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Data Strategy for B2C Contacts

February 15, 2013

What’s the best source for B2C data? With no shortage of reputable companies offering quality lists, buying a targeted list that matches your criteria might seem like a good option. However, whilst quality lists can be very successful for B2B selling, is it the same when it comes to B2C lists?
The problem is that each individual on a B2C list is exactly that – an individual. Say your target audience is people of high net worth, ages 35 – 50, in the South of England.  Would buying such a list give you a good ROI? You can’t know enough about each individual to tell whether they are a strong prospect, but you’re paying for the email address regardless. 
This is quite different from B2B selling, where detailed company information enables you to narrow down the field far more.  Also, people tend to have one work email address whereas they could possibly have many personal email addresses and check some more often than others. 
If you do go down the route of buying opt-in B2C addresses, buy a small sample first and ask for list vendor recommendations within the industry.   However if you decide that’s not going to work for you, but you need to find fresh, relevant B2C contacts, what options are available to you? 
A list of people who have bought one of your products or otherwise expressed an interest in what you offer will always outperform a bought list. 
If you have a bricks and mortar business, ensure that you’re continuing to get emails for as many people who walk through the door as possible.  Equally; check that your website is geared up to encourage all new visitors to engage in some way and leave their email address.  Don’t ask them for their postal address and date of birth, just keep it simple with email and first name or email address only.  
If you offer a specialist service or product you could also offer membership to a club or user group where you can offer tips and advice, organise events etc.  Providing information or a chance for followers to get involved will always be of interest.  By presenting yourself as a source of knowledge, they will therefore be likely to provide you with their details and also to buy from you as a trusted supplier.  
To get a good prospect list to retail to, you may have to be a little more inventive. If you’re a local business make sure you’ve got a presence at relevant events where people may sign up.  If you’re nationwide or just online then get your name out there by doing guest blogs, sponsoring relevant online newsletters etc. to get in front of, and hopefully get the details of, potential customers. 
By building your own list, you’re focusing not on random individuals but on likely prospects – and that’s what brings in business.

Posted by Jenni Malley

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