Not everyone has the resources or business model to be able to collect the email or mail address of enough businesses to warrant running their own marketing campaign. That's where List Brokers come in.
A List Broker is someone, or a company who has the resources to collect opt-in data from various sources and will rent or sell you that information for a price. The data should be cleansed regularly and as up to date as possible.
Doing an internet search for "mailing lists" or "list brokers" will return hundreds of companies all offering similar services. So how can you tell if a particular list broker is any good?
The best way is the same as if you want to find out anything about any company. You ask people especially people who are in the same field as you. Even competitors, if you're on speaking terms with them. Nothing can promote a business better than word of mouth. We all know that, otherwise we wouldn't be in business. Getting a recommendation from someone you trust is by far the best way of finding a good broker.
Small business websites or forums are another good place to go for information of any kind. There will often be reviews of companies offering services to new businesses, and a list of those to be wary of.
When you have found a few suitable list brokers for your direct mail marketing campaign, talk to them. Call or visit them and get a feel for them. Do they listen more than they talk? How interested in your business are they? Do they tailor a solution to fit your situation or try and make you fit into one of theirs?
Talk to the broker about your plans. The more information they have, the better job they can do for you. Some list companies are better with B2C or B2B, the more the broker has to work with, the more compatible the list can be. Also be truthful about the scale and frequency of any campaigns you want to run. Build up a good relationship with them, you will need them in the future.
If you treat getting a List Broker like making any other kind of business contact you should be fine. Asking for recommendations, researching, then making the approach is all good business practice. The rest comes down to gut feeling and how confident you are in the people you speak to when you approach.
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