Electric Marketing Blog
When should you choose to select your list by both employee size and annual turnover?
Generally our advice is not to do this. Pick just one.
Choose employee size if you are selling something relevant for companies whose business relies on having a lot of staff eg, payroll software, health and safety services, absentee management software, internal communications consulting, catering kit for staff restaurants.
Choose turnover for everything else. If you really must.
Let’s say you are buying a list of HR managers, it is largely irrelevant to specify that each company must have 15+ employees. Would you expect your prospect company to hire an HR manager to manage the HR issues for 14 people? It is likely that the MD and his assistant would handle this himself. But there are holding companies who run all the HR and finance for a group of companies. The group may have 200 employees as a whole, but the HR manager works for the holding company which employs 10 people. And by putting that 15+ employees restriction in, your mailing list excludes those group HR managers. There is no accounting for complex corporate structures.
This selection strategy works if you are certain that your mailing list company is selling you people with the job title HR manager, rather than ‘managers responsible for HR’ which will almost certainly include director’s PAs and office managers. Electric Marketing only offers lists by job title. If you ask for HR managers, you will have a list of HR managers.
It is a good idea to ask yourself if you really need to limit your campaign by company size. If you have specified a job title which is only likely to feature among the largest companies, say Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Facilities Manager or Head of Business Intelligence, it is largely irrelevant to specify that the companies must have annual sales of £10m+. Put yourself in the shoes of the managing director of a company with annual sales of under £10m? Would you hire a CSR manager? The fact that a company has a dedicated CSR manager is a clear indication that they are a large company with a CSR budget.
It is only by looking at company accounts that mailing list companies can get info on company financials and companies with a turnover below £5m are not legally required to put the number of employees they have in their company accounts. Companies House requires simple unaudited accounts from small companies. By specifying turnover, you will exclude all the companies which do not publish their UK sales figures: US companies tend to publish a figure for European sales and do not split it out by country. By selecting by turnover your mailing list will exclude these multinational companies.
If you really must target companies by their size, select companies by turnover. Mailing list companies are more likely to have this information. And as a reliable guide to available budgets, look at the job titles of the companies you are targeting. If a company has hired three marketing managers to manage and spend its marketing budget, it is likely to be a decent-sized budget.Leave a Reply
On 26 March 2016 the Information Commissioner issued new guidance on Data Protection and Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations for direct marketing.
The full guidance can be read here https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1555/direct-marketing-guidance.pdf but we’ve extracted the sections for business-to-business marketing and they are shown below:
Business-to-business texts and emails
1. Rules on consent, the soft opt-in and the right to opt out do not apply to electronic marketing messages sent to ‘corporate subscribers’ which means companies and other corporate bodies eg limited liability partnerships, Scottish partnerships, and government bodies. The only requirement is that the sender must identify itself and provide contact details.
2. However, it serves little purpose to send unsolicited marketing messages to those who have gone to the trouble of saying they do not want to receive them.
3. Corporate subscribers do not include sole traders and some partnerships who instead have the same protection as individuals. If an organisation does not know whether a business is a corporate body or not, it cannot be sure which rules apply. Therefore we strongly recommend that organisations respect requests from any business not to email them.
4. In addition, many employees have personal corporate email addresses (eg email@example.com), and individual employees will have a right under section 11 of the DPA to stop any marketing being sent to that type of email address.
1. Sole traders and partnerships may register their numbers with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) in the same way as individual consumers, while companies and other corporate bodies register with the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS). So organisations making business-to-business marketing calls will need to screen against both the TPS and CTPS registers.
The right to opt out
1. Organisations must not make unsolicited marketing calls to a person who has said that they don’t want those calls. In other words, there is a right to opt out, and organisations cannot call someone who has objected to or opted out of marketing calls.
Organisations should not make it difficult to opt out, for example by asking individuals to complete a form or confirm in writing. As soon as an individual has clearly said that they don’t want the calls, they must stop.
2. If an individual objects or opts out at any time, their details should be suppressed as soon as possible. It is important not to simply delete their details entirely, otherwise there is no way of ensuring that the organisation does not call them again.
3. Organisations must not send marketing texts or emails to an individual who has said they do not want to receive them. Individuals have a right to opt out of receiving marketing at any time. Organisations must comply with any written objections promptly to comply with the DPA – but even if there is no written objection, as soon as an individual says they don’t want the texts or emails, this will override any existing consent or soft opt-in under PECR and they must stop.
4. Organisations must not make it difficult to opt out, for example by asking individuals to complete a form or confirm in writing. It is good practice to allow the individual to respond directly to the message – in other words, to use the same simple method as required for the soft opt-in. In any event, as soon as an individual has clearly said that they don’t want the texts or emails, the organisation must stop, even if the individual hasn’t used its preferred method of communication.
5. If an individual objects or opts out at any time, their details should be suppressed from marketing lists as soon as possible. It is important not to simply delete their details entirely, otherwise there is no way of ensuring that the organisation does not contact them again.Leave a Reply
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.Leave a Reply
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.
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EU Regulation On Data Protection Unlikely To Become UK Law Before 2019
Nearly four years into the process, the Council of the European Union has now decided on its negotiating position for the trilogue with the European Parliament and the European Commission. There is now a timetable running to December 2015, during which representatives from the Council, the Parliament and the Commission will come together to decide on the final wording of the new EU-wide data protection regulation. This means that if they stick to this timetable, which on past form is by no means certain, by the end of 2015 we should know how the new regulations will affect direct marketers in the UK.
Among the controversial questions still to be thrashed out are:
What is the precise definition of ‘personal data’?
How will the ‘right to be forgotten’ work in practice?
What exactly is meant by the ‘legitimate interest’ of data controllers? Does this include marketing? And if it does, does it include any or all of consumer marketing, B2B marketing, online marketing and offline marketing?
Must consent be ‘explicit’ or not?
Will compulsory data breach notification apply to minor breaches or just high risk breaches?
Will all businesses be required to have a data protection officer?
What happens if EU data protection rules conflict with a non-EU country’s data protection rules?
While we might know what the new regulations will be by the end of 2015, they are unlikely to be adopted into EU law before mid-2016. In fact the Information Commissioner’s Office now estimates that the two year run-in period before the regulations become compulsory can realistically be expected to start at the end of 2016, meaning that they will not be enforced in the UK before the beginning of 2019.Leave a Reply
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.
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‘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
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Last month we talked about how using de-duping and appending services can refresh your mailing lists, cutting down on marketing costs every time you email the list.
This time, more detail on the different ways of updating a mailing list.
Below is a four-step process we can follow with your marketing data and you can bow out of the process at any point, thereby controlling your spend but always ending up with a better list than when you started.
1. First up is the cheapest: verifying at 5p per contact. You email over your data, we run it against our up-to-date mailing lists and are left with two files. The first is of data that we know to be correct; the second is of data that did not match our own and so may be incorrect. We put the first file aside as ‘good data’.
2. We run the second file of suspect data against our Leavers Database, a database of 150,000 company directors and managers who have left a job since 2007. This cuts the file down to size again and is charged at 5p per removed contact. We know these contacts are incorrect, so these are discarded. You might consider telephone research to update these records, if your campaign deadlines and marketing budget allow.
3. Missing data fields; if the mailing list file is missing contact names, email addresses or phone numbers, we can add those in. Price 40p per new contact name. Or if we do not have the missing names, we can telephone the companies and research the new contact for you for £1.50 per name.
4. More contacts please: by now your file is looking fitter but smaller and is probably missing some key players. Brief us on the types of companies and job titles you are looking for and we’ll run a search on our database. We’ll find extra contacts that fit your brief. Naturally, we’ll run our data against yours so that you only pay for the new contacts added. Price 40p per addition.
So what are the downsides to this process. Firstly we are only using computers. No de-dupe software can pick up every error that your own human eye can pick up. The question is, would you rather wade through the data yourself, or give the job to a computer? A human eye, a sharp telephone researcher and a data inputter will get you closer to your perfect list, but will take far more time and budget.
There is no such thing as the perfect list (even if you do the work yourself). If you are a perfectionist, use a de-duping and appending service as a starting point and then scrutinise the data yourself, making corrections and taking out people and companies that you do not wish to contact, before you use it. At this point you might hire someone to telephone research the list for you. We can do this for £1.50 per contact.
Our final (and most popular) option is a complete file update. If you’ve bought a mailing list from us within the previous 12 months, you can ask for the same specification and pay a reduced price:
List bought within last 6 months 75% discount of total price
List bought within last 12 months 50% discount of total price.
Our page on de-duping and appending mailing lists gives you more details. Or to take us up on any of these data services, call David Evans on 020 7419 7999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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I want to buy a mailing list but I don’t want to pay for the contacts I already have. How complicated is appending and de-duping?
No one likes to waste money paying for the same thing twice. But if you already have data, how can you add to it without paying for the same contacts again?
Appending is a useful service which mailing list companies offer. It has its limitations but it can save time and budget and it allows you to quickly refresh the data you already have, without spending budget needlessly.
But, it is not something that you can do in your office on your PC. You have to trust your mailing list supplier with your data and allow the data company full access to it. Mailing list companies are happy to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements if you are worried that a mailing list company might take your data and sell it on (but any established company won’t – by your own admission your data is out of date, so why would they want it?).
So the first step is to email over the data to your list supplier.
The second step is to accept that mailing list companies are only using computers and matching software. Your human eye will pick up more errors in the list than the computer which only has fuzzy logic in its armoury. The question is, would you rather wade through the data yourself, or give the job to a computer? A human eye will get you closer to your perfect list, but will take far more time and effort.
The key problem we face in not achieving perfect lists is that your old data might have out of date or incorrect company names. Without a match on a company name, matching software cannot work to its maximum capacity. An example of a non-match is your database has M&S plc which does not match our Marks & Spencer plc. Without a match, the software does not see the two records as the same company and skips the record without making the correction or appending the data. It becomes an unknown.
So for best results, quickly run your eye over the data, paying particular attention to company names and updating the ones you know to be incorrect. If your data contains the company names CityLink (no longer trading), Cadbury (now Mondelez) and Lloyds TSB Bank (now split into Lloyds Banking Group and TSB Bank), these will not be matched and so cannot be corrected. If you want to keep up to date with the big mergers and acquisitions see our page of M&A News here or subscribe to the Electric Business blog.
When you email your data to us, we can run your data though all or any of these processes:
- Verify your data
- Remove known incorrect contacts using our Leavers Database
- Add in any missing email addresses or phone numbers (appending)
- Add in new contact names and companies that are missing from the list
The next blog will explain these processes in more detail, but whatever you choose you will end up with a leaner, fitter file of data and you won’t have spent budget on a brand new list.
We have a menu of appending and updating services for your mailing lists and email lists here.Leave a Reply