Electric Marketing Blog

Mailing List of Living Wage Employers

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 £7.83 (The rate for workers aged 21-24 is £7.38 per hour, and for 18-20 year olds it is £5.90 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 £8.75 an hour (£10.20 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.

Mailing list of companies paying the Living Wage

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25 Years In Business-to-Business Database Marketing

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.
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Learning From The Results Of Your Email Campaigns

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 data protection regulations – Update

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.

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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.

  1. 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”.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Many Is Too Many?: Using Email Lists Effectively And Sensibly

‘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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De-duping & Appending Mailing Lists: What Exactly Will You Do With My Marketing Data?

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 lists@electricmarketing.co.uk

 

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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:

  1. Verify your data
  2. Remove known incorrect contacts using our Leavers Database
  3. Add in any missing email addresses or phone numbers (appending)
  4. 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.

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Mailing Lists of the UK’s Largest Companies; Which Companies Really Are In The UK’s Top 100?

How should you define the largest companies in the UK? By annual sales? By numbers of staff? Or do you go by the London Stock Exchange definition and buy a mailing list of the FTSE 100?

How you define your top 100 companies should depend on who you are contacting within the company and the product you are marketing. If you are targeting marketing directors, finance directors and CEOs, choose a list of the companies with the highest annual sales; generally speaking, the higher the turnover, the larger the purchasing budget.

But if you are selling to the HR, training, facilities or IT departments, buy a mailing list where companies are ranked by the number of people they employ. The more people it employs, the greater the budget for training courses, HR software, workstations, IT consumables, vehicles, property services and facilities to serve all those people working on the company’s premises every day.

Why not use the Stock Market rankings? The financial press ranks companies by market capitalisation which is share price multiplied by number of shares issued. This method excludes too many companies which you would expect to find on a list of the Top 100 Companies. For instance it excludes all privately owned companies, such as Mars Inc, all partnerships such as John Lewis, PwC, Eversheds plus all those companies that run huge operations in the UK but are listed on stock markets overseas such as Apple, Hitachi or McDonald’s.

Financial rankings do include a large number of mining companies, with operations in Africa, Asia and Russia which are using the London Stock Market to raise capital. These companies have very small head offices in the UK, staffed by a handful of people who are not responsible for the company’s main operations and purchasing. The FTSE 100 is no longer a list of UK blue-chip companies.

We’ve compiled our own lists of the UK’s Top 100 Companies.

First we’ve ranked the companies by annual sales and below that, by the number of people they employ.

We use these lists as the basis for our mailing lists of the Top 1,000 Companies. Find out more about our lists of the key players in the UK’s largest 1,000 companies here

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But why aren’t there more contacts on this mailing list?

We are occasionally, (OK once a week), asked to supply an impossible mailing list.

* 500 employee relations managers in Norfolk

* all the companies in Somerset which employ more than 2,000 people

* 1,000 marketing directors in Weybridge

These lists cannot exist, because there are areas of the UK where industry is concentrated and other areas where there are a handful of large companies. And it is only large companies which employ people with job titles such as employee relations manager and marketing director.

When you are considering how many companies make up your target market, bear in mind some key facts about the UK.

Two-thirds of UK companies are based in London and the South East.

The public sector is the UK’s largest employer; government departments, local councils, police forces, universities and colleges and of course the NHS.

Of the 1.4 million limited companies currently listed as ‘live’ at Companies House, just over 56% have employees.

The Department of Business, Innovation & Skills data defines a large firm as employing over 250 people. In 2013 it estimated that there are just 7,000 ‘large’ firms in the UK.

These 7,000 large firms generate £1.7bn and employ almost 10 million people between them. They are the holders of huge budgets and are excellent targets for your business. But there aren’t that many of them. And if you are based in a remote part of the country, they are few and far between.

When you are briefing your mailing list provider be careful what you ask for. If you ask a mailing list company for something unattainable, a certain type of provider will be tempted to sell you data that doesn’t suit your needs but sort of fits what you asked for.

Read more about buying mailing lists and email lists on the advice section of Electric Marketing’s website.

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