Should You Buy Lead Lists for Email Marketing?

January 10, 2012

Yesterday, Hubspot had a pretty helpful blog post on A Marketer’s Guide to Getting Past Email Spam Filter. But there was 1 tip in the blog post with which we really take issue.

Here it is: Don’t buy or rent lists. Yes, you can legally purchase lists of people who have agreed to email communications, but they aren’t likely to actually want your emails, increasing the likelihood they will mark you as spam.”

Lead lists: to buy or not to buy. This is the question facing all business owners and marketing professional. There are 2 extreme schools of thought. 1) All your lead generation should derive from inbound marketing strategies such as SEO, PPC and social media. 2) These new-fangled marketing channels are all hype, and buying qualified leads from reputable companies like Hoover’s is the best way to get to the decision markers for your target market.

At National Positions, we’re a big believer in inbound marketing tactics, obviously. The best kinds of lead are the ones which are already searching for your products or services. These leads don’t need to be sold on the product or service itself–they’re already searching for that–they just need to convinced that you have a good product. That’s much easier.

That being said, we still believe that lead lists are very helpful for most businesses. Qualified lead lists aren’t always best, but they ensure your company a steady stream of incoming leads. If you have a sizable sales operations, buying lists can be essential.

With a qualified lead list, you still have to use email marketing software (such as Hubspot’s) to segment lists and setup an automated email campaign to nurture leads. By nurturing leads, you are providing quality value exchange to earn the trust of your potential customers. There’s nothing shady about this.

So yes, inbound leads such SEO, PPC and social media are much better than bought leads. But they’re not mutually exclusive.

Often, your company will benefit from a 3-pronged approach to lead generation: 1) Inbound leads 2) Bought lead lists 3)Business Development, high-level prospecting and partnership programs.

There’s no reason to take a hard line for lead generation. You can always test out a new strategy and measure the ROI. Always use Key Performance Indicators to track the success of every lead gen campaign!

So is it buying leads or investing in inbound lead generation? Often, it’s both.

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