Should You Buy B2B Marketing and Contact Lists?



I was recently answering a question on Quora about purchasing marketing and contact lists for outbound marketing.  Someone was wondering whether or not they should buy these lists and, if so, how should they go about doing it? Around 90% of the responses were horrible stories and people advising to never, under any circumstances, buy an existing list because of how badly they’d been burned by it.  I’m not that absolute on not buying lists, though there are definitely things to consider and be wary of.

First, consider who you’re buying lists from.  How legitimate are they?  If you have the money, someone at the top end like ZoomInfo (a massive database of contacts) might be the way to go.  You’ll pay more per contact, but the contacts are verified, and you get money back should they bounce.  If you’re searching for more niche and random lists, you’ll find a lot of odd looking websites that offer absurd amounts of contacts for the price.  In these situations, I try to reach out, and find the people involved on LinkedIn.  If these sites are run by 1 or 2 people, don’t do it.  The chance of that list being any good is slim to none, so be careful.

If a website looks like it’s 10 years old and has never been updated, it’s probably not a good place to buy from.  Generally, it means they built the list for themselves or purchased it from somewhere else.  They then threw a site up and are trying to use SEO or other tactics to rank it up.  You can buy lists from reputable places, but common-sense dictates that you get what you pay for.  If the price per contact goes below 40 cents I would be wary, because it doesn’t make sense that they would be making money selling so low.

If you do your research and make sure there are reputable companies with actual employees making these lists, you’ll do a lot better.  A final note is to not just bet on the sample, as they’ll likely send you the best contacts in the sample to entice you to buy the whole list.  Use caution, and you can buy lists without it turning into another horror story.

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