Four steps to follow when choosing a list

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Craig Conard
Craig Conard

You can only go to the well so many times. Even the greatest campaign for the best product, with the most attractive offer and creative collateral, will fall flat if you're not reaching high quality, new business prospects. If you're seeing a decrease in response and an increase in opt-outs, your lists are probably oversaturated. You know you need fresh ammunition. What should you do?



1. Identify suitable brokers. Find brokers who manage files that match your desired target audience in terms of company size, industry, geography, desired type of contact, job title, function and purchasing authority of influence. Obtain counts from your identified brokers to determine if their counts support the mass volume your b-to-b marketing program requires. Match rental options, including email, direct mail and phone, to your go-to-market strategy. Determine how the brokers' lists are collected.


2. Test their lists. Tell the list manager upfront that you intend to run competitive tests before agreeing to a long-term purchase agreement. Agree to terms, and then select three lists that match your criteria. Provide the broker with a list of the types of people you do not want in your target audience.


3. Measure results. Evaluate your email data using the key metrics of open rates, hard and soft bounces, opt-in rates and leads. Based on two-call attempts to each record, evaluate your phone data. Remember that even respondents who aren't interested are valuable. If your list does contain the right people, you may just need to reach them in a different way or with a different business offer.


4. Select your vendor. Once you've aggregated the data, you'll have a solid foundation for making your selection. Monitor your ongoing response rates to gauge how effectively the list company invests in continuously cleaning its files. If you see diminishing returns from your list purchase, I recommend 
repeating tests and your selection process annually.

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