5 Questions to Ask When Renting an Email Address List

May 8, 2012

5 questions to ask when renting an email address listFor targeted email advertising, email list rental can be one of the most cost-effective ways to get your message in front of a precise, hard to reach audience at just the right time. However, because many list owners, brokers, and campaign service providers follow less-than-best practices, you need to know how to weed out the revenue-builders from the spammers. Look for these five critical elements when renting your next email address list:

1) Is the list refreshed every 30-90 days? Most email address lists are stale, especially if your provider uses third generation lists (purchased from the email list of a now out of business company). Email addresses churn faster than postal addresses and become undeliverable. A reputable list provider will cleanse and validate their entire database at least once every 90 days.

2) Were subscribers gathered using strict, permission-based practices? A reputable email address rental list will contain only subscribers that are gathered by reputable companies, such as major publishing brands, using the strictest permission-based practices that are fully compliant with anti-SPAM laws. Avoid any provider that has questionable email gathering and scraping practices, such as gathering from disreputable sources. Ideally your recipients will have been through a double opt-in process, where the user didn’t just sign up on a whim, but confirmed that they wanted to receive targeted email advertising from companies such as yours.

3) Do contact records contain enough data to support precise targeting? The #1 factor affecting email campaign performance is your ability to segment your list and precisely target your audience with relevant messages. Unfortunately, most marketers say this is their top challenge: according to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report only 28% of email marketers are successfully sending relevant communications to segmented audiences. Most rental lists have little useful data beyond the email address itself, or the contact profiles are categorized too generally (i.e., a client opted in to get information on “technology” as opposed to “email marketing software”). A useful email address list will contain detailed contact profiles with as many as 150 demographic psychographic, and behavioural data fields gathered from many reliable sources.

4) Is 100% email delivery guaranteed? If the email list rental price seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s better to spend your precious marketing budget on a legitimate email list rental provider who can give you a 100% delivery guarantee than to throw it away on a list that might have a less than 70% delivery rate and a dismal open rate due to poor targeting.

5) Does the list service provider have the necessary expertise and a proven methodology? You don’t have direct access to email rental lists so you must rely on a reputable campaign delivery partner. Look for someone who is responsive, takes the time upfront to understand your requirements, and has a proven methodology and the expertise to guide, manage, test, and optimize all aspects of your targeted email advertising campaign. You’re busy enough already; you need a partner that will make your life easy, not someone you’ll have to chase down.

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