Buying Business to Business Mailing Lists

One of the most sought-after and jealously-guarded business tool is the business to business mailing list. A good one is pure gold, crammed with cold-call sales opportunities and good business karma; a bad one is an expensive waste of time. There are two ways to get a good mailing list: compile it yourself, or purchase it. Because compiling them takes time, patience, and money, businesses often opt to purchase business to business mailing lists, at least in the early days of a company. How can you ensure you get a good list, not a bad one?

1. First, make sure any business to business mailing list you purchase has been validated using the NCOA. This verifies address accuracy. If they do not use this minimal screening technique, chances are that their information is old and inaccurate, and may contain duplicates, errors, and other problems that invalidates a large portion of the information you pay good money to buy.

2. How clear and simple to use is their website? A good business to business mailing list broker will put all their information up front. Avoid companies that accept Paypal only as a payment method; this means they could not get a merchant account through Visa or Mastercard and are not fiscally sound, an indication of a likely scam.

3. List rentals, offering lists for one-time use only, are generally offered by companies that are getting their data from someone else. While legitimate business to business mailing list companies may offer a one-time use (a common purchaser of these being not-for-profit organizations), if they ONLY offer one-time use, they are very unlikely to be legitimate.

4. The refund policy for any business to business mailing list should be clearly posted. Beware of companies that have too-good-to-be-true refund policies, or policies that seem to invite fraud. Chances are very good that these companies have bad lists and they’ll do everything they can to avoid giving you your money back – or will simply disappear. In most cases, legitimate business to business mailing list companies do not offer a refund at all; that’s because they know their information is accurate and the only customers seeking a refund are those whose troubles are caused by their own issues outside the list.

5. Does the company offer multiple means of contact, especially a customer service phone number? The more contact methods you see, the more likely the company is to be legitimate. To be doubly certain, check their address on a map to ensure it is real; one that is in the middle of nowhere is likely to be fraudulent.

6. Legitimate or not, a business to business mailing list company that does not offer technical support in getting your list to work for your software is one to pass up. They should offer multiple formats to download the list in, especially CSV generic, and a tech support phone number in case you still have trouble. Look also for an FAQ section. Every legitimate mailing list company gets plenty of tech assist calls; one that does not bother to address this on their site is probably a fly-by-night scam.

7. Do not purchase any business-to-business mailing list if the company will not send you a disk. Sure, it’s faster to get a download, but only if you have the physical CD in hand can you be assured of having all the data you need in your mailing list – and because fake companies will never send this to you, it gives you arguable protection when you pay with a credit card.