Common Email Questions
Multi-Channel Marketing

business to business mailing lists

Register Now
By Title Keywords

All of our articles originally appeared in our monthly e-newsletter, Direct Marketing Update. To start receiving our e-newsletter, register today!

Or click on the XML icon to sign up for our RSS feed and stay up-to-date on our direct marketing news.

Must-Have Information on Renting Lists for Your Next Campaign
Click here for a printable PDF of this article.

L.I.S.T. Incorporated is committed to working closely with you to select the best potential postal, telemarketing, or email lists that will help make your marketing campaign successful. Here is some information that we have found to be helpful for marketers in their pre-planning strategy for acquiring a list or lists. Hopefully these tips and strategies will help you get you off to a good start.

1. Do you want to contact all industries?
You have the option of excluding certain vertical markets, such as government (federal/state/local), academia, non-profits, VARs/Resellers, or any general industries or SICs not appropriate for your products or services.

2. Do you want to further isolate your best prospects?
Once you've decided on your target industry(s) -- finance, manufacturing, etc… -- you have the option of further targeting select contacts within that industry based on company size, sales volume, number of employees, or other selectable categories.

3. Have you considered phone numbers?
Response rates from postal or email campaigns can be significantly improved when done in conjunction with follow-up phone calls. As a matter of fact, many marketers choose telemarketing lists as their prime method of prospecting.

4. Should you limit your contacts to a certain number per company?
Keep in mind that many different individuals in a company may have decision-making authority for your products or services. The typical list will reach all relevant contacts at a company that meet your selection requirements. However, you have the option of capping the number of contacts per company to the maximum quantity of your choice.

5. Targeting large companies?
If you've requested a Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 list, be aware that this refers to the top 500 or 1000 companies by sales volume. If you are targeting organizations other than the literal "Fortune-listed" companies, you can select your list by specific company size by number of employees or your own sales volume requirements.

6. Are you looking for U.S. names only?
Canadian and International names are also available. A majority of marketers are interested in U.S. names only, but some want Canadian or International names as well. Please indicate your preference to your list specialist when asking for count research.

The DefinitiveDatabase™ Continues to Make Marketers' Lives Easier
Click here for a printable PDF of this article.

The DefinitiveDatabase™ continues to become more valuable -- and, dare we say, essential -- to marketers across the U.S. and Canada. It recently added over 100 new controlled circulation publication files (see a definition of controlled circulation) to now include over 20.1 million executives and professionals who subscribe to over 350 of the most highly-recognized B2B and Information Technology publications.

In addition to its increase in quantity of names, the DefinitiveDatabase™ contains significantly more selectable categories than any other database on the market. It also contains the highest title counts by geography and the highest vertical market quantities in the industry.

By combining detailed information from the participating publications, hundreds of selectable categories, and wide accessibility to marketers, the DefinitiveDatabase™ is a true public database -- and a standout among other database properties. Direct Marketers can use the multitude of selection options to maximize quantities for their niche or specialized market needs.

All the information in the database is self-reported by each active subscriber to the respective publications; it contains uncommonly high quantities of direct phone lines reaching the executives at their desktops. With the accelerating trend towards B2B telemarketing (and the accompanying increase in resources that companies are allocating towards it) the DefinitiveDatabase™ continues to meet this growing need.

According to CEO Glenn Freedman, "The DefinitiveDatabase™ is essential to the thousands of marketers who need to reach executive decision makers in even the smallest of geographical markets. Frequently, these marketers have trouble reaching minimum quantities (depending on the number of subscribers) from the publication of their choice. Our database of combined publications allows marketers to reach their minimums -- whether their needs are by title, industry, geographical regions or other key categories. Publishers eagerly participate in the database because they can capture partial rental revenues from mailers who in the past were forced to go to a competitor or rent compiled data. In most categories, our counts are not only higher than the largest compiled sources, but much more selectable and responsive".

"We are especially happy with the tremendous growth in telemarketing rentals," Freedman adds. "The large quantities of phone numbers available in the database is turning out to be a very important and valuable component for marketers. They are discovering that a highly-selectable, large and detailed database provides them with the perfect solution for their direct marketing needs."

Breakthroughs in Reaching Fortune 500 Decision-Makers
Click here for a printable PDF of this article.

Reaching Fortune 500 executive decision-makers has always been a challenge for marketers. Even the phrase "Fortune 500 executives" has different meanings to different people. So who is your real target market?

Some marketers literally want to reach decision-makers within the top 500 companies in the country, as defined by Fortune magazine. Others use "Fortune 500" as a euphemism for very large corporations. It's important that you first define whether you literally mean "Fortune 500" companies or merely the largest corporations in the U.S.

Either way, there's an extensive number of lists enabling you to reach YOUR best prospects by email, postal or telemarketing. It's relatively easy to target the type of company you want to reach either by the number of employees, annual sales volume or limiting your search specifically to Fortune 500 companies only. This would also be a good time to define any industries you DO NOT want to reach. Those companies can be deleted effectively from the ultimate list of contacts.

Now that you've defined whom you're trying to reach, it's time to decide how you're going to reach them. In addition to the traditional sources for reaching these Fortune 500 or large corporation executives, there are some new opportunities that have been borne out of the internet. Here's a rundown of your options:

The Basic List Sources
Examples include InfoUSA, Dun & Bradstreet etc ...
These organizations are known as list compilers and have historically collected data on companies and their executives: InfoUSA emphasizing smaller companies, Dun & Bradstreet focusing on key corporate contacts. These list compilers tend to be "information gatherers" with the purpose of simply collecting data for lists or, in the case of Dun & Bradstreet, establishing credit ratings and other financial data for corporations. Both companies continue to add data by by enhancing contacts and going somewhat deeper into collecting additional titles and information in these companies.

Enhanced List Sources
Examples include Harte-Hanks, idEXEC, CorpTech, Hoovers etc...
Each of the companies mentioned in this category uses a unique methodology. But for simplicity's sake, we'll categorize them all as the same type of business.

This group of companies generally uses more sophisticated methodology in gathering information than many list compilers. But most have certain limitations in the depths of corporate contacts they can reach. For example, these companies may use research surveys, information gathering by telemarketing, online response vehicles, and/or relationship building with individual employees to gather information. Depending on the individual organization, each of these companies may be limited in their coverage of entire markets by either their techniques or their focus.

Internet Miners
This is treacherous territory. The companies in this space can vary greatly in the accuracy and quality of the information they gather. Mined data is difficult to process, collate and reconcile into specific and accurate demographic categories. Accurate timelines on the gathered information are also difficult to confirm. There are a handful of good companies in this category and many, many questionable ones.

Controlled circulation publications have a unique advantage in gathering information. In effect, subscribers to these publications receive their subscription for free if they fill out a lengthy qualification form. This qualification form is designed to gather extensive business demographics on the subscriber so that the publisher can determine whether or not they "qualify" to receive a free subscription. The publishers then "control" their circulation based on their editorial content, and most importantly, the markets that their advertisers need to reach.

The byproduct of this information gathering is valuable data that the majority of publishers will rent for direct marketing purposes. Ultimately, this information can be used by marketers to reach very specific market niches within dozens of given categories. For instance, it's relatively easy to separate out large or Fortune 500-type companies and deliver these very special demographics for use by marketers.

However, even with all these advantages, many of these publications service vertical markets and individually may be limited in the contacts they can provide. In addition, they are dependant on the validity of the information the potential subscriber indicates on the qualification form.

Public Databases
There are numerous databases offering email, postal and telemarketing lists that marketers may access to select large-company demographics for targeted direct marketing campaigns. One of the newest and most industrious products is the DefinitiveDatabase™. It's comprised of over 17 million postal and telemarketing records of active subscribers from over 300 of the most well-respected business-to-business and high-technology publications... generally the types of publications mentioned in the prior category.

By combining all these top-quality lists into one database, marketers can specify various business demographics -- job title, job function, company size, annual sales, purchasing specification, geographic location and more -- and still reach a large number of decision-makers. The net output from the DefinitiveDatabase™ will be unduplicated records that have extensive reach into the Fortune 500 or top corporations in the U.S. and Canada. Other databases offer similar reach, depending on the specific needs of the marketer.

The Fortune 500 or top corporation market is now more reachable than ever and new products improve your chances of having very successful direct marketing campaigns. Depending on your marketing strategy, any one of the above categories may be right for you. As always, do your own research or contact a list professional to help you determine your best options.

Successful Email Campaign Strategies
Click here for a printable PDF of this article.

If you're a marketer, chances are you've used postal and telemarketing campaigns to drive new business to your company. However, when it comes to email campaigns, you may not have the same depth of experience. And any lack of experience in this area may have you overspending and/or getting lower response rates than you could. Done correctly, the low cost of email campaigns make them one of the most cost-efficient ways to reach your target market.

So how do experienced email marketers launch a successful campaign? Here are the basics.

First, all emails should be sent out in both text and H™L versions. The H™L versions contain graphics, logos, images, colors ... things that jump out at your potential clients. And you'd certainly prefer that everyone receive your email in H™L format. But a small percentage of people have older email systems that don't accept H™L or have set their preferences to avoid receiving them. You must create a text version of the same email for that audience.

The second issue for you to tackle is the subject line. It's one of the most important elements of your campaign and it's the first thing that people will see when your email arrives. It is a key reason why they decide to open (or not open) your email.

At this point, we need to distinguish whether you are using your own in-house email contacts or renting a third-party list from another source. If you're using an internal list, the recipients probably will recognize your company's name or brand. This applies to whether you use it in the "From" field or the subject line. In either case, your message will get across based on YOUR COMPANY'S prior relationship with the client or prospect.

However, if you're renting a third-party list, the subject line strategy needs to change slightly. All third-party list rentals are deployed by the "list owner" -- not directly by you. In these cases, it is the list owner that has the relationship with the client. This is actually to your advantage, as potential prospects will recognize the list owner's name in the "From" line. But since your company may have no prior relationship with the recipient, the subject line should be written slightly differently. If your company has a brand name that is easily recognizable, by all means, use it. If you're IBM or Microsoft of Cisco, people are going to know you. But if your company is less recognizable, you may want to de-emphasize your brand and use a more generic, but appealing, subject line.

Here's an example. You provide business intelligence software, but your brand is not easily recognizable. You would use a subject line like "The Ultimate Business Intelligence Software for Financial Service Companies" or "Brand New Business Intelligence Software Now Available!"

Now that we've covered the basics of sending out your email, it's time to touch on post-campaign reviewing. Due to the electronic nature of emails (unlike postal campaigns), you can immediately track how many people looked at or took action upon receiving your marketing piece. As a note of information, if you're renting a third-party list, this is not automatically done. You must request it from the list provider. It costs a minimal amount, but it's extremely valuable.

The two most important elements in tracking your email campaign are "open rate" and "click-thru rate". Open rate refers to which percentage of people who received your email actually opened it. Click-thru rate refers to how many people who received your email clicked on a link within the body of that email. Open rates provide you with exposure. Click-thru rates tend to lead directly to business.

Industry experts report a wide variance in open rates, depending on your business, your message and other variables. In B2B email campaigns, it would be fair to say that open rates can be as low as 10 - 15% and as high as 40% with the corresponding click-thru rates running anywhere from .3% to 2%.

Ultimately, it's the sales you generate from the program that will decide the success of your campaign. But these instant-response statistics will give you a good idea of the success of your email campaign before you decide whether to expand it further.

Have other questions about launching an email campaign? Visit our Email FAQs page.

Response Lists vs. Compiled Lists: An Insider's View
Click here for a printable PDF of this article.

Not too long ago, compiled lists were simply gathered from sources like the yellow pages, directories and other public domains. The data was not updated very frequently and information beyond a name, company, address, SIC codes, phone numbers and occasionally company size were seldom available.

Over the last few years, compiled lists have changed. List compilers now have more diligently updated records and regularly perform extensive telephone interviews to add other selectable information to their lists. Because of these changes, there are now many marketers who can benefit from compiled data.

However, compiled lists have their downsides. The gathered information in these lists is frequently from a third party, amassed when a compiler asks an employee at a company a question about another employee at their company. Many times this information will not be accurate. Compiled data also lacks information about whether or not a contact has ever bought from or responded to a direct mail, telemarketing or email offer.

Some new list compilers have surfaced who simply "mine" data from the internet. These companies tend to be less sophisticated than other list compiling companies and many do nothing more than capture and sort the collected data. If you decide that a compiled list is right for your direct marketing efforts, it's important to know as much as you can about the compiler; There are excellent companies in the business and there are some really bad ones. Ask your list broker for guidance.

Response mailing lists are typically regarded by marketers and list brokers as being the highest quality of rentable mailing lists. Examples of response mailing lists include: buyers of a product or service, subscribers to organizations, attendees to trade shows or events and subscribers to trade publications, magazines or journals. While each of these categories has some defining difference, they all share the same main positive attribute. Simply stated, if a company were looking for professionals to subscribe to their trade publication, they would most likely get the best results from a direct marketing campaign that uses lists of subscribers to another publication in their industry. Trade show attendee lists work best for trade show sponsors. Product buyers who have previously bought computer products are usually the best prospects for marketers of computer-related products or services. All the contacts on a response list have previously taken action to buy, attend, subscribe or make a decision. This invaluable information is usually absent in compiled data.

In fairness, response lists have a downside as well. Accuracy and timeliness of the data can vary, based on the diligence of the list owner/source. Response lists are typically more expensive than compiled lists and the number of contacts may be more limited.

Whether your direct marketing plan involves telemarketing, direct mail or email, talk to a list broker about whether a compiled list or response mailing list would better serve your direct marketing needs and budget.

So Who Does Your Telemarketing?

Click here for a printable PDF of this article.

Are you renting a telemarketing list and feeling uncertain whether to use your in-house staff or hire a third party telemarketing firm? Here are a few things to consider.

The major advantage of third party companies is their ability to use dozens of telemarketers to get your message out quickly. Unless you have a fully-staffed internal telemarketing division, outside firms will make thousands of calls in a relatively short time frame compared to what you can do in-house. However, telemarketing firms tend to be expensive and lack selling skills; they are limited in engaging in dialog about technical products or services and are better suited for information gathering, appoin™ent setting and "yes or no" types of campaigns. And unless you supply the telemarketing list, telemarketing firms have a history of using poor quality telemarketing lists.

There are advantages to using an in-house person for your business-to-business telemarketing efforts. People staffed by your organization can be trained in sophisticated selling techniques, so that they will be familiar with the technical aspects of your product and can engage in more extensive dialog with potential clients and pass on hot leads to your sales staff instantly. Also, when the telemarketing efforts are done internally, you control telemarketing list buys, and can be more diligent on which lists to use.

But, as we mentioned earlier, small businesses rarely have enough people on staff who can telemarket on an ongoing basis. A cost-effective alternative may be to hire college students, retirees or part-timers and train them on a specific telemarketing project. And here's a training tip for you... if your telemarketers are going to be reading from a script, have them practice sounding like they are improvising. Knowing that the person on the other end of the phone is reading is a sure turn-off and can hurt your response rate.

In short, both internal and external telemarketing has its benefits. Regardless of which direction you decide to go in, make sure you have the right telemarketing lists. It'll make all the difference in the world.

Postal Reemrges in B-to-B Marketing

(PDF File -- Click here to download)
Copyright © 2004 L.I.S.T. Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.