Why It's Important to Use Quality Email Lists

by Donna Peterson

Lately, I've had a lot of clients asking me the importance of quality data and does it really have to be compliant and what could be the implications if it wasn't? I thought to myself, who knows about and works with email list data? The best person I know who can speak to this is my good friend, Pauline Murphy of 1 Stop Data. She will know exactly the right answers for this.

I don't know if we should call it marketing anymore as much as relationships. If you want to have good quality clients, you have to build a relationship with them. And with that, we have to have quality data.

We all get those generic emails in saying that these people have the greatest list and you can pick by title and industry, and they'll send you the list. You can buy it outright. And usually you're not paying too much. And I usually call up and inquire about it. Find out are they opted in or are they compliant? And usually they're not. And so I first wanted you to tell us, what type of data do you hold at 1 Stop Data?

Pauline: We hold global B2B data with in depth profiles on both the companies and the individuals themselves. Over the years that data has grown to hold a lot more information. We've got in depth selection so we can target the information, but now we carry a lot of links and a lot of dates to make sure that the data is both compliant and linking up to the right people who have given permission first to use their data. It's really core that you carry a lot of data on the individuals to be compliant and to be accurate now in this day and age with global data.

Donna: Why is it so important that companies use only quality data? Years ago, it used to be people would cast those big, huge nets, maybe they would throw out promotions to a hundred thousand. And why is it better that they find that quality data and maybe to a smaller set?

Pauline: It's always been important to use quality data to get a good response, and that's key. Everyone wants a response. If you use rubbish data, you'll get a rubbish response. But more importantly, now we're in the world of social media. And if you damage your reputation, it is going to be very hard to come back from that. And if you use poor quality, harvested data, scrape data off the internet, you're not only going to risk that you email the company dog, that will be horrendous for your reputation, but you will go into spam traps and you are probably in most countries breaking the law as well. It's not just about response, it's about your reputation and legality. The stakes are three times higher than they used to be. But the good news is with the legislation, all of the data owners, we are working hard to make sure that the data is better quality, has its permission levels in place, dates, links, click-throughs, and we make sure you are getting accurate data.

If you buy data from an unknown source, an unreliable source, you're going to fall far with that because these lists are likely to be made up emails from names on a website. And as I say, that is often the company dog or someone who's left the company, or it's just purely a trap that's been put on the list possibly by the company, or even worse by the powers that be who are going to go after you. This is why it's important to stick to quality, known data. It means we can give you better information, better links for getting a better response than ever before.

Donna: I think with that quality data, it's about building a relationship. You're not just giving the postal address and the email. You see a little bit more about the individual, which would let you have a marketing message that reaches that specific audience. If you know that individual is in a specific SIC code, for instance, maybe you can list a topic that'll resonate better then you can really start a good quality relationship.

Pauline: Absolutely. The more information you have you can target specific individuals, the company, and you can personalize your emails. You should be using multiple channels because as we all know, personally I'll read the first two headlines of an email. If it catches my attention, I'm good to go. You can also then use multiple channels, whether it's a phone call or social media, or a post all for those that click through, you can use a tiered approach that then means you're using multiple channels and hitting the individual several times with your message. And that's always been the way to get a response and still is. I mean, what do they say? Six times you've got to get in front of someone before they'll respond before they notice you.

Donna: We've noticed here in the States at least, postal has increased. There's more of a demand now for postal than there was a year ago, a year and a half ago. And one thing we're doing with clients is maybe they do an email and if someone opens it or clicks it, then we send the postal piece to those people. So you're getting that great response from a postal piece, but you're really only sending it to parties that have already shown an interest in you.

Pauline: Yes. We do that with calling, as well. It’s going to be expensive to make a phone call, but worth it if they've clicked through or filled in your form. Forms are also great things to use with email today.

Donna: My next question to you, and maybe that'll tie in the phone call, how can brands stand out from the crowd and demonstrate value?

Pauline: Well, I think again, they've got to use multiple channels and it's got to be a good offer. A good offer going through multiple channels because some of us will pick up the phone, some of us will read an email, others will read our social media posts. Social media's getting crowded, but if you combine it with the multiple channels and personalize as much as you possibly can, directing the offer to the right industry, the right job function. that's a powerful way of standing out, not just sending out bland messages. And the offer's key. It's always key to have an offer and it breaks my heart when I see a long email going out without an offer, without a call to action, all those key elements I know you've worked on for years. It's so essential to keep those principles going throughout the multiple channels.

Donna: I think some of us who've been in the industry as long as we have, sometimes feel like we're a broken record. Right channel, right this, right that, but it is still relevant. And like you said, now more than ever, you do have to give them messages they can resonate with. It's no longer those generic messages, and if you can personalize it with a first name and by their job function or by their industry, you will see a better response.

You mentioned phone calls. Are you doing a lot with phone calls?

Pauline: We do it with the multi-channels. We tend to do it where we've gone out with emails. Someone's filled in a form, then we follow up and make sure it's a full lead for a client. That's where the phone would come into play nowadays. This is when we've had a hint that they're interested rather than cold calling, generally, that's the push nowadays. But one of the things I would say with the phone and one of the frustrations we have is that when that lead's created, and someone said, "Yes, I have an interest." Following up at the other end, having an account manager to call on that individual is so essential as fast as you can because again, people nowadays, expect to buy things instantly. They want an instant response to their inquiries. So we call on your customers to have someone follow up as fast as possible to those responses. And that we find works when that's in play.

Donna: What type of campaign have you seen getting the best engagement right now?

Pauline: The best campaign I have seen in the last couple of years is a rewards card. Everyone's looking for a discount for their loyalty, and a particular campaign we did for a hotel worked exceptionally well. I'd like to see more of those. In terms of getting a response, if you can put an offer in such as a reward card, fantastic because people will respond.

Donna: And so you're right. This is back to my saying that it's not marketing as much as relationships.

And so if you realize this is a customer who has come to you several times you start to build that relationship with them. Yeah, they're going to buy from you, whatever it might be. And so that's the important part. I've been working with clients, I'm finding their target audience if you want to say, or their buyer persona. And then I say at the very end, I'm like, "Okay, but now think about who's your ideal client."

Because to me, your ideal client is the person who yes came in, bought from you, became a customer more than once, but your client is that person who's going to come back year after year after year. And that's the person we all want to reach.

We were talking about harvesting data and people going around and just collecting data from a variety of different sources and putting it together on a list. And I want to hear from you because you are an expert and you know what you need to do your due diligence to make sure it's an effective list.

What is your viewpoint on scraping data and what companies should do if they are scraping data?

Pauline: So scraping is very dangerous on its own. It can be one part of a process, but we do see people who take data and create emails just because they think they know the structure of the email address. And that is so very dangerous because, as I said earlier, you could be hitting a spam trap, which will get you blacklisted with the ISPs. You could be hitting the company dog that will damage your reputation. But most importantly, you're probably hitting rubbish. So again, your reputation online, your delivery will be very, very poor, and you'll be hitting something called catchalls that won't do you any good. There's no point in emailing to catchalls. It will damage your reputation. The only way to use emails is where you know it is a true and real email.

They have had the right to be informed, which we do globally, not just in Europe where it's the law. We do it worldwide because we want every single email to have had all the compliance, all the legality and to be a genuine email. And we go through a lot of hoops, a lot of processes, whether it's phoning, emailing, getting a response from people to make sure the emails are genuine because if you don't, you will get blacklisted. And apart from anything else, just a waste of your time and your marketing budget because people who are not there probably won't respond.

Donna: Right. I think we should explain to our audience when you get blacklisted your domain will not be able to send out emails. It's very serious because you then have to go through several steps to clear yourself off the black list. And it is not an easy process to do.

We also have to tell our audience about the different regulations by country to be compliant with.

And that's where... Because someone once said to me, "Donna, how can we possibly keep up on this?" And I said, "Well, the vendors that I work with can do that for you because they're educated. They have their legal team in place. They know all the regulations by country and make sure that you stay within their guidelines."

Pauline: That's right. But our policy is to stay within the strictest guidelines. So we've got a catchall situation where if we are going out with the policies covered under GDPR, then it includes countries that have a lesser regulation system. We make sure that all our data is compliant and up to date. It’s through that very process we are insuring ourselves worldwide.

Donna: Another question I have is if clients want to append data to their file, is that something 1 Stop can do for them? Can you take someone's file and append missing fields for them?

Pauline: We certainly can. We can append from our existing database where we know we have the information, whether it's demographics, emails, or additional contacts, or we can research to find the information. We do a lot of appending now and that's increasing with social media marketing.

Donna: I would think that's such an important part because we all want to have a nice, valuable house list but you also want to have all the fields complete. If you want to do a multi-channel campaign, you need to make sure you have all the correct information and you want to be able to send them messages that will be specific to them and their job function.

Pauline: The biggest value in your house file is that you've probably had a response from them, and it's that response that's so valuable. They've shown an interest, or they've bought from you in the past, and that's always going to surpass cold information, always.

Donna: Right. They'll recognize the name. They won't look at it as a spammer. Would you phone verify to get that information or research it?

Pauline: Sometimes we phone verify. Sometimes we research a company website, but then we always, always broadcast to that email and then read the response and take the information. We'll send a form for the recipient to fill in. We go through a variety of steps to make sure we've got the right data, the right people and they've heard from us.

Donna: Because sometimes people send out like one thing and then that's it. And then they put it on the file, but you find they appended the data, but it's not accurate. And so if you're going to go through the process, take the time and the money to do it right. With a company like yourself, who's been doing it, which congratulations, I know you just celebrated 20 years.

So my last question and my favorite question is what do you see were our biggest marketing trends in 2021? And where do you think we're going to go into 2022?

Pauline: Well, I think that's the exciting one. We're living through a really exciting time for marketing, and I think it's going to be tying it up with social media marketing because you've got LinkedIn for the B2B and you've got Facebook for the consumer. Marketers put ads on LinkedIn, but they don't know who they're reaching, and that's crazy. We have an opportunity where you and I can give them the data. At 1 Stop Data, we’ve developed a program in house where we can give them the leads of the people they're marketing to on LinkedIn. If you put an ad out there, we can marry up the contacts, emails, and phone numbers so you can truly do that multichannel marketing, because you and I know if you just do one thing once you're wasting your time.

You need to be getting out there. As we said earlier, I think it's six times they have to see you. And I think that's going to be the exciting thing coming, and the challenge will be getting people to make sure they're using multichannel marketing. Social media is not the entire answer. It's a big answer. It's an exciting one, but we need to marry it up with the data we have that we know will get response rates. And then you'll have the full picture of that customer.

So yes, I think it's going to be really exciting to see who is clicking on your ads and talking to the people who've seen the ad. Asking questions, What did you think of it? I saw you clicked on it. Are you interested? And some of it will be rubbish, but some of it will be gold dust. It's the gold dust that we can pull together and I think in the next couple of years, that's going to be my challenge and your challenge, to pull those together into the bigger picture.

Donna: You are so right. We are on the B2B side also like yourself, and the brands we represent are usually very expensive brands. You can't just do a social post. People aren't going to buy from a social post, but does a social post help compliment all your other marketing initiatives? Yes, it does. But you have to do it properly. If you can make sure that the ads you're placing out there on social media, which I agree with you, a lot of companies just go. It's just like posting. Some companies just go and post, post, post, and there's no strategy or thought behind what they're posting, what they're trying to achieve.

And if they could get a strategy and then marry who's responding to a LinkedIn ad, to an email, a postal campaign, or a phone call, not every single one of those are going to turn into a client. I'm never going to say that, but you're definitely going to get enough good quality leads to pay for everything that you spend for your marketing and then some.

Pauline: Absolutely. And I think it's exciting times. I think as we marry up the data, we're going to learn more and more about the people who are responding to us. And that's our job, to make sure that the marketer has as much information as possible. And not only that, when it gets to the sales team, they've then got the link to the person they can connect with. We gather LinkedIn profiles and Facebook profiles on the company and the individual so that when they're looking at that person, they can not only send them an email, but they can also link to them. As a result, they can talk to them in a variety of ways by phone, by post, by email, and by social media, and that's today's world, isn't it? And by the time they've seen you that many times, they know you very well.

Donna: Yeah. They know who you are. It's definitely that multichannel. The biggest thing is going to be when we give the clients those good quality leads, how do they follow up?

They need to have their backend in place to do that. You have to make sure the backend is in place so that all those good marketing leads we bring in definitely come to fruition and become customers. So very interesting.

I wanted to thank you very much, it was fun for me just to catch up with you. I think it's important for my audience to understand the importance of quality data and how you don't go out there and just start scraping data on your own because you could tarnish your reputation, you could get hit with penalties. You can get blacklisted. There are so many things that it's really not worth it. It's better to go to the source, someone like 1 Stop Data.

Topics: Email Marketing, b2bmarketing

Donna Peterson

Written by Donna Peterson

Donna Peterson is a B2B marketing specialist who increases her client's profit while saving them time. To get actionable marketing tips & techniques follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Instagram.

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