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company might take your data and sell it on (but any established company won’t – by your own admission your data is out of date, so why would they want it?).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The key problem we face in not achieving perfect lists is that your old data might have out of date or incorrect company names.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.
When you’re thinking of buying a mailing list, the first criterion is usually type of company – legal firms, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers, retailers. Then you might think geography – UK wide or local? And then obviously you want to target a decision-maker so you may choose managing director/someone senior.
But you can really target your list (and therefore pay less for it by buying less data) by considering the most likely job title your target will have.
If you email the managing director, you assume that he will pass your information down to the relevant person in the company. While this is a reasonable view when targeting companies of say, under 50 people, for larger firms (and it is larger firms who have the largest budgets) you need a more targeted approach.
If you are currently dealing with smaller companies where the managing director buys your product and you wish to tap into the more generous budgets of larger companies, discuss with your team which departments in a company usually use your product and contact the managers of those departments directly.
If your typical buyers span two departments you may need to send two e-shots ie marketing software can be bought by the marketing director and the IT director working together, so email the heads of both departments.
The most senior decision maker for a function does not always have a ‘director’ job title. For example, many firms don’t have an IT guy sitting on the board; they have a Head of IT who reports in to the finance director. You can ask a mailing list company to select IT directors and where there is no IT director, then select an IT manager contact.
A word of warning on job titles; some mailing list providers offer ‘the name of the person responsible for’ marketing, HR, IT, training, facilities etc. This is not always a manager with a budget and in a small company, you might buy the email address of the director’s PA or an office manager.
If you are buying a mailing list of medium to large-sized companies and are looking for a list of say, marketing managers, be sure to check that their job titles are just that. Ask the mailing list company for a sample of the data and a preview file of the companies and job titles you are buying. If a company does not have a marketing function, it is often a clear signal that they do not run ongoing marketing campaigns. You are likely to be wasting budget chasing after a company that does not engage in marketing if you are offering marketing services.
On the other hand even large companies simply will not have the specialist job title you are looking for. Fleet managers, sponsorship managers, market research manager, travel managers, diversity managers, sustainability managers, IT security – these are all functions that may have a dedicated person or may fall into someone else’s remit. Again, ask the mailing list company to select, say diversity managers and where there is no one with that job title, select HR director or HR manager.
You can see a full list of the 121 mailing lists of job titles offered by Electric Marketing here
Now that it’s common practice for email list suppliers to offer money-back guarantees on emails which do not reach the target’s inbox, you might find yourself sifting through returned emails, wondering what sort of bounce back will get a refund and what the mailing list company will refuse.
Here are Electric Marketing’s definitions:
Hard Bounce – you have the wrong email address. Check the spelling of the person’s name, the company name, that the address has an @ and a proper ending. It is easy to type .con instead of .com. Or the person has changed their email or left the company. If you have bought the list, email your list provider with all the addresses which hard bounced and get a refund. If you’ve bought your mailing list from Electric Marketing, we’ll correct the addresses we can (we phone all the companies on your list), send you the corrected email addresses and refund you for the remainder.
Soft Bounce – your email has hit a server which is down. Your software will probably try to send it again during the next 24 hours. If it doesn’t get through, try again the following week. The soft bounce is much less common than it was 10 years ago which I put down to better performing servers and technology. But a broken server is not the fault of your list supplier, so there is no refund on this one.
Access Denied – if your email bounces back with this heading, your email has been blocked by a spam filter. Again this is not the fault of your email list supplier but you can often fix this problem by looking at the message you sent and seeing which elements triggered the spam software to give your email a high spam score.
Filters work by giving each individual message a ‘spam score’. Marked out of ten, the higher the score, the more likely your message will be put in the spam filter. You no doubt use a spam filter yourself and know that you can choose the degree to which you set your filter, high, medium or low. The inboxes which reject your e-shot have their filters set to high, which means that even emails which get a relatively low spam score will be rejected.
For advice on writing an email which will evade a high spam score, see our page on Email Deliverability but the top 5 things to remember are
1. No hyperbole. Limit use of exclamation marks, capital letters and repetition.
2.Try not put too many links in the email. This is a characteristic of spammers. Balance the number of links to the amount of text.
3.Try not use images that contain text as this also is a characteristic of spammers. Filters cannot read text in images, so the spammer will hide his FREE MONEY BACK GUARANTEE in an image. Spam filters now filter out emails with images that contain text.
4. It is best not to send the email as one big HTML image. Balance the number of images to the amount of text.
5.Try not talk about lots of money. Big prices give you a big score by the spam filter.
Of course, rules are made to be broken.
You might find that you get a better response to your email by using lots of images or lots of links. And that on balance, it is better to live with a higher percentage of returned emails in order to make more sales to the people whose filters accepted your email. Bear in mind that the person who sets their filter to the highest level might not be your best sales prospect.
With the EU eager to ring the death knell for one-to-one marketing and bloggers on the web shouting that cold emailing doesn’t work, we look at new ways to cut through the information overload and reach the unresponsive corporate executive.
Post is too expensive, no one takes telesales calls anymore and gmail-type filters put all your cold email shots into the ‘cold email shot’ file which your target corporate executive never opens. How can you get your message in front of your target – the senior executive with a serious corporate budget?
The bad news: people exaggerate on LinkedIn. That head of marketing for a hot tech start up; it’s a guy in his bedroom in his Mum’s house with a great website and big plans. But he hasn’t got a budget, so he’s no use to you.
More bad news: people don’t update their profile on LinkedIn or they forget their password and the email address they used to sign up is defunct and so is the company that issued the email, so they can’t access the account and they are forever listed as head of marketing for Woolworths. So they start a new account. LinkedIn is littered with abandoned profiles.
But the good news is that LinkedIn is full of people in big companies with heavy responsibilities and big budgets to match them. It is just a matter of identifying the right people.
Using a researched mailing list to identify the people you want to target and find them on LinkedIn overcomes the site’s drawbacks. You can make contact either by requesting to connect (free) or using the InMail service. Either way you know you are putting efforts into starting a conversation with a relevant prospect for your business.
Twitter is a great place for driving traffic to your website. But you want the right people going on your site, so use a targeted, researched mailing list to identify the people you want as clients and start by following them.
Your targets may follow you back, but if you follow them, Twitter allows you to respond to their tweets. Strike up a conversation, maybe just retweet one of their posts or reply to a tweet with a simple ‘I agree’ or ‘great idea’. If you’re feeling timid, just favouriting one of their tweets will get your name in front of them. Most tweeters have their Twitter account set so that they get an email every time someone follows them, favourites a tweet, replies to a tweet or mentions their Twitter name in a tweet.
There you are, your name in their inbox and not in the spam filter. And you’ve said something nice about them, publicly. Who doesn’t respond to a compliment in their inbox?
And if all this chat about tweets, posts and retweets sounds complicated, read the Electric Marketing guide to using Twitter in business-to-business marketing.
Trigger marketing or event-driven marketing usually refers to consumer marketing but by focusing on key moments in a company’s life, you can use trigger-marketing in marketing to business. You can increase your sales by contacting companies when they are likely to be hiring new suppliers.
The hiring of a chief executive can mark the start of a new chapter in a corporate’s life.
A new chief executive is expected to make changes to the way things are done at a company but the saying that ‘a new broom sweeps clean’ also applies to departmental directors and managers heading up teams. In many corporate cultures it is essential to look busy and not accept the status quo. An ambitious new hiring needs to get noticed; he will often fire suppliers and bring in new partners with fresh ideas.
And this is the time to get your business card, your website or your LinkedIn profile, in front of the new manager to make sure that you are on the pitch list.
As well as being timely, you can make your initial communication relevant to the prospect, maybe offer congratulations on the new job.
Electric Marketing tracks new appointments in a series of monthly updates, giving you contact details of newly appointed managers and directors in the high-spending departments of large UK companies.
We focus on the people who are likely to be buying in services: chief executive, marketing director, HR director, finance director, IT director , sales director, CRM manager and training manager. Once a month, we email our subscribers a list of all the new appointments we have identified (we phone every company on the list a few days beforehand) with their full contact details. At just £355 for 12 datafiles, one every month for a year, it is the most effective information for b2b trigger marketing campaigns available.
We offer ten lists of new appointments, every month, each one focusing on a corporate department. See the full range of new appointments mailing lists here.
By being in the right place at the right time, you can win business.
Read more about trigger marketing.
Trigger Marketing for B2B Marketers: Tie Your Marketing Communications Into Key Events In A Company’s Life
As anyone who has ever done cold-calling and appointment setting will tell you, it is difficult to penetrate the mind-set of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. How can you sell into a company which is embedded with another supplier? Sometimes you just get lucky and your cold call hits the buyer when there is trouble with the existing supplier – a price rise, a delayed job – and the buyer is in the mood to make a change.
You can increase your new business success rate by contacting companies when they are likely to be hiring new suppliers.
We’ve identified a company merger or acquisition as being a key moment in a corporate’s life for hiring new suppliers.
When a company buys or merges with another company, it triggers a change in its purchasing habits. It may buy in services to help it cope with the challenge of merging or absorbing the new corporation. The company may not have all the experience it needs to deal with new issues the merger is throwing up. This is when it looks to outsource and when, by being in the right place at the right time, you can win business.
As well as being timely, you can make your communication relevant to the prospect. You can grab their interest in the first line by talking about their company’s situation. Instead of presenting your excellent credentials, you can explain how your company’s expertise can help them; either by removing a problem from their in-tray or by taking their business forward.
Electric Marketing tracks merger and acquisition activity in M&A News. M&A News isn’t just a list of mergers and acquisitions; it gives you contact details for the key personnel in the companies involved so that you can make your pitch at a time when the company is in a state of flux and momentous change.
M&A News focuses on the people who are likely to be buying in services: chief executive, marketing director, HR director, finance director, IT director and legal director. At just £145 for 12 datafiles, one every month for a year, it is the cheapest information for trigger marketing campaigns available. See M&A News for details.
There’s more about trigger marketing on Electric Marketing’s website
Yes they are all big brands with a solid British heritage, but they are no longer in British hands. All of these brands have received major investment from Asia and are majority Asian-owned.
If you can see a business opportunity targeting companies with overseas parent companies, Electric Marketing now offers mailing lists with email addresses sorted by nationality of parent company.
We have lists of companies operating in the UK owned by Chinese, French, German, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Scandinavian, South Korean and US companies. The lists don’t just feature British brands but brands from those countries with a market presence in the UK such as EDF (France), BMW (Germany), Honda (Japan) and Samsung (South Korea),
We don’t believe any other UK mailing list company offers this as a selection criteria.
The mailing lists are ideal for any company focusing its marketing efforts on multinational corporations; from international marketing and advertising agencies to multilingual market research teams, from translation agencies, international relocation agents and business language training schools to companies offering legal advice on visa and immigration issues.
As with all Electric Marketing mailing lists, all data has been checked within the last 4 months by calling the companies and checking that the information we have is spelt correctly and is up-to-date.
See how many contacts we have for each country or region and order your lists on these pages. There is no extra charge for using this marker as a selection criteria.
Are you interested in companies from other nations? Email email@example.com and we’ll put your chosen country at the top of our research list and get back to you within the week with a quote.
For 30 years the UK Government has pursued a policy of attracting inward investment. From the Nissan factory in Sunderland to the new owners of Land Rover (Indian car maker Tata Motors) and owners of Ribena and Lucozade (Japanese Suntory), overseas companies have invested heavily in UK manufacturing.
In recent years House of Fraser has sold an 89% stake to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower before coming back under UK ownership, while high streets host overseas retailers Muji and Uniqlo (Japan), Zara and Mango (Spain) and H&M (Sweden). Wind back to the 1980s and the high street looked quite different.
Each company that comes to the UK to do business brings its own culture, language and ways of working. If your company offers services to overseas companies in the UK or if you can offer a particular understanding of a nation’s culture and sensibility, you might want to target companies by the nationality of their parent company.
This week, we’re adding a new marker to our mailing and email lists; you can now select companies by country of origin. So far we can offer companies who originate from or whose parent company is based in Japan
But we’ll be adding India, China, South Africa, Brazil and USA plus any other country of origin for which there is client demand. Just email Robert at electricmarketing.co.uk with the nation which interests you.
These lists are ideal for business language schools, translation services, visa and immigration lawyers, international relocation advisers and M&A advisers or any company that wishes to target companies whose parent company is not based in the UK.
If you are using these mailing lists, it is best not to specify a turnover band or number of employees limit. Mostly these companies do not publish annual sales for the UK only or give details of employee numbers country by country. Their annual reports feature Europe-wide or even worldwide sales figures which we don’t record.
Suffice to say that if a Japanese, US, Chinese or Indian company is in the UK, it is a big company with budget to spend and worthy of your marketing team’s attention.
Spot the odd one out: SW SE NW NE WC EC
A young graduate was given the job of appointment setting for the marketing director who wanted to ‘touch base with our London clients’ and have a few lunches in Soho. The Cambridge graduate selects a list of London clients using these postcodes and gets down to making the phone calls. He makes four appointments and proudly hands the marketing director the lunching schedule.
“Newcastle! Why am I spending Thursday afternoon in Newcastle!” yells the director.
Rest of team sniggers; the trainee assumed that if London has postcodes for South West, North West and South East, it also has one for North East London. It doesn’t – NE1 is the postcode for central Newcastle.
If you’ve put the time in selecting your mailing lists by postcode, you probably have a postcode map of your local area in your head. But if not, here’s a link to the Electric Marketing postcode map, for you to bookmark www.electricmarketing.co.uk/map.html
Selecting mailing lists by postcode may seem laborious and nerdy, but it does save time and budget if you are buying data for a campaign inviting people to an event. Admit to yourself that however triumphant your breakfast seminar, few executives from Exeter will make the trip to Manchester for breakfast. So don’t bother mailing or emailing them. Save your budget, look at the postcode map and only invite companies from within a certain radius. You don’t need to get into numbered postcode districts for business marketing – that really is nerdy – using the first letters of the postcode is usually enough. You won’t send out as many invitations, but your response rate will be more impressive and you will save budget on data, print and postage or ebroadcasting.
For (almost impartial) advice on buying and selecting mailing lists, see our guide How To Buy Mailing Lists For Email & Telemarketing Campaigns
I have always accepted the industry standard that business-to-business data decays at a rate of 30% a year and good sceptic that I am, assumed that the data industry was talking this up to encourage repeat orders.
Last week, we were pricing a list research project for a client and we happened to put this to the test.
We took a data file from June 2013, ran the exact same search again, compared the two files and found that 50% of the records had changed. Whether this was companies moving offices, email address changes, new phone numbers and most often, people switching jobs, we found that over the course of a year, this file of Electric Marketing data had decayed at a rate of 50%. Can’t be right (there’s that sceptic again), so we tested another, larger file of data. Same result. We tested a third file. Same result.
Why are we so far off the industry standard?
Theory One: the industry standard has not been tested since before the dawn of email. Email addresses are changed more frequently than postal addresses and these are pushing the rate of decay up from 30% to 50%. This was my first thought but I reckon that our more profit-focused competitors will have tested their rate of data decay within the last 12 years and I assume found no change in the rate of 30% data decay.
Theory Two: The focus of Electric Marketing email data is on large, dynamic businesses where staff are promoted and switch jobs more frequently; where merger and acquisition activity makes for more office moves, company name changes and email address changes. Dynamic companies where change is frequent make good sales prospects as they are receptive to new ideas and changing suppliers.
Theory Three: 30% is an industry average which would include all the micro-businesses employing under 5 people. They are characterised by people setting up a business and running it for 30 years until they retire; change in these businesses runs at a slower pace – they may still be dynamic businesses but the contact details for the MD are likely to remain static for longer periods. These small businesses are not included on Electric Marketing’s datafile.
Theory Four: The changes to our data included all the new managers and directors we had added to the data file over the year. Our cycle of updating and researching new names is more aggressive than other data providers.
So the bad news is that if you bought a file of data from Electric Marketing in summer 2013, half of it is probably incorrect. And this likely applies to any data you hold on large businesses.
If you’d like to fix this, Electric Marketing offers 50% discount on any list which you have bought within the last 12 months. But if you are reading this thinking about buying new data, consider our LeadStream service where we alert you to changes in email addresses on your datafile and send you new contacts that we’ve added to your datafile every month. See http://www.electricmarketing.co.uk/leadstream.html