Your best performing list in email marketing is your client list and second to that is your list of enquirers and people who have shown an interest in the recent past. But if you are looking for new business and a list of prospects is not readily available from a mailing list supplier, you might research the information yourself.
We've been researching business mailing lists for 25 years and while we'll happily take on list research projects to your specification, we've compiled our top ten tips for mailing list research.
1. Start by compiling a list of companies you wish to target. If you're not sure, look at your current client list and start looking for similar companies. Either companies in similar industries or of a similar size.
2. You no doubt have in mind the responsibility of the person in a company who is likely to buy your product ie person responsible for _____. Think about the job title they are likely to have. If you're not sure, look at the job titles of your current clients.
3. Start by searching the web for people with that job title. LinkedIn.com is good but also look at the trade websites for that particular industry and search for articles on business websites which will often quote senior people, giving their name and position within the company. Look for their responsibilities and check that you've identified the right job title.
No two companies are structured in the same way and there are likely to be two or three options and job titles which overlap responsibility eg training manager, leadership development manager, workforce development manager, staff development and management development managers may all be responsible for buying in training courses. The finance director and the IT director will both have a say in the accounting software a company buys.
4. When you have some names and company names, start searching the web for the addresses and phone numbers of the companies. Go to the company's own website to make sure that you get the trading address where staff are based, rather than the company's registered address which websites such as Companies House and DueDil list. It is now a legal requirement that all companies have their address on their website and it is usually on the Contact Us page.
5. Now you have your calling list and it's time to pick up the phone, check that the information you have found on the web is correct and ask for the email addresses of the people you wish to contact. Expect a fair proportion of data found on the web to be incorrect. You must explain why you want the email address and how it will be used. Be polite, professional and clear.
6. You may be able to verify contact information with the receptionist but be prepared for them to be hurried and abrupt if your information is horribly out of date. Ask to be put through to the department or, if your target is at a senior level, to the person's PA.
7. If you have not been able to find any names on the internet, your task is more difficult. Some companies are happy to give out staff names and email addresses over the phone but there is an increasing trend to refuse all requests for names and emails unless you give a good account of yourself.
8. Have your sales pitch ready in your head. You can expect receptionists to put you straight through to any number of people. Some of them will be happy to chat, others not so much.
9. If you are handing this job to a junior person in your team, keep an eye on how the work is progressing hour to hour. As your research progresses you will learn more from conversations with companies as to who is responsible for what and hints as to the buying processes of your target companies. You might want to change the approach as you go along. It is easier to correct your own assumptions about other companies early in the project.
10. Electric Marketing offers a List Research Service. Prices are between £1.50 to £3 per contact name and email address found. If we can't get the information, there is no charge to you. Just send us your list of target companies or even just an industry sector and job responsibility and we'll research your prospect list for you and email it over to you. Recent projects have included:
- a list of school improvement managers in local councils
- a list of sales directors who sell to the public sector
- a list of people responsible for IT in small ecommerce companies which are unlikely to have an IT director
To commission your perfect prospect list, call Robert Bingham or David Evans on 020 7419 7999 or email email@example.com