourself From Mailing Lists and eMail Lists.
Electric Marketing mailing lists are targeted, compiled mailing lists of a total of 80,000 influencers and budget holders. If you’re included on one of our mailing lists and you don’t want to be, we’ll remove you within hours. We won’t be pleased about it. We’ve selected you as a business person with senior responsibilities that other companies want to reach. And we only allow verified companies offering products and services pertinent to your role to access our data. But we’ll accept your decision with good grace and quickly remove you.
We often get messages requesting removal from people who are not on our mailing list. For those people, here is our guide to the mailing list business and how, if you really don’t want to receive information that is pertinent to your job and industry, you can get yourself taken off mailing lists for good.
- Tick the opt out boxes when you buy online. Do not add yourself to any more mailing lists. This might mean that you have to pay more for your pleasures. I used a cheap hotel booking service: part of the bargain was that I accept their “partners’ marketing messages”.
- Stop accepting free stuff.When you sign up to receive a free industry magazine or email, part of the deal is often that you accept “carefully targeted marketing messages from our partners”. Selling email lists pays for the writers and compilers of your free information.
- Search the internet for your own email address.You may find that your email address has been added to the end of a corporate press release and is sitting on the web, ready to be picked up by web spiders. These programs trawl the internet, ‘scraping’ email addresses from web pages and adding them to mailing lists which are then sold at bargain basement prices. If you’ve ever received an offer of a mailing list of a million contacts for $99, this is the source of that data. No human has been involved in the compiling of that data, just the guy who wrote the sales pitch.
- When an unwanted email comes in, click through to the unsubscribe page and read the name of the list you are on. Sometimes it will give the name of the company which supplied the data. Search online for that company and contact them directly. They are obliged by law to remove you within 28 days of your notifying them that you do not wish to be on their emailing list.
- Take yourself off LinkedIn. LinkedIn charges for its InMail service and when you sign up you agree to receive those InMail messages. But if you have put your name, job title, company name and location on LinkedIn, it is easy for other business people to find your phone number and email address and to get in touch.
If you are doing an important job in a significant UK company, other business people want to contact you. You may not want to hear from them, what they have to say may not interest you, but if you are in a senior role with budgetary responsibilities, accept that other business people will get in touch. And their right to contact you once by email is enshrined in the UK’s Privacy & Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulation 2003. The law is different in Ireland and most of the rest of Europe.
The UK is a marketing friendly business space and this seems to be working pretty well. Have you checked the value of the Euro recently?
Serious business people keep their minds open to new ideas, refresh their supplier base and take on new business practices. Pushing forward with new ideas, updating company business processes and being an early adopter of new technology are hallmarks of successful corporates and their senior teams. How can you find out about the latest trends and new technology if you don’t read pitches from potential suppliers?
Obviously some companies abuse this right, take hold of your email address and send you stuff three times a week. Hit the unsubscribe button. Show no mercy. I’ve written about over-frequent emailers here.
‘How often can I use the mailing list?’ can be the first question a new client asks Electric Marketing.
We don’t restrict the use of our mailing lists: it’s your marketing campaign, you are running the show. But to get the best value from an email list and to be able to use it over and over, we recommend that you limit emailing your cold prospects to once a month.
Business-to-business email marketers must be alive to their ‘unsubscribe’ rate. UK law states that you can send emails to business people on business matters but if they ask you not to contact them again or ‘unsubscribe’, you must not email that person again. Each ‘unsubscribe’ is a prospect that you cannot email again. Ever.
To get best value from your email marketing list, keep the unsubscribes to a minimum so that your list of 1,000 marketing managers does not deteriorate to 900 email addresses after the first week.
One of the top reasons people give for requesting to be removed from the Electric Marketing database, is that they receive too many emails. If a prospect feels that your emails are filling up their inbox, they will seek out your unsubscribe button and launch themselves off your email list.
In tests, we have found that an email campaign to a fresh list of cold prospects can expect an unsubscribe rate of 0.5%. Email that same list one month later and we receive the same unsubscribe rate. But email the same list two weeks later and the second email generated 1% of unsubscribe notices and we note, more strident language. By emailing twice a month, so 24 times in one year, your email list shrinks at twice the rate.
‘People don’t unsubscribe because they do not want to hear from you, they unsubscribe because they know what you are offering.’
If your email marketing serves to remind businesses that you are still eager to do business with them, it is likely that you don’t have anything different to offer from last week. You wouldn’t write to a business every week saying pretty much the same thing, why treat email differently on the basis that it is cheap to do so? We recommend that you email your cold prospects no more than once a month for up to a year. After a year of emails, it is likely that you will have to reach out to them by phone, post or social media and admit defeat on email. A quick phone call might reveal that they are not the right person in the company to make the decision.
No busy decision maker reads every email that arrives instantly. Time management best practice dictates that successful business people filter emails into what is urgent and to be dealt with immediately, then maybe emails to be filed and then emails that are interesting and to read later. Realistically no senior decision maker will place an approach from a new supplier in the ‘must read now’ file. Your first email should aim to be in the ‘read and consider later’ file. Give your prospect time to read your email. It is probably best not to badger them with emails twice a week until they ask you to stop.
For email lists of busy decision makers in large companies see our page of email lists of directors and decision makers