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List Brokers: Five Tips for Selling Email Data

How to stop problems before they start by knowing the application

How many times has a customer purchased a B2B or B2C email list from you, loaded it into Mailchimp, been locked out for ToS violation, then complained to you about the delivery of the records after Mailchimp locks them out?

Don't freak out, you weren’t the first and you won’t be the last. The above is one of a handful of examples that in the excitement of helping a customer we forget to ask some pointed questions about how the data will be made actionable. Then we either end up running counts for an order that can’t (or shouldn’t) close or putting out a client fire after the fact.


These best practices can help you spend less time running irrelevant queries pre-sale and putting out fires post sale:

1. Insist on the desired campaign criteria up front

It's very easy to end up trying to present 16 different segments in an effort to find one the client likes, only to discover after the order never closes that none of them really lined up with the clients marketing objectives.

List brokers as a group tend to be too impulsive and spray a prospect down with information well in advance of fully understanding campaign specifics.

At minimum be sure to check off that you know: - where (geography) is the campaign taking place - what (channels) is the campaign taking place across (direct mail, email, telephone - combination?) - how will the messaging be distributed? (see best practice #2) - who (job titles, demographics, other targeting details) is the messaging intended to reach? - what creative or call to action will be used?

2. Be aware of how the client will distribute the call to action

This is the most commonly missed area that results in after sale problems.

We've said it 1,000 times. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, iContact or any other ESP designed for 1 to many marketing DOES NOT ACCEPT THIRD PARTY LISTS.

It doesn't matter if Chuck Norris himself cleaned your list, these services use shared equipment to provide low pricing and high delivery. One thoughtless marketer with a high complain rate can screw everything up in that model, so don't even try.

If the client is using a newsletter / webinar "blast" approach, we highly recommend as a company with reasonable rules about clean data being used in their systems.

3. Will a sales person be calling the data as a follow up to the email?

As the SDR and ABM trends continue to prove to be effective B2B marketing strategies, more and more companies are pairing top of funnel lead generation email strategies with phone follow up.

If this is the case, EMM can segment its data for your application by direct dial ratio to provide the client with a higher phone contact rate, which can drive up leads generated from follow up.

If the client isn't calling, we can make more records available (those with corporate phones or those with no phone). If they are calling, we want to adjust what's available to reflect only the best quality phone data.

4. Provide preview data

Once you've qualified the opportunity well and have discovered there's a real application to be served, since you're now only brokering well qualified opportunities, more time can be invested in helping the client select the right database.

Most busy List Brokers don't want to be doing back and forth after the first query or two has been run, but often its difficult for the prospect to visualize which titles or specifications have been selected. We have found in cases where preview records were delivered versus cases where they were not that the order for the broker closes more frequently and with less emails exchanged about fine details. EMM offers preview records at no charge for qualified opportunities, allowing your client to see several hundred truncated records with actual titles and companies so they can see if you're in the ball park or not with the list query.

5. Stand behind the product

At the end of the day all anyone wants is a client who is satisfied with their marketing results and returns to buy more data.

At EMM we aren't shy about customer feedback. We know it makes the product better and we know 9 out of 10 times we can resolve the issue if the client is willing to troubleshoot with us.

The next time you make a list sale, use EMM data because in the unlikely event there's an issue, we'll address it quickly and with Client Success in mind. (Plus, we replace email failures 110%.)

Sign up to be a registered broker with EMM here!