“How can my organization find new leads or customers to increase sales?” This may be one of the most common questions across all different types of organizations.
In fact, when turning to Google with this question, I am presented with 280,000,000 different articles for “tips” and “the best ways” to generate qualified sales leads.
I’ll save you the time of skimming these articles and share the most common answers.
- Use social media
- Get referrals from current customers
- Attend a networking event
- Revisit lost opportunities
- Create an email campaign
And the most dreaded answer of all…
Purchase a customer email list.
There is, on the other hand, a smart and out of the box thinking that is not often referenced when sales professionals ask: “How can I find new customers?”
The answer? Market Research.
This article will walk you through why purchased email lists are bad for business and how to find new customers the smart way with market research.
Don’t Fall for List-Purchasing Companies False Promises
While most of the responses above are not bad advice and can help drum up some new business, the chances are you are already using these marketing techniques.
The problem? They are still not providing the kind of leads you are hoping for.
Your organization likely does not have an endless marketing budget, so whatever it is you do decide to spend it on – DO NOT let it be customer email lists from a third-party vendor.
We get it. The competition for new customers is increasing every day – especially for those working in the B2B space. As a result, it is not easy to collect a steady stream of new leads or customers.
Purchasing an email list may seem like a quick fix. Spoiler Alert: It's not.
List purchasing companies are really smart in how they advertise their “customer databases.” Their marketing consists of false promises as their services seem like the easy answer speak to all common sales pain points:
“Access to over a million professional profiles.”
“Find accurate phone numbers and email addresses for every company.”
“Reach your dream customer on your first try.”
What they don’t advertise is by purchasing an email list, your inbound marketing strategy can severely suffer.
3 Reasons Purchased Email Lists Are Bad For Business
Even if your target audience is super niche, and a list-purchasing vendor has thousands of email addresses who match your idea of an ideal lead, this form of email marketing is still bad for your business. Here's why.
1. Your emails will not be compliant under GDPR.
GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation is a law on data protection and privacy. It assures that personal data is gathered legally and under strict conditions – this includes both email addresses and phone numbers.
In other words, customers and prospects must have given consent to receive emails from your organization.
This means that the handy dandy customer email list you just purchased is not compliant with GDPR regulations. The contacts on this list have not explicitly signed up to receive email promotions from your company.
Violating GDPR has various risks including heavy monetary fines, public scrutiny, and your email domain registering as spam.
2. Your email marketing platform likely does not allow contacts from purchased lists.
Due to the seriousness of sending GDPR compliant emails, many email marketing platforms do not allow businesses to upload a list of non-opted-in subscribers.
Additionally, even if your purchased list company assures all email addresses are compliant with GDPR, most email marketing services do not allow the use of purchased subscribers.
Why is this? According to MailerLite, purchased emails often lead to spam complaints which damage your sender reputation. A few more reasons include:
- It kills your email deliverability
- You will have low open/click rates
- It’s a total waste of money and time
Hey…those are their words, not ours – but we don’t disagree!
3. These “reputable leads” have no idea who you are.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. If you started receiving emails from a company you have never subscribed to, or even heard of, you are going to think it’s spam and likely unsubscribe. Don’t start a new customer relationship off on the wrong foot. I promise, there is a better way.
How to Grow New Customers the Right Way with Market Research
What better way to understand the needs and wants of your target customer, then to ask them? Many of our B2B clients come to Drive Research asking how they can utilize market research to leverage new customers.
There are many studies our market research company can recommend for achieving this goal. First, Drive Research will meet with your team to understand:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your objectives?
- What do you want to learn from this audience?
- What is your timeline and budget for conducting research?
From here, our market research company creates a custom plan based on your exact specifications. Possible market research studies to target non-customers include online surveys, focus groups, and image & awareness studies.
Online surveys are possibly the most cost-effective research methodology for collecting feedback from non-customers. Within days, Drive Research can write, program, and send a survey into fieldwork.
The one caveat to online surveys? The shorter they are, the better they perform. Our market research company recommends conducting surveys that are no longer than 5-minutes. This limits how many questions you can ask and the detail in the feedback of responses.
Focus groups offer more of an exploratory approach to non-customer research than online surveys. This type of qualitative research involves a small sample of people to provide their feedback all at once.
Focus groups also allow organizations to display marketing materials such as logos, commercials, website designs, and advertisements to understand what is most well perceived by participants.
These 4-12 participants will match your criteria of who is your target audience to measure how your larger customer base will react.
This type of market research helps organizations assess awareness levels and brand equity among target markets. The sample of respondents is representative of a total market including customers and non-customers.
An image and awareness study will allow your organization to understand if you are top of mind among the community, and if not what competitor is most popular.
From here, the survey can ask why someone uses a competitor, what it would take for them to switch, levels of satisfaction, and more.
Finding Non-Customers to Participate in Research
Drive Research evaluates who your ideal, target customer is. This can include age, gender, location, interests, and more. From here, we use behavioral and demographic targeting to match our respondents to your criteria.
The respondents or participants of our market research studies represent your market area as a whole.
Using Market Data to Leverage New Leads
Regardless of what market research study you choose to conduct with a third-party, the insight and action-driven data you now have is invaluable. Your non-customer research study will answer questions such as:
- Where does your target market find companies like yours?
- What are their top factors in choice?
- What are their top sources of awareness?
- Where is there a gap in the market?
- What would drive someone to switch to doing business with you?
Even more so, questions like these can be broken down and analyzed into different segments of customers (age, gender, location) to craft specialized marketing campaigns for each.
It is important to have fact-based evidence when creating marketing messaging of any kind or else you are simply wasting time, effort, and money.
A market research company, like Drive Research, will provide more than just numbers and statistics. We offer our clients a thorough interpretation of data and recommendations for how they best can attract new customers.
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design an effective non-customer survey for organizations all over the country. We can deliver results better than any purchasing-email company.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.