What if you could get your hands on hundreds of potential leads for your video production services? What if these leads are targeted and are the kind of people who would be interested in the kind of services you offer?
Buying a list of leads can be an effective way of uncovering new prospects to sell your video production services to. When you buy a list, you get a set number of prospects, complete with their contact information.
I’ve bought lead lists in a range of industries and I’ve had success with both:
- lists of local business leads.
- lists of ‘brides getting married soon’ leads.
In this article, I’ll detail the reasons for purchasing leads lists and explain the best way of doing so if this is something you want to pursue.
Lead Lists – An Introduction
A while back, I posted an article about cold calling. As this article about lead lists is linked to cold (and its much better cousin, warm) calling, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t read that as a blanket indictment of reaching out to people you don’t know. Nothing is further from the truth.
If you want to get a bigger client base sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do. With the aforementioned article, I argued that my version of warm calling is much better than the traditional method of cold calling random people. Not only does it have a low success rate but, more importantly, it lowers your respect for yourself and potential clients.
Instead, approach prospects that are already within your network. Once you branch out and network, you start finding that you know a connector who knows a potential prospect. That way, you’ll find your approaches much better received. I detail exactly how to do that in the Cold Calling vs. Warm Calling article.
There are no strangers here; there are only friends you haven’t met yet. – William Butler
Counterintuitively, a great way to achieve this is to buy lead lists. These are lists of potential clients offered by list brokers. They give you a great deal of information about these people, often including everything from their interests and hobbies, job position and company, right the way through to more traditional info pieces like phone numbers, addresses and email.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of Lead Lists
I know what you’re thinking when I bring up lead lists.
Admittedly, they’ve gotten a bad rap over the years mostly because they unfortunately linked to spam email and unsolicited calls. Most people have had these kind of sleazy and unethical sales experience sin the past. That’s probably because most people are only aware of the carpet-bomb variety of lead lists, where charlatans offer ‘Viagra’ and ‘Diet pills’.
Yes, they’re annoying; both because they’re unsolicited and insulting. But lead lists don’t have to be like that. They can be solicited, appreciated and fulfil an honest-to-god need.
We’re going to be buying highly targeted lead lists that only have prospects that are targeted to our services and potentially interested in what we’re offering.
For example, if you’re a wedding videographer, you can buy lists of couples in your area who have voluntarily offered their information, are getting married and want their wedding filmed. Obviously when I reach out to these people offering my services, their reaction will be much different than if I was a random spammer asking them to buy viagra!
The difference with this kind of lead list buying is that the prospects are highly targeted.
Sorting Your Lead Lists To Maximize Targeting
When we get the lead lists, we’re also going to sort through the list and work out who the best candidates are to contact. It’s not just about carpet-bombing every name on the list.
Take a list of local businesses for example. Here’s what you do.
- You buy the list and start investigating more deeply.
- Visit the websites of the companies on the lead list. Do they already have online video?
- If they already have online video, you can remove them from your list. For now. Yes, they might still want more video, but chances are they already have a video production service that they work with.
- Once you’ve whittled down your list to those who don’t have online video already, you can contact the prospects on the new list.
This is just one of many ways to make your lead lists more targeted. You could target your lists based on a specific industry you want to target, for example. Say you’re a fan of making promotional videos for gyms and health clubs. You can target your marketing communication at that type of client and then approach only gyms/health clubs on the list.
Lead lists can be customised and targeted before you buy or after you buy. You can buy a generic list of businesses and then whittle down based on your preferred targeting yourself, or just buy a list that’s targeted already.
Now, buying a list with only these kinds of people on there is going to be far more expensive per address. Sometimes they can cost up to a few dollars per lead. But if that means more of the people on those lists become clients and nobody resents me reaching out, then that’s worth it. The trick is to keep your costs down and get the most of the lists you do buy.
To that end, some pointers.
Questions to ask before you buy a list
Some questions you should consider before purchasing a list:
1. Is the company in good standing?
There are a lot of sham list-sellers out there. So before you buy anything, check what other people have said! Of course the occasional bad review might just be bad luck or bad mouthing by the competition. But if they get a lot of bad press, then they’re probably not for you.
2. How do they gather their information and how old is it?
Information spreads naturally across the internet, trickling out from the first people to gather it to an ever bigger audience. Therefore older information is easier to get but less accurate.
As an example, for a wedding videographer that obviously makes a big difference. If they’re already married, you’ve missed the boat. For other areas (read: promotional videos) data that’s a bit out of date might be less harmful. You need to consider carefully how time sensitive your video production niche is. The less time sensitive, the older your data can be.
3. Will you get refunded for out-of-date information?
Of course, old is not the same as inaccurate. If a lot of email addresses no longer exist then then you shouldn’t be paying for those contacts. Of course, the older the information is, the more often this will happen. And the more likely a system to reimburse you is not going to be in place.
So make sure you pay attention.
4. Do the people on the list have an opportunity to opt out?
Whether people can opt out is vital and something you need to ask about.
Firstly, not giving people a choice isn’t ethical.
Secondly, from a business perspective if leads can’t get off the list when they want to, a lot of the people on it will not want to be contacted. That means they’ll be less interested in your service. In this case, the value of each address on the list is going to be reduced.
5. Are you renting or buying your connections?
Rent email addresses and phone numbers? Yes, it’s possible! It means that they will connect you, instead of you doing it yourself. The advantage is twofold.
One, the individual connects are going to be cheaper.
Two, the list brokers are probably more careful about managing their list, as they want to rent it out to more people. This means the people on it will get contacted less, hopefully making them more receptive. On the flip side, if your call-to-action doesn’t work, then your effort and money is wasted.
6. Does your call to action work?
When reaching out you’ve got to have an effective call-to-action.
What does that mean? Only one thing: that the leads either become clients or at least connect to your network (think your Twitter, Facebook, email newsletter, etc.)
If that’s not happening, no matter how good your call-to-action might seem, it isn’t working. The best way to find out if it’s working is to try your campaign in waves.
Send out to a few hundred people and see what the conversion rate is. Ask them a few questions about what they liked and what they didn’t. Then you can tweak your call-to-action and try again.
7. How long do you really need your list to be?
Often, depending on the list, the first 1000 people on your list are going to be the most expensive. Each additional 1000 will be cheaper. This makes it seem like it is well worth adding 1000 more leads, and then another.
Make sure you actually need these extra leads and aren’t just being up-sold an unnecessary add-on. You don’t always want fries with that!
If you do buy a lot of leads, check if you can get them divided into blocks or tiers. That way, you can hold off on getting a new block of up-to-date leads until you’re done with the last one. This can make buying large blocks of leads more interesting.
8. Will you have to pay for duplicates?
This might not matter much when you first start buying lists, but after a while chances are you might already have a lot of the people in your own files and you don’t want to pay for what you’ve already got.
In that case you need to make sure the list broker is willing to ‘deduplicate’ your list. The easiest way to do that is to make sure your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is searchable so that this process can be automated.
Recommended Lead List Sellers
Why buying Lead Lists is not the same as Cold Calling
Lead lists are ways to outsource some of your research for very little money. You can get a whole bunch of information for little money.
The important thing to realize is that just because you’re getting some of your research outsourced and done cheaply, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any more research.
Almost everybody has an online profile now. By putting their names into google, you’ll have a much better idea of how to reach out to people and what to say when you do. And that will mean you’re more likely to convert that lead into a client.
What’s more, in my own experience the simple act of spending a few minutes doing research changes a lead from a number into a person. For me, therein lies the difference between using a lead list and cold calling. Because when I see the person behind the number, I can contact them as people and get responded to as a human being. And that makes reaching out to them rewarding for both them and me.
You see, in itself no tool is good or bad. It’s what you do with it that makes it good or bad.
I hope this article has been helpful. Drop any thoughts, ideas or questions in the comments below this article. And please share using the share buttons below.
Thanks for this!
Thanks for the article. I’ve experimented with lead lists in the wedding industry and have had varied results. I’ll try again with some of the strategies here.
Hey there, I am a huge fan of your website! I am currently employed as a technical support representative for a BPO provider.
Just a big thanks for everything you do, Matt!
This is just what I needed, thanks!
Hello, I am a huge fan of your blog! Great article on lead lists
Great stuff. I’ve tried it all – lead lists, networking, cold calling, etc etc. I’ve found in my experience that lead lists didn’t get my anywhere. Still I’ve always asked myself if maybe I was just using the wrong lists.
Anyway, thanks for the great work on this article. Dan