In order to scale marketing and sales efforts quickly, companies often purchase or “scrape” lists of leads or work with “appointment setting” firms who do such activities. But even if these lists include high-priority companies and covetable job titles, they may not be OK to pursue and may undermine your acquisition efforts.
For one, you need to remain compliant with CAN-SPAM laws, which mandate sending email to people who have deliberately opted into communications. In fact, violations can result in penalties over $40,000 per email. In light of changing data laws, email lists must be handled with even more caution. This is particularly an issue with scraped or personally built lists.
And secondly, you want to protect the integrity of your email server. Too many unsolicited emails and “spam” reports can hurt the deliverability of your emails to higher-quality leads who are expecting your emails. This impacts lead nurturing, brand trust, and the profitability of your email marketing program. So even if you have purchased a list from a reputable provider, you may still be running a risk here.
So while the best option is to not purchase lead lists at all, if you have already made an investment, here are some positive ways to see an impact in your inbound marketing strategy as you focus your efforts on generating brand new leads.
Lists of target contacts (prospective leads) come in handy with retargeting campaigns. You can build a list using email addresses for a Facebook or LinkedIn campaign, and promote content offers such as demos, case studies, white papers, and more.
By creating ad campaigns that are targeted to those leads’ pain points and needs, you can drive valid conversions from your list of purchased leads.
Now, it is more likely that the leads you have captured are valid for further marketing and sales outreach.
But be cognizant that some ad platforms are more stringent. Google AdWords, for example, does not allow “scraped” emails, while Facebook and LinkedIn have moderately easier policies. If you are worried that your email addresses are not meeting requirements, you can build an audience targeting list in the advertising platforms that closely resembles your original list. Then you can likely catch those leads, or similar leads, in your net.
1-to-1 outreach emails
Outreach emails can be positive if you use a strategy that is tailored, targeted, and personal. For example, nobody wants to read an email that begins “Dear sir/madam…”
To be helpful, do your research and send custom emails that are related to actual value and pain points for the person. For example:
“Hello, I was reading about how your company is going through a merger with ACME company. I recently published a white paper about how to maintain IT server security while undergoing a merger or acquisition. Would you be interested in reading it?”
This approach is helpful and will likely be better received by the recipient. If the recipient asks for more information, it is probable that they are now a qualified contact. As a best practice, focus on providing targeted, informative literature and resources, rather than going for the hard sell or a meeting request.
Above: An example of one-to-one email templates using HubSpot’s Sales tools.
Recapture via Inbound
With an inbound marketing strategy, you may capture leads by presenting helpful content and resources and optimizing your pages so they can be found by the right audience. Then, by providing a conversion point like a form, you can generate bonafide leads with an opt-in.
Inbound leads are generally perfect candidates for further marketing materials because they’ve already expressed a clear interest. You also have a provable record of leads submitting information. Therefore, you are not in violation of CAN-SPAM, and your emails have a higher likelihood of being engaging and not reported for spam.
If you build an inbound lead generation machine with a content program, optimized search engine targeting, and strategic social media, you will very likely see valuable leads enter your funnel. Some of these leads may very well be part of your target list.
Further reading: Where Should You Focus B2B Marketing Strategy? Builder vs Driver Activities
With consumer information as a hot topic and a concern for many marketers in the wake of news about Facebook and Google data breaches, it’s important to stay compliant.
Even if marketing is a “grey” area with less regulation than other sectors, it’s still valuable to generate and nurture happily opted-in leads to your sales funnel. This will result in stronger brand loyalty, better partnerships, and a stronger business outcome.
Further reading: How to Bring in Better Qualified Marketing Leads to Your B2B Funnel
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