Cheap Mailing Lists: More Stress – Less Value!

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With my experience in the direct marketing industry I know all too well that not all mailing lists are equal. In our time we’ve probably all been tempted or caught out by these cheap lists.

Data lists are no different from any other product – you generally get just what you pay for, and no more. There are vast differences between the types and quality of lists available in our industry. Your choice will have a significant effect on the ROI you see from your campaigns.

Issues with a poor mailing list:

If you purchase a cheap (therefore poor quality) mailing list, it is likely to:

  • Have largely out of date and inaccurate contact detailsCheap Mailing Lists: More Stress - Less Value!
  • Not match your target market and may be inappropriate to your audience
  • Include duplicate records
  • Not have been cleansed against industry suppression files including Gone-Away and Bereavement Registers
  • Not have been updated recently
  • Affect your reputation with your ESP (if email data), potentially resulting in black listing and issues with your IP
  • Cost you more in the long run!

Shouldn’t I buy lists at all?

Because of the issues these cheap, poor quality lists cause, it is increasingly implied in ESP and marketing industry blogs that you should never purchase a list, but always build and use your own in-house lists instead. We appreciate that is not always feasible.

The reality is that suppliers of those cheap lists can and do taint the name and credibility of reputable list suppliers and brokers, and that purchasing lists can in fact be incredibly cost-effective and extremely beneficial.

If your list is sourced from a reputable and credible data supplier, they can help you purchase a list that is not only of exceptional quality, but also accurately reflects your target market and ideal audience.

This can save you a considerable amount of time and money, and will allow sales and marketing professionals within your organisation to focus on what they do best. Direct Marketing is regularly proven to be an effective way of marketing, and reaching your ideal target market, and in many cases makes up a significant percentage of new business acquisition.

Purchasing good quality data and saving time and money also increases ROI.

Cheap Data = False Economy

Now it’s easy to see why many companies and marketers think “Half a Million contacts for £500, that’s £1 per thousand contacts – contacts that I can now tell about my business and products. That’s surely worth a try.”

Compare that to maybe £200 per thousand for a good data list from a reputable supplier, and the comparison may indeed make some feel that even if the cheap option produces a much lower response rate, you could still do well, even perhaps make a profit.

The issue here is campaigns using the cheaper option will almost always return no leads at all and the ROI of no leads is always 0% - even if you spent only £500!

With email data, if reputation is affected and IPs are blocked as a result, you may also be negatively affecting delivery of campaigns to your existing customers. Sometimes the outcome can be even worse, with additional costs involved in resolving the issues brought on by buying a cheap list; suddenly you realise that you could have spent less and avoided all that hassle, by purchasing from that credible supplier.

So a cheap list may seem like better value initially, but when the return is likely to be 0% there is no value whatsoever! Also, consider the budget you will waste on postage, email or telemarketing costs, processing and trying to contact a list of half a million, largely comprised of out-of-date or inappropriate contacts initially.

  • Have you ever had your fingers burnt buying cheap data?
  • Are you struggling to build your own in-house list?