B2B marketers continue to rely heavily on email for effective lead generation, content marketing and growing revenues. According to results from the B2B Content Marketing: 2019 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report, email is the number one content distribution channel used by 87% of marketers. This means you need a “strong” in-house list, one with complete and accurate contact information.
Do you rely on purchased lists? Haven’t been properly maintaining your in-house list? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, you’re wasting time and money. Plus you’re increasing the risk of missing your revenue growth goals.
Let’s discuss 5 reasons why you should invest in your B2B in-house list
1. Purchased or Rented Lists Under Perform – There are two main reasons purchased lists under perform, inaccurate data and the person didn’t opt-in. B2B contact data changes faster than B2C. One study looked at self-reported business card changes and showed a B2B decay rate of 70.3% per year.
In addition to inaccurate data, purchased or rented lists often don’t contain the fields you need to properly segment. For example, the contact’s title or vertical segment may be missing. Inaccurate or missing data increases the likelihood your email will not be targeted to the right individuals, even if it does get delivered.
Even more important, the individual on a purchased or rented list didn’t opt-in to your emails. Therefore they likely don’t know your company. They probably opted-in to someone’s list somewhere along the line, especially in the case of a rented association list. However, you still run the risk that they see your email as spam. A properly maintained B2B in-house list outperforms a purchased list every time.
2. Better Metrics – Most B2B marketers are “graded” on how well their email campaigns perform. Common email metrics include deliverability, open rates, and click-through rates, never mind overall campaign lead generation results. However, if you are using purchased lists (see above) or not maintaining your in-house list, then your metrics will decline solely as a result of inaccurate data. It won’t matter how great your offer, messaging, or design is. You’ll see more hard bounces, fewer opens, and more unsubscribes.
By using an accurate and complete in-house list, you’ll know your metrics reflect how well your email performs based on its contents. Undeliverable email addresses or contacts with the wrong job function won’t skew your metrics.
3. Better Segmentation – As I briefly mentioned, purchased lists often don’t provide the segmentation data you need. For instance they often lack vertical segment, job role, or other classification important for your B2B marketing campaigns. In addition, your in-house list will quickly contain inaccurate data as well due to data decay. Back to the B2B data decay study, 65.8% reported a title and/or job function change and 29.6% changed companies.
Resolve to create a process for data maintenance. You can create more interesting email offers to more highly targeted segments. As a result you’ll get better lead generation and nurture.
4. Reduce Risk of a Spam Label – In addition to recipients marking your email as spam, you also increase the likelihood that email service providers will begin blocking your emails. If your list, in-house or purchased, has inaccurate email addresses, the number of hard bounces will increase. And the more times you continue to use those same undeliverable email addresses, the more likely the recipient email server will blacklist your email server. If you get on a blacklist, the recipient email server will block all of your future emails. Pardot’s Email Deliverability Handbook is a worthwhile read if you’d like to learn more about maintaining your email reputation.
5. Automation Doesn’t Mean Autopilot – Email and marketing automation tools are sophisticated enough to recognize email bounces (email that can’t be delivered). However, that doesn’t mean you should stop there. Most tools will mark email addresses with hard bounces, emails that don’t go through for permanent reasons such as not in the recipient server address list. The system will prevent future sends to hard bounces so that your email reputation doesn’t suffer. Soft bounces are temporary delivery failures such as a full mailbox. Most systems will flag emails that soft bounce and stop mailing after repeated delivery failures.
You still need a manual touch
Many B2B marketers may think this automated email bounce handling is great. While it is helpful for avoiding the blacklist, recall the data decay rate mentioned earlier. Losing a contact versus finding a new one is analogous to keeping a customer (costs way less) versus getting a new one (costs way more). That hard or soft bounce is worth investigating. Maybe the company name changed (new email domains for all employees!). Perhaps the person took on a new role (more decision making authority!) or went to a new company (evangelist for a new opportunity!). A hard bounce could be the result of a simple typo in the email address. I’ve seen many typos, especially from conference registration lists, which are easy to find and correct.
If you build your list the right way, your contacts know and have an interest in your company’s product/services. It will cost less to correct their data and reconnect with them than to get a new contact to replace them.
Be sure to correct or update bounced emails every six months as part of your list maintenance process.
No matter whether you use a full blown marketing automation or simple email marketing tool, make this the year you finally have a strong in-house list. A list that delivers more successful B2B email marketing and lead generation results.