As a core part of the Data HQ team since 2004, David is an expert at unravelling complex data and making sense of intricate client requirements.
Email marketing is a staple of most UK businesses’ contact strategy and is often used for customer acquisition – particularly in the B2B sector.
Central to this activity is the need to buy email lists and in reality this is the most important element to ensure campaigns success. It is therefore vital that marketeers know what questions to ask and understand the UK data marketplace. This guide aims to cover some of the topics that are essential to getting the best B2B mailing list.
1. What are the aims of your campaign?
Email marketing tends to be used to achieve one of three core aims; increase brand awareness, drive sales to an ecommerce platform or create leads for a sales team. Depending on your particular aim this can impact how strict you want the targeting of your campaign to be.
Clearly if the aim is to grow brand awareness then casting the net as wide as possible is crucial. Whereas, if you are looking to drive sales then ROI is critical and you want to ensure you only target genuine prospects for your product or service. Having the right expectations of your email marketing is hugely important.
2. How can data be selected in the UK?
The majority of mailing list providers in the UK will all allow similar ways of selecting the data; the most common being firmographics such as Industry, Employee Size, Location and Job Title.
To really maximise the performance of your email marketing speak to your data provider about propensity modelling or additional data they may hold. Flags around credit worthiness, size of premise/car park can sometimes add additional targeting for your needs.
3. Can you model your existing customer data?
If you hold existing data that can be used to understand prospects propensity to convert this will drastically improve your campaign. By treating prospects on your mailing list individually – and how that is reflected in your existing database – you will stand a much higher chance of success.
Your data supplier should be able to match your existing customers to their universe to then analyse against the various firmographics they hold. The aim here should be to produce a score for every prospect record as opposed to building a list of criteria. This will allow for each prospects specific features to be taken into account, resulting in more effective targeting.
4. Have you de-duped your existing data?
Often overlooked, you should always ensure that your existing data is being de-duped against the email lists that you buy. Why waste money on buying data you already hold?
Data can be de-duped in a variety of ways, so make sure your supplier understands what is prospect data and what is customer data. This can lead to different matching routines based on the confidence you have in your own data.
Whilst the data is being excluded you could even request a free data quality audit to get a view of the accuracy of your mailing list. Carrying out data cleansing on your own data is a great way to reduce wastage and maximise ROI.
5. Is your email marketing platform fit for purpose?
There are lots of choices around your chosen email marketing platform, but make sure that your chosen platform allows for purchased mailing lists to be used. Many companies new to email marketing may choose a low-cost or free option such as Mail Chimp.
Although these are often great tools for using with your own mailing lists that have been acquired organically many will prevent the use of rented, purchased or third-party email data.
So, check with your existing platform that you are not breaking their terms. Your data supplier should be able to send out your email marketing for you or recommend an appropriate platform.
6. Is your creative responsive and optimised for SPAM?
In order to get the best response in terms of open and click-throughs you need to ensure your email creative is engaging and reaching the inbox. There are many online tools that will help you understand the SPAM score of your creative, or ask your data supplier. Minor tweaks here and there can drive big changes in engagement with your email marketing.
Around 40% of B2B email campaigns are opened on mobile devices. To get the highest response ensure that your creative works on mobile as well as desktop. For tips on how to build your creative take a look at this pre-send checklist.
7. How will you measure success?
Linking back to the first tip it is important to not just understand your aim at the outset but also how you can measure its success. Ensure that you have defined processes in place that allow you to analyse if the campaign worked, and if it didn’t why not.
You email platform or data supplier will be able to provide you with metrics such as open and click-through rates. If you are able to link this to website behaviour, create a specific landing page or even a dedicated enquiry number you will be able to understand the areas of the campaign that may need fine-tuning.
8. What frequency of contact should you use?
This varies massively from company-to-company and product-to-product. Adopting a test and learn approach to your campaign will enable you to understand how recipients on your email list prefer to be contacted.
Split testing is easy on email campaigns and allows you to test areas of your campaign from subject lines, creatives, personalisation and frequency or timing. With that information you can ensure that your mailing list will get the most traction and deliver the highest possible ROI.
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