List 101 – The Most Important Element in Demand Generation

List 101 – The Most Important Element in Demand Generation

In demand generation nothing is more important than your list.   No matter what your offer, creative, timing, format, content, etc., if you aren’t speaking to the right person, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Here is a checklist to use when building, buying or renting a list.

  1. Get deliverable names.    There is always some waste on lists, but you should do everything to make sure that your list is as accurate as possible.  That way you can correctly size your audience and predict return.   And it helps with deliverability – bad addresses and bounces are red flags to ISPs who can blacklist you.  For postal mailings, accurate data means less waste of postage and production.
  2. Get accurate information.  Make sure names are spelled correctly, that street addresses are complete, that titles and companies are the right ones.  This is particularly important if your list is built by your sales team or at a retail or branch location.   Training is vital – train your team to get correct data no matter how rushed they are or if they think the data is only for their own use.
  3. Get all the data you need.  If you only sell to certain types of businesses or certain titles, make sure to get that information so you can focus on your key prospects.   If you segment leads by territory, get geo info.  If you want to call or email a prospect, make sure you ask for phone or email.   Don’t be afraid that asking for all of the elements you need will mean fewer people fill out your landing pages.  If you can’t easily market to them, do you really care if you lose a few?
  4. Get segmentable data so you can vary your offers to make your contact more meaningful.    Can you segment by industry, size of company, title, product interest?  What would make your communication more relevant and interesting for your prospect?
  5. Keep recency of engagement data.  Remove hard bounces.   And after a few tries, remove soft bounces too.   If a prospect hasn’t engaged (meaning opened an email or clicked on a link) in a while, consider sending an email asking if they want to stay on your list.   While you might lose some names, there’s no reason to continue to contact folks who aren’t going to buy.
  6. Get quality over quantity.  A large database sounds like a good thing, but if the names are not in your target audience or are unresponsive, they’re not of any value.   Be brutal when you set the criteria for your list and pare things down to the most valuable names.
  7. Make sure your list is accessible.   Ideally, your list is housed somewhere where you can submit queries for counts and where you can easily pull names for email blasts or postal mailings.
  8. Get geographic information.  Even if you only market via email, getting geographical information helps.   Eventually, you may want to version by language or by territory or special offers.  Plus you need this information to remain compliant with local SPAM laws.
  9. Evaluate sources carefully.  There are a lot of places to buy or rent names, but not all of them are credible and it’s not unusual to get data that isn’t worth what you spend.   Review the company’s website, get references and ask for evaluation names to review before you buy or rent.
  10. Ensure the list isn’t over used.  Whether it’s an internal list or one you rent, more use means lower response.    Set firm boundaries on the cadence of communication.   As always, testing for the sweet spot is the way to go, but use no more than once every two weeks for a B2B offer and once a week for B2C to start.

Need help finding lists or building a killer one yourself?  I can help!


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