Does Buying Data Work?

I’ve often wondered about this, so I bought some. A list of 1300 senior business people, in organisations of up to 100 people, in various industry sectors, across the NorthWest. With email addresses. These people are my target market segment, for part of my business.

I emailed them. I was marketing my Business Growth Workshop. I tried to write some attractive copy. I sent one email. I sent another the next week repeating the offer, and offering a subscription to this blog and also asking if they’d like a free consultation with me. I then sent a third email that was just like the second.

Buying the list and writing the emails took between one and two hours. The list cost £350 plus vat.

So, what happened?

First the bad…

My Mother says bad news travels fast. So it seems. Immediately upon sending email 1 I had an unpleasant email conversation with a rude and offensive solicitor. He asked me lots of questions and asked for references. I answered his questions and provided references. He then decided to go directly to my friend and guest speaker, Ian Brodie. Ian, whom I had kept in the loop with this guy’s nasty emails, told him were to get off. He didn’t like that.

I had another initially unpleasant conversation with a man who assumed I was unethical even although by his own admission I appeared legitimate. After a few emails we ended up agreeing that we were both great people and we parted as friends.

I had another reply from someone who suggested I “get a proper job and stop being a bullsh*t consultant.” I checked him out. Goodness me, he knows what he’s talking about. He clearly has had a lot of advice from bullsh*t consultants.

And then the good…

Well, I got about 9 signups to Pearls. History would say one of them will buy within a year.

I got about 7 downloads of my Small Business Healthcheck. Again, this will lead to about one sale within the next year.

I got an email from an MD of an international company who asked for more info. I had a nice call with her and we’ll see what happens. I got a call from another MD of an international company. I have since met him and we have planned to do a pilot coaching programme, and, if he likes it, we’ll roll it out to some of his team. And then maybe the world. Who knows?

Oh, and I got two delegates for the workshop as well.

I got an average 18% open rate, say about 230 opens per email. I was surprised that this was so high. Maybe my copywriting is getting better. They say you should concentrate on the headline, or in this case, the email title. I did.

So, what is my return-on-investment?

Well, it’s £1,700 immediately and a high probability of approximately £3,000 to £5,000 over the next 6 months. There will be more after that, but I’m not going to bother to estimate it. So that’s a total return of roughly £5,700, conservatively.  I will review this properly at 6 months and 12 months.

And there’s still more value to be had from the list…53 people looked at the workshop microsite but didn’t buy…that doesn’t mean they’re not interested…they opened the email, went to the site and spent an average of 3 minutes there. They’re clearly interested. It’s just that they weren’t ready to buy, for whatever reason. But their time will come.

For a first attempt at using cold data I’d say it was a resounding success.

Marketing? Great stuff.

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