Like most startups, when you’re finally ready to scale your venture, you reach a point where you want to start launching marketing campaigns. It is at that moment that you’ll realize the catch 22: you can’t market without contacts, but it’s hard to get contacts without marketing. What you need is a prospect list. So where do you start? How much budget should you allocate? And what tactics are most effective for getting prospects into the funnel?
If you’re familiar with prospect list build strategies, you know that options range from low-volume high-quality to high-volume ‘luck-of-the-draw’ and that the cost per contact can be anywhere from 1 cent to $100 or more. So how do you know what’s right?
To start building your plan, follow these three steps:
1. Determine how many contacts you need. According to a 2011 industry report, the average email open rates range from 5-15% and are even lower for early-stage start-ups, which don’t have the benefit of brand recognition. The average click-through rate is 5-20%, which means that if you email 1000 contacts you are likely to get between 2-30 leads. Decide how many leads your business needs, then work backwards to calculate the number of contacts you have to acquire. This will determine the size of your prospect list.
2. Build a plan to leverage the contacts. Don’t wait until you have the contacts to figure out what you’ll do with them. Lay out your course of action in advance of building your prospect list and make sure the contacts you’re acquiring are the right ones for your outreach. Who within your target market do you want to focus on? Which industries will you prioritize? How do you plan to engage the contacts once you have them?
3. Choose the source type that’s right for you. Once you determine how many contacts you need and how much budget you’re willing to allocate, you should consider what types of sources are most appropriate for building your contact list. Here are some of the common types of sources:
Once you’ve outlined your approach for Steps 1 & 2 above, you’re ready for part II of this blog topic, coming later this month. The post will discuss key prospect list source types in greater detail and highlight the pros and cons of each.