6 Golden Rules for Reliable Business Contacts List

1. Must-Have: Full Contact Name and Position

Your sample list should include the full contact name of each e-mail recipient and it’s position in the organization, along with the direct e-mail address. Once you have received the sample, verify at least 10 contacts on LinkedIn (worldwide), Xing (Germany) or Viadeo (France). If cannot find any of them,

Be cautious if you receive an emails list with this crucial data missing or incomplete (e.g. initials only). If there is not such data or data quality or completeness is obviously low, demand for money refund. Having the full name of email recipient is important to allow at least basic personalization of e-mails. Without having full name and direct e-mail, you will not be able to prepare anything beyond general e-mail loosely aligned with personality of your recipients, and you are very likely to land in “Spam” or “Newsletters” folder, which is never read.

2. Avoid General E-mail Addresses

If the sample contain email addresses like: “info@staples.com”, do not expect high response rate. Actually you might expect zero response rate. General email addresses are very common with consultancy email lists, local businesses email lists and corporate business email databases. If your list sample contains such email addresses then it is clear that the email addresses were compiled from web crawlers. For a successful email list campaign you need the email address of business owner, CEO or at least a director respective to your proposal.

3. Track and Enforce Delivery Rate

E-mail service providers (companies who transit emails through the internet) block or send to spam boxes the e-mails which are sent from an address which attempted to send e-mails to too many inexisting addresses. So if you make a flood to 1000 addresses of which half is non-deliverable, you can result in having no responses or no opens at all. This can happen if you use email list that is less than 80-90% deliverable. Demand warranty of 80+ percent email delivery rate. The best is money refund option if you get more than 20% undeliverability on a reasonable sample (50-100 contacts) of the list. You should never risk negative impact to sender reputation you hopefully already heard about.

4. Avoid “Additional Contacts for Undeliverable” Bad Deal

Some B2B list sellers promise to send you additional email addresses in exchange for undeliverable emails. There are two issues with that approach. First – this is bad deal for you, because this is your sender reputation which is at risk. You will have to send list of undelivered e-mails to your seller, so you become a “bad email detector” for your e-mail list provider, and you even paid him for performing this role. The second issue – these additional emails might be invalid or undeliverable as well. Are you willing to waste time on repeating the complaint procedure again?

5. Target Group As Requested

Take a few items sample and just go to the websites of the companies on the list (you have received the company names and their websites in the contacts list, haven’t you?). If websites are already dead, it’s clear sign of not being up-to-date. Websites should show you clear alignment of their offerings with the target group specification you gave to your list supplier.

6. Avoid 100,000 Items Lists for €99.

You might think that purchasing such a list is risk-free, as you spend very little, so even if it’s crap, you don’t loose too much, right?

Wrong. If the business contacts list is crap, you will send e-mails to crappy e-mail addresses. This takes worthy time of your employees and will cost you a small pile of money if using e-mailing service. Your IP address might be blacklisted for using a low quality email list. Do not expect any positive ROI from 10 cents per email list.

All you need is 200-500 verified B2B contacts list to decisive managers in companies which are exactly in one of your narrow niches. A few hunderds of carefully selected, quality email addresses is able to generate more responses than 100000 low quality email addresses. Reasonable quality B2B contacts databases generated solely for you are usually worth their price, provided that you obeyed these safety rules.

How I achieved cold e-mail with 50% high response rate

Ideal cold e-mail… a holy grail of all marketers.  What makes the email perfect? There is only one thing really important: the e-mail is perfect if it is responded.

Your only goal and job with the cold email is to initiate a conversation.

So, before sending the next lengthy e-mail with your offering, please stop and step back. Find your “spam” folder and review a few cold e-mails sitting there. You will notice that many of them are just way too long to be read and understood in an eye blink. The sender believed that she needs to tell us everything in one huge word flood. This is quite natural, as she was afraid of not having any more chances again. If you are a busy, e-mail overloaded person, those emails are just “marked as read” and never gonna be answered.

Imagine that you are at a networking event and someone walked up and just started erupting at you with detailed information. Of course you would try to listen politely and actively, but also would be looking for any opportunity to step out quickly.

Cold e-mails have some advantages on telephone conversations. Most important is that you do not interrupt the receiver in what he is doing at the moment. You give him the freedom to analyze and hopefully respond your message in convenient time moment.

Knowing what the cold e-mail should not look like, here are a few proven rules to significantly increase your chances for getting a response.

1. To The Point!

Save your keyboard by avoiding lengthy excuses that you know the recipient is busy and how are you impressed with your lead’s business, unless you really have some information worth to mention to show as a proof that your message is hand-crafted. Do not waste time to properly introduce yourself (footer does the job). You will save quite a few sentences, resulting in valuable seconds of your recipient’s time. Remember, your only goal is to grab your lead’s attention. So the quickly you get to the point, the better.

2. Use The Nicest Word

The nicest word for every person in the world is… this person’s name. You also love to hear your name, don’t you? Use it at the beginning in your e-mail header. Include it again somewhere in the middle. The message will appear more friendly and hand-crafted. Definitely your recipient will desire to answer you.

3. Captivate

Do not put all the cards on the table. Tell your recipient that you have a solution that fits in well with her business. Make something to intrigue her, to create a desire to ask for  more. This will also make your e-mail more polite, as it gives more space for your recipient – they can simply respond with some question resulting in a conversation started! Be modest, do not overstate benefits, as this might lose your credibility. It is all about your recipient, not about you.

4. Be Spatial

Avoid long paragraphs, with too sophisticated sentences. Enter and dot are your friends. Commas, unless, if, however and similar structures are enemies for quick and easy assimilation of your message.. Too difficult to read content makes your reader to perceive it as a hard work and causes just putting it off for later, often forever.

5. Be Casual

This is especially important for Europeans – they tend to be more formal than necessary. Email messages are, by convention, more casual in nature than printed documents. Do not hesitate to use shortcuts, like like “I’d” and “You’ve”. They sound friendlier. Avoid calling your recipient Mr. or Mrs.. It is too formal for an email and you might even make a mistake, especially when sending bulk emails.

Nobody have superpowers to attract anyone to do business. But everybody can improve the chances to receive the response, the one and ultimate goal of the cold email.

If you have any other tricks that have worked for you, let me know in the comments!