Crafting a robust list or database requires a combination of clarity of purpose, finesse, and a healthy dose of elbow grease – verifying and validating lists can be tedious, hard work, but a well-built database can prove invaluable. In fact, an accurate target database is really your most important marketing asset. Fresh names and email addresses mean greater campaign efficiency and higher response rates. And in today’s increasingly competitive market, with expectations of high-performance delivery climbing ever higher, getting your contact list/database right is more crucial than ever.
Here are four key steps that can help reduce the effort and cost of list building while producing a more successful result:
- Know your audience. The first step in building that accurate list might seem obvious, but it is surprising how many companies miss the mark – know your audience. Be clear about who your target market is: the industries you’re trying to reach, as well as the business size. If you sell complex, expensive solutions, you’re probably better off not targeting SMBs. If you’re selling to banks, don’t include insurance companies! While it would seem that this should go without saying, experience indicates that companies still have work to do on targeting realistic prospects – make sure your products and services truly align with the needs and budgets of your target market.
- Determine your target roles. Once you’ve chosen the best target market segments – the one’s where your value proposition resonate the best – you need to refine precisely who in that target market you’re trying to reach. Determine what your prospect’s buying process is and where in the process you can best leverage the value you offer. Do you need to connect with those experiencing the pain points who report upwards? Or would it be more advantageous to target the decision makers directly? The nature and complexity of your solution, and its corresponding price, will help determine what level of management should be targeted. Gaining a clear understanding of titles, levels, roles, and responsibilities in your target audience is vital to creating an efficient and useful list.
- Specify the “no-contact list”. Likewise, in an effort to capitalize on an efficient database, you also need to determine those who should not be contacted. The “no-contact list” will be a combination of a very pointed list including, customers, competitors, and contacts already in your database, as well as a broader list of unsuitable segments and roles.
- Determine your objective. Next you’ll need to be clear about your list’s objective. This objective will dictate your level of research and time spent on verifying and validating your list. Highly focused and targeted lists will require you to go deep on your research to ensure accuracy by verifying each and every contact – but a direct-dial phone number which actually reaches the key decision maker personally (rather than getting you stuck on a gatekeeper), can prove invaluable. Or perhaps you are looking to launch a direct-mail campaign containing a high-value incentive – to minimize your mailing costs you’ll want to ensure that your list’s postal addresses are indeed correct. Alternatively, if your list is intended to reach 200,000 prospects via email to announce your “deal-of-the-month,” chances are you’re not going to want to spend the same resources necessary to develop highly targeted lists. For high-volume lists, it’s impractical to strive for the same 100% accuracy you might otherwise seek.
The often-overlooked success in list or database building is found not in the process itself, but rather in where you begin the process. A list’s effectiveness largely lies in understanding upfront, with the utmost clarity and level of detail possible, precisely who your target audience is – their industry, their business size, their location, and so on down to individual titles, roles, and responsibilities. Combine this detailed knowledge with a clear purpose and you’ll have a winning formula for successful list and database building.
Building a great list takes time and resources which is why many companies outsource the task. Just make sure that you chose the right list building partner who can help you build the list you need and meet your campaign objectives. To find out more about selecting a list building partner, download our complimentary Buyer’s Guide to Selecting a Contact Database Vendor – just click on the button below.
What challenges have you faced in building and maintaining a great target account database? How have you overcome them?