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08 November 2017

Ultimate Guide to Buying an Email List

Do you want to learn how to use an email marketing list to increase your sales? Email continues to be the most effective and direct method of connecting with your leads, nurturing them, and turning them into customers.

In this guide, we will walk you through the entire process of purchasing an email list including some marketing campaign tips and tricks.

Choosing Your Target Audience

Properly identifying your niche market is a daunting task, but when executed correctly can cut down your marketing costs and increase your ROI.

In today’s competitive business environment, no company (large or small) can afford to target everyone in the general population. In order to effectively compete, businesses must define a target market. Targeting a specific group of consumers or businesses who have high potential interest in your product or service enables you to focus your marketing dollars on people who are listening for your type of message. According to the DMA, marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns, and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue.

Before purchasing your customized email list, doing a little market research on your own is a great way to gain valuable consumer insights. The first group you might want to dig deeper into is your existing customers. Seek answers to the following questions to better understand your current consumer base:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What are their interests?
  • Where are they from?
  • Which clients bring in the most revenue?
  • Why do they buy from you?

Next you might check out your competition. Examine their marketing strategies. Who are they targeting? Carving out a niche market they may have overlooked is a great strategy to implement efforts to stay competitive.

Take some time to make a list of all the benefits your product or service brings to consumers. What goals are you helping them achieve? Once you have identified those advantages your goods or services provide, you can identify a general market base you wish to target. For example, if you’re a personal trainer, the service you provide helps your clients achieve their fitness goals. You must identify a group of people who might require your services. For now, we will leave this target market very general as “overweight people.” That group of potential clients is too general so break it down further to enable you to reach the clients who seek your exercise help.

There are many different criteria used to pinpoint your specific target market. These criteria can be grouped into two categories: demographics and psychographics.

Identifying specific demographic trends of your industry’s consumers is a great way to determine potential new clients. Continuing with the personal trainer example, examine your potential market’s age, location in proximity to your gym, and income level (will they be able to afford your services?) Now you can further specify your target market as “overweight people between the ages of 22-55 who live within a 5-mile radius of your gym and make $50,000+ per year.” Be careful not to get too specific as you still hope to reach a large audience. Also, remember you can target more than one niche market. Consider sending different messages tailored to each group’s interests.

Psychographics provide key insights when trying to understand your target market and how they think. Psychographics are more personal characteristics such as personality, values, interests/hobbies, behavior, lifestyles, and attitudes. As a personal trainer, you might target “people who frequently eat at fast food restaurants” or, “people interested in dieting and weight loss.” Sometimes these psychographic trends are difficult to identify, but many online analytics tools, such as Facebook, can provide useful data showing a breakdown of your audience’s psychographic and demographic trends. Utilizing this methodology is extremely effective when identifying your target audience, and takes you one step closer to achieving your marketing goals.

Speaking of marketing goals, the next step in creating an email marketing list is to:

Define the ultimate goal of your email marketing campaign.

Campaign objectives should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Here’s an example of a SMART goal you might set for your next campaign: “Increase active customers purchasing at least once a quarter to 200,000 in a market.” Other common email marketing campaign goals include increasing conversion, acquisition, and engagement rates.

Select the type of email campaign you plan to implement.

After you have defined your goals, you must consider the type of email you plan to blast in efforts to reaching your objective. There are two broad categories of the various types of emails marketers might send out to their email list: informational and transactional.

Informational emails are designed to bring your consumer base up to speed on your latest content and important updates. You might announce your next sale, offer a free trial or coupon with a call to action in a new content announcement email. Product update emails are another great way to connect with your customers and keep them informed about new product features your company offers. Sending out a digital magazine or newsletter is another effective email marketing method used to keep consumers tuned in with your brand. The final type of informational emails companies often deploy are event invitations.

Transactional emails are triggered by specific actions such as signing up for a newsletter or completing a purchase. Companies should always send out confirmation emails for customers after they make a transaction. Welcome emails are another type of transaction emails intended for thanking consumers for signing up for your product trial, newsletter, or other offer. This is your chance to make a great first impression on new users. The third and final type of transactional emails are lead nurturing campaigns. This type of email contains useful, targeted content and usually multiple versions are created and sent out in a series based off consumer behavior. In other words, if your email causes a user to complete a purchase, this action would trigger a second email with relevant product suggestions or other calls to action to nurture leads and continue relationships.

At the end of the day, your emails should provide your audience with value. It is not only important to select the right type of email, but it is also crucial to segment your market to share relevant information with the right people.

Determining Logistics of Your Email Campaign

There are four main areas you must consider when working out your campaign strategy. These important logistics include setting a budget, defining the amount of leads necessary to achieve your goals, establishing a timeline, and finally creating a content strategy. When purchasing an email list, you should calculate a ballpark estimate of how much you are willing to spend in order to accomplish your objectives. Did you know that on average, every $1 spent on email marketing generates $38 in return? Data providers have access to millions of emails; however, it would be beneficial for you to determine around how many leads you plan to purchase.

Establishing a timeline when starting any project is extremely helpful in staying on track. Let your data provider know if you have a tight timeline so they can quickly and efficiently deliver your leads. At Exact Data we send our leads in Excel CSV formatted files to ensure ease of use when uploading and manipulating contact information. If you don’t already have an in-house creative team, no need to worry! Exact Data not only has the ability to provide email content creation and technology services, but also can launch email campaigns for you.

Choosing Your Data Provider

The first and most important factor you must consider when selecting your data provider is confirming that their lists are updated frequently and don’t contain any opted-out emails. Exact Data’s email lists are generated through an opt-in process, aggregated from over 100 sources, to create what we believe is the most precise database on the market. We compliment this database with our own proprietary list of emails sourced from consumers and businesses who have selected to opt in, so you won’t have to worry about contacting users who did not give permission to do so. Each month Exact Data acquires 15 to 20 million new email addresses, and then we use our hygiene technology to verify our lists, so that you can expect the highest quality, up to date leads.

Helpful websites, like Informatica, provide an email verification service you can utilize to ensure your list is kept up to date even a year after you purchase a list. Deliverability is a key element you should consider when choosing your data supplier. Your number one goal is to reach your market, so be sure to research the accuracy level of the data list you plan to purchase. Exact Data guarantees a 97% accuracy rate ensuring that your emails will reach the right inboxes. Finally, you should confirm that the data provider you select offers leads that are CAN-SPAM compliant. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn more about this compliance requirement.

Implementing Email Marketing Best Practices

After you choose your ideal provider and purchase your list, you’ll need to implement a killer email campaign to turn those leads into sales. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few tips and tricks you’ll want to keep in mind:

Create a unique, eye catching subject line to increase your opens. Subject lines should spark the recipient’s curiosity or sense of urgency. For subscribers reading your campaign through a mobile device, a shorter subject line may prove more effective. Personalization by name or location is another great way to increase open rates. Utilizing A/B testing for subject lines is helpful when determining what performs best for your campaign.

The from address for your email marketing campaign has a great deal of influence over response rates. Oftentimes when consumers receive an email from a real person, they are less likely to hit delete than if the email came from a generic address. Generate an alias to send emails from so that your message appears more personal.

Utilizing relevant images in your emails can help increase your campaign’s performance. There are a few important things to remember when using images in your next email blast. Always try to place images under the top two inches or your email. This is suggested because typical email preview panes measure two inches in height. Those top two inches should be filled with persuasive text to spark curiosity from your readers. It is crucial to use images in a way that will benefit your brand rather than detract from it. Remember not to “trap” critical calls to action or important messages inside your images as some email service providers do not display images by default, and you want to be sure your message reaches your audience. Finally, avoid making your image files too large as this could potentially lead to deliverability issues.

Increasing email send frequency can sometimes be extremely effective in getting your message across to your consumers. If you continuously send them valuable content, subscribers might not mind receiving your messages more often. Many marketers send emails out on a weekly basis, some send out messages monthly. Keep in mind the concern that infrequent emails could cause subscribers to forget who you are, and might lead to deleted messages. One good option is to set up an email preference center for your subscribers so they can control how often they receive your correspondence. Optimize your email content so that you are always providing value for your readers. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer as each consumer base has different preferences (this is why segmenting your market is so important.) Carefully test what works best for your email list and assess what works best for your audience.

While on the subject of assessing your email campaign, online tracking tools provide extremely useful insights and answers to some key questions regarding your target audience.

Tracking Your Campaign

Utilizing online tracking tools, such as Google Analytics, can help you visualize your email campaign results. Microsoft Excel is an excellent application used to organize data reports in many different formats. When setting up campaign analytics, you must decide which metrics you’ll need to track to determine how you’re progressing toward your overall goals. Here are some key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll want to keep an eye out for when running your next email campaign:

One of the most important metrics email marketers should track is the click through rate (CTR). This measures the percentage of recipients who clicked one or more links contained in a given email. The CTR gives you direct insight to how many subscribers are engaging with your content and show interest in learning more about your offer. Oftentimes, marketers use the CTR as a metric to conclude the results of A/B testing. You can calculate the CTR with the following formula: (Total clicks OR unique clicks / Number of delivered emails) * 100

Conversion rate is directly tied to your call to action and therefore the overall goal of your email marketing campaign. Conversion rate is defined as the percentage of recipients who clicked a link within an email and completed a desired action, such as subscribing to a newsletter or purchasing a product. This key metric is essential when analyzing the extent to which you’re achieving your goals. To calculate this number, you’ll need to integrate your email platform and your web analytics tool. This requires you to create unique tracking URLs for your email links in order to identify the source of each click as coming from a specific email campaign. The conversion rate formula is as follows: (Number of people who completed the desired action / Number of total emails delivered) * 100

Bounce rate is an indicator of a deliverability problem, and is defined as the percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox. There are two types of bounces you’ll want to keep an eye out for: “hard” bounces and “soft” bounces. Hard bounces are the result of an issue with the recipient’s server such as a closed, invalid or non-existent email address. Soft bounces are the result of a temporary issue with a valid email address caused by various problems such as a full inbox. It is imperative that you remove bounce emails from your list to keep your bounce rate low for future campaigns. When calculating bounce rate, you should use this formula: Total number of bounced emails / Number of emails sent) * 100

When you wish to compare a current email campaign to one you launched in the past, you’ll use the open rate to gain critical insights. Open rate is described as the percentage of email recipients who open a given email, and can be calculated using the following formula: Number of emails opened / (Number of emails sent – Number of bounced emails)

Finally, you’ll want to measure overall ROI to show how your email campaign drives real, tangible results. This metric can be helpful when you wish to show your boss or your sales team how valuable email is as a marketing channel. Overall ROI is the total revenue generated through the email channel divided by the total spend. In order to compute this number, you must assign different values to various types of leads based on their potential to generate revenue. There are several approaches to calculating overall ROI depending on your type of business. Here is the most basic formula: [($ in additional sales made - $ invested in the campaign) / $ invested in the campaign] * 100

In conclusion, tracking key performance indicators will help you gain insights about your audience, which will be useful when effectively designing your next campaign. Email marketing metrics can help you discover which areas your campaign was most successful, and where you might have room for improvement. Measuring your performance is a crucial part of your progress toward your overarching goals.

Ready to kick start your next email marketing campaign?

Call our marketing experts at 877.440.3282 to learn more about how Exact Data can help you save time and money by connecting with the right people, the first time.