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The dos and don’ts of third party list purchase

July 23, 2012

When planning an email campaign it’s always good practice to use data you’ve gathered internally.  However sometimes businesses simply do not have enough data to ‘kick start’ their email marketing and require additional records from a third party for their efforts to be worthwhile. There will always be instances when acquiring an additional data list will be useful, such as:

  • A customer acquisition campaign
  • For special introductory offers
  • When entering into new markets
  • Generating a viral campaign
  • Creating social media campaigns

If you are considering sending any of the above then you may wish to invest in a third party list to get the most out of your email campaign. It’s easy to be skeptical about purchasing data but whether you are expanding into new markets or looking to contact people similar to your existing customers, this guide can help you through the process.

Profiling your target audience

When looking to acquire data you need to think about the type of people you want to contact in detail otherwise known as profiling. It is better to have a smaller and more targeted list than to purchase a huge list where many contacts are not relevant.
In terms of data records, as an absolute minimum you should request first name, last name, email address fields. The more information about the individual you request, the more you should expect to pay. Think about what additional information you may need to follow up the email campaign – do you intend to do a ring around or a direct mail shot? If so you will you need telephone numbers or postal addresses too.
Some additional profile fields you might like specify in your data request could be:

  • Industry
  • Job role/position
  • Company turnover
  • Size of company
  • Location

This valuable information will really help you make your campaigns more targeted and personalised and allow for a better informed follow up strategy.

Data Quality

Depending on your budget you can purchase almost any kind of list. Be wary of brokers who offer lists that seem too good to be true as you really do get what you pay for when it comes to data. Where possible work with a DMA member or a recommended supplier and be prepared to pay for quality. A lot of people worry about the cost of the data, but think of it as an investment: the sales made directly from the campaign cover the cost of the data purchase.

B2B - You may need to pay more for a small set of well profiled records, but you are likely to get a much better return.

B2C - You will need a larger list for it to pay for itself and where possible perhaps look to buy specialist data (eg. members of a specific organisation, subscribers to a trade magazine) and always ensure that it is fully ‘opt in’.  

Questions to ask

No matter what kind if data you are buying there are some specific questions you should ask the data owner before you proceed:

  • Be clear of the terms of agreement with the data owner and how many times you can use it
  • Make sure that the data owner has obtained consent from the individuals to pass their emails onto 3rd parties
  • Understand when and how was the data was collected, so you can be prepared to answer any queries
  • How do they ensure people are giving the correct information?
  • How old is the data?
  • How often is the list used for 3rd party mailings? What other types of organisations have rented the lists previously?
  • What is their privacy statement/policy?
  • What is the minimum order value?  Could you purchase a smaller sample to test the water first?

Creating your campaign

When sending to a 3rd party list, all the normal rules of creating a campaign still apply. Take extra time to construct it and make the most of your branding as recipients many not be familiar with your business or the service you offer. Investing some time at this initial stage will help you gain a better return from your data. Don't forget to:

  • De-dupe the data against your own in-house ‘do not email’ list
  • Explain where the permission for the email was obtained
  • Consider using a different IP address to protect your email reputation
  • Include clear subscribe / unsubscribe links

Return on Investment

Analysing your open and click rates can be a good measure. If you get a low click rate but everyone who clicks purchases, then this is much better than a high click through rate with no one purchasing at all. However it is easy to focus on opens and clicks rather than the aim of the campaign. Like with any other type of campaign always be clear of your objectives and what you are trying to achieve from the outset. Gaining exposure, opening the door for a conversation with someone at a company or getting them to sign up to receive more email communications from you is a great outcome.

At Extravision we can support you in purchasing any additional data for your email marketing campaigns that you require. We work with some excellent brokers who can provide you with an appropiate list – just give us a call on 0161 817 2929 or email [email protected] to find out more.
For more details information about lead generation and 3rd party lists visit - http://www.dma.org.uk/toolkit/three-lead-gen-options-building-databases
For more information about data protection

Posted by Jenni Malley

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