EMAIL LIST RENTAL VS BUYING AN EMAIL LIST

Key points from this episode

  • Focus on what works
  • Fast List Building
  • Personalize your email!
  • How to rent email lists

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Doug Morneau: Well welcome back listeners, to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today I've got joining me, a friend of mine, Rod Janz. Now, Rod, during his career, he's been a business owner and a realtor. From the year 2000 to 2007, he was the Vice President at Promise Inc, which produced an award-winning children's website called, KidZap. From there, he moved into real estate and eventually and enthusiastically landed a job at Mission Possible. Rod has been involved in online marketing and in podcasting. At Mission Possible, Rod is the full-time Manager of Development Communications. He oversees the day to day marketing and communications, as well as fundraising and events.

Mission Possible is a non-profit humanitarian agency that transforms the lives by helping people challenged by homelessness and poverty, achieve a renewed sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work. Mission Possible provides people with job training and work experience through innovative programs like The Employment Readiness Program, and MP Maintenance, and MP Neighbors. Rod is currently working on several different projects such as StillWater Magazine, Aim Digital Marketing, ton jour Spa Services, Q4Fit.com, and on this very podcast, Real Marketing Real Fast. Welcome to the show.

Rod Janz: Thanks, Doug.

Doug Morneau: Well it's good to hang out today, and the goal today, actually we're going to take a little bit different approach. We're just going to chat a bit about email, and email list rental, and the confusion that goes around that. I came across a new stat today that had just come in my inbox from Return Path. It said that “After 45 years, that email is still a critical channel for marketers. In 2017 there are over 3.7 billion email users representing more than half the world's population. The research still shows that in addition to its reach, email is consistently rated as the consumers preferred channel for brand communications.”

Rod Janz: Yeah. Sorry, go ahead.

Doug Morneau: No, after you.

Rod Janz: Well just since we've been working together on this podcast, I've been paying a lot more attention to email. Yeah, it's sort of … It's funny how it's become sort of the forgotten marketing channel. You're out there, and the guests that you've had on the show are out there trumpeting its benefits, and here at Mission Possible I've been paying more attention to our email list, and cleaning them up. Like one of your guests suggested, I used one of the tools that were suggested on the show. We went from 1,100 subscribers down to about 690 or something like that. It was … The next email that I sent out was far more effective.

You slagged me on the show for this, you didn't mention my name. Thanks for that. But, I wasn't putting in the individual's names in the greeting. I started doing that too and personalizing the email. It's something I wanted to do for a long time. I feel like I had a good excuse for not doing it, but your show convinced me to do that again.

Doug Morneau: Well that's funny. I mean, we have all this technology and we can do all these things, and now artificial intelligence has come into the email world as well. People are using it to write effective content, or at least to generate content, as well as testing subject lines, and come back to the basics. Like you said, yeah, I mentioned that people are still not using my name in an email when they're sending it out, and I'm obviously in their database.

Rod Janz: Yeah. I want to say one more thing about that too. It's kind of like … Did you ever read, “The Millionaire Next Door.” That book?

Doug Morneau: I didn't, no.

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Rod Janz: You didn't, okay. One of the points they make in that book is that a lot of the millionaires next door, they're doing things … They were doing when the book was written, it was probably back in the 80's or something like that. But, most of the people that they talked about in that book, were doing things that weren't that sexy, you know? They had like steel manufacturing plants, or whatever. Maybe had a used parts company. They weren't doing things that were all that sexy. I feel like email's kind of like that as well. It's not all that sexy, but it works. It's effective, you know?

It's not Snapchat, it's not the latest platform that everybody's excited about, but it still works. Which, is the point that you keep making. It's something to pay attention to.

Doug Morneau: Well you still need to have an email address to deal with your bank, and you need an email address in most cases to signup for social media. It's still there, and I try to say that I'm tactic agnostic, I just focus on what works. Email is still a big part of what we do, in addition to all the web, and retargeting ads, and Google ads, and all that other good stuff. We still find that it does the heavy lifting, that we can immediately generate massive, massive response and leads in the very short period of time. In terms of time, I'm talking minutes, and hours. Not days, weeks, and months.

Rod Janz:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). Good, you want to jump into some questions?

Doug Morneau: Sure, let's go.

Rod Janz: Great. Okay, so you … Why don't we start out with, what's the difference between buying and renting email? I know it's something you've done on a very large and high level. Maybe you could explain the difference to us.

Doug Morneau: Sure, sounds good. So a couple of things I want to mention about it, is really that there's a big misunderstanding in the marketplace, and quite frankly I don't understand why. If we think of buying or renting a house, obviously we know there's a major difference. Yet, when it comes to email, there's this myth that buying email is the same as renting email, and that they're both illegal and spam. Which, couldn't be further from the truth.

What takes this even one level further is if you look at many of the email service providers websites, like HubSpot, and MailChimp, and Aweber, they specifically say that you're not allowed to use rented lists on their servers. But, let's just explain the difference and answer your question. If I purchase a list, I receive a file, and in that file I receive all the contact information from the individuals on the list.

When I rent a list, I'm renting the list from a third party. Meaning that third-party controls access to the list. I think the confusion between email list rental and email list purchasing, may come from the direct marketing field, or direct mail field. When you're renting a list for direct mail, your advertising agency and/or your mailing house actually receives the file with all the contact information of the individuals on the direct mail file. That's for obvious reasons. Somebody needs to put the postal address on the envelope, and mail merges a letter, and send it out.

Now, you may ask, “Well what prevents people from using it over and over again?” Well with a direct mail list, the users are normally going to put in a seed address, or seed addresses, which are addresses that they've set up and they control, so they can see if you've used it more than once.

However, when email list rental came into the mainstream or at least the mainstream for some of us, that wasn't the case. The list owners and the list managers were not willing to send that file anywhere, and they keep control of that file, they manage it on an email service provider, often many of the ones that I just mentioned that prohibit people from using rented lists. But that's where their file's housed. The relationship goes from me controlling the content and having access to the list, to us actually developing the content, sending the content over to the list broker, or the list manager, or the list owner to view the content, approve it, and then if it's approved, then that list owner or manager actually sends the email from their servers.

There's never a time where we see the data or the information of who's going to receive it, so the relationship is between the email recipient or the subscriber, and the particular brand that they've subscribed to. That's the big difference. If you've subscribed to a golf magazine, for example, to learn how to improve golf, and I want to send an ad to you. They send the ad from their domain, from their brand. One of the advantages of renting data over trying to purchase it, aside from the legalities, is that you're actually borrowing the credibility and the relationship with the brand. If you can find the right list to rent with brands that respect their users and treat them well, their users are expecting to receive an email from them, and they're expecting that they're coming so they will open them.

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Rod Janz: You know what it kind of reminds me of Doug, is the influence marketing that's going on these days. Someone will agree to do an ad on their Instagram account, and they're sending it out to their own followers. It's kind of … There's an equivalency there, isn't there?

Doug Morneau: Yeah, that's really, that's a great analogy. I've never heard anybody mention that because that's the new hot topic. Goodbye Snapchat, hello influence marketing. There was just a conference in the UK last week, around that particular topic. That's exactly what they're doing. You're trying to identify celebrities or influencers online, that have large Instagram or Twitter accounts, and you're paying them to send a message out. That's probably the closest thing to email list rental of anything I've seen.

Rod Janz: And just to dig a little bit deeper, I think sometimes people feel like it's illegal or might be spam. Maybe you could tell us why it's … I think you've already explained it a little bit, but maybe go a little bit deeper on that. Why isn't it one of those two things?

Doug Morneau: Well the US, United States is the only country in the world that still allows you to send email without permission. You can purchase a list, and you can send that list in a business to business setting in the US, and be can spam compliant. The rest of the world that prohibits that says, “You must have permission.” In the example I gave with the golf magazine if you have subscribed to the golf magazine and given them permission to send you email, and then they sell me an ad in their email, the permission is still with the golf magazine, so they haven't broken any laws.

That's why it's compliant because they never give up the data, we never see it, we never get access to it, and the relationship and the permission lay with the list owner and the brand that the subscribers have joined.

Rod Janz: Cool. I know that we could share this with our listeners. When Doug and I get together, we'll often talk marketing for one or two hours, even if we're running up a hill, or mountain behind his house. I know from our conversations, that you've got some exciting inroads into renting lists, and getting access to them. But maybe you could … You don't have to talk about that specifically, but maybe you could tell your listeners how you find those lists. How do you get access to them?

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Doug Morneau: Well the saying that you'll hear often online, and you don't need to go very far with people promoting to you is, “How to grow your list. 10 ways to grow your list. 100 ways to grow your list.” Everybody's interested in growing their list. And, the topic I hear most often talked about the stage events is that the money's in the list. I agree the money's in the list, but the question is, whose list is the money in? If you have a small list, or you have an inactive list, or if you just want to grow your business. The money may actually be in somebody else's list, and not necessarily yours.

There's a number of ways that you can get access to mailing lists to expand your business, increase sales, and generate leads. The one that we started talking about was email list rental. Email list rental is very simple. It's just like, consider buying any other media, or any other advertising. Figure out who your customer avatar is, geographically, age, income, education. What are their hobbies, their interests? What are their pain points? Then from there, work with a list broker, such as ourselves, or one of the many other list brokers that are out there, and share that with them. Then we'll go to the marketplace, and look, and we'll see what data's available.

We may be able to find a list for … I know in the health space for example, if we look at just, we're both working on the QForFit Project. If you look at people who are unhealthy or have type two diabetes, there are tens of millions of people in America who have joined an email list, and put their hand up and said, “I have this problem. Please help me solve it.” That's a very natural, and a very easy target to go after because these are people that said, “Here, help me fix this.” And they're expecting, and give permission to receive that data.

You may also look at other big media companies. For example, The Washington Post. If you're a subscriber to The Post email list, I know we've rented that list before. But again, it comes down to looking at who your customer avatar is. That's email list rental.

Another way to get access to these, to get access to other people's lists, is through a joint venture. I may, as you know, I'm a big FitBit fan. I love my Fitbit and keeping track of what I'm doing in my fitness. But, I received an email before Mother's Day from Fitbit, and in that email, the top half talked about why I should buy another FitBit for my wife, and the bottom half was from a totally different brand. It was from a brand called, “Tory Burch,” and they're a women's designer brand. They do purses, and shoes, and that sort of stuff.

What they were doing, is they were making a nicer looking band than FitBit was, so a more of a jewelry style band. The opportunity there was, buy a new Fitbit, and then go to Tory Burch, and buy the Tory Burch piece. I thought, “Yeah, okay, I'm in. You got me. So I can do my shopping online, don't need to leave my desk.” When I went to do that, I had to register with Tory Burch, so there's a perfect example of a joint venture. Tory Burch likely approached FitBit, or the other way around, they came up with a project. Fitbit sent the email to their subscribers whom I'm one of, I've given permission to receive them. Then they sold me not only another FitBit, but they introduced me to this joint venture brand, which was Tory Burch. Now I'm a customer of theirs and on their mailing list.

That's kind of the second way. The third way, which you have a lot less control of, is affiliate marketing. If you've got a product or a service, or a lead gen that you could allow affiliates to signup and promote your offering, that's kind of the third way. You probably have the least amount of control, but I have seen brands … I'm actually currently working with two of them now. One out of the UK, and one out of the US, that have approached me to get access to my data. They approached me because of the lists and the experience I have, and they said, “Hey, this is what we'll do. We're willing to provide you all the copy, the content, and this sort of commission for everybody who signs up.” There are three of the easiest options to get access to email on somebody else's database.

Rod Janz: It seems like, I mean you mentioned a couple of big brands there. It seems like it might be a little bit cost prohibitive to some people. What does it cost, and is there … I'm thinking of the small business person. Is there a way for them to rent a list?

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Doug Morneau: Well when it comes to rental directly, each list or each list manager has a different minimum pricing structure. Rule of thumb, I mean the prices are really all over the map. It depends on how targeted, and how specialized the data is. Quite frankly, some of the people who are managing data just don't have a clue, and they have an unrealistic expectation of pricing. You just really need to go to them and say, “Hey, your pricing's way out of line. I'm not willing to pay that.” If they're not willing to come down, then just move along.

I've seen pricing as high as $400 per 1,000 names. Which, is really excessive. Right now we're paying anywhere from $25, to about $75 per 1,000 names. Again, depending on the source of the list. Some of them were paying up as high as $225 a 1,000. The list rental guys are typically looking for a minimum order. Some of them might have a minimum dollar order, so it might be $2,000 US, or it might be 5,000 records. Again, it's going to depend on the particular list that you're looking for.

Rod Janz: Excellent. You've touched on this, but there are different rules in different countries and that sort of thing. Maybe you could just tell us where this … Is renting email lists possible globally, or just in North America, or just tell us a little bit more about that.

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Doug Morneau: Well, you can rent data anywhere around the world. I mean the reality is, that the US has done a very good job at making this available. My focus personally is to help people who want to grow their businesses in the US market, because there's so much consumer and business to business data in there. But we've rented data in the UK, and we've rented data in various places through Europe in the past. It really comes down to doing your homework. Again, finding a good broker who can help you go out there and make the introductions, and dig through the information that's out there to find the list that's a good target for you.

Then regarding pricing, I wouldn't recommend that anybody would go and rent the entire list. You'd want to rent a small portion of the list, and test it, and see how responsive it is, and see if you get the conversion you need to justify spending money in the future. Like I mentioned before, I consider this advertising and marketing, and it's just buying media. Like any other media, you need to get your ROI, so you need to know going into it what your numbers are, and what you need to get out of it to make it work.

Rod Janz: I'm going to ask you some of your questions that you ask your guests.

Doug Morneau: Oh no.

Rod Janz: Maybe this is my own spin on this question. What's really working for you right now when it comes to email? Give a specific marketing tactic that you can share with your listeners.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, I think the difference between when we got started in this business, and today, is for those who are familiar, remarketing. And those who aren't familiar, remarketing and retargeting really gives you the ability to put a tracking pixel from Google, or from Facebook on your landing page, and track the visitors that have hit your landing page, or visited your page, and may not have converted and signed up, or bought a product. In essence, you're building your own list.

Now, it's not like an email list, you can't see whose on the list, but you're building this private list that allows you to advertise. That's kind of the secret sauce right now, for email list rental. Think about renting a list, and let's just say for number's sake, we rent a list of 100,000 names. They get a 20% open rate, and then 10% of those people show up to your landing page. Now you've got a chance to remarket to those people who showed up to your landing page. That opportunity never used to be there. We would go out and rent the same data over, and over, and over again, and try to get a higher number of people to convert.

Now with some of the new technologies like that, you've got a different way of getting in front of your visitor. Because your visitor has seen your email, and they've seen your landing page, the ads that you would show to them on Google or on Facebook through remarketing and retargeting, would be different than what you'd have to show a cold prospect because they had been exposed to your brand before.

Rod Janz: I know from our conversations, another thing that you're astonished that more people don't do, is taking their email lists and putting them into Facebook, and that sort of thing to follow the people that are on their list. Maybe you could explain that a little bit more, and how that works, and the benefits of doing that.

Doug Morneau: Well again, both Google and Facebook allow you to set up a custom audience. The custom audience on Facebook gives you the ability to take your existing client database, so whether its name, address, and phone number, or just email address, and load it into Facebook. Then you can run ads for your existing customers. What's odd sometimes is people say, “Well why would I want to do that? They're already my existing customers.” Yet those same people would agree that it costs 10 times more to attract a new client than keep an existing one, and they don't typically spend any money keeping their existing customers happy or selling more to the same people.

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That gives you an opportunity to again, get in front of the people that you already have in your customer database, so you don't have to personal list. You're just taking your existing list, and you're having your marketing company, your advertising agency load it up to Google and Facebook, and run ads to those people.

This also gives you an opportunity to take the people that are dormant on your list, and to reactivate them. When we started the conversation today Rod, you suggested that you cleaned your list, and there was a significant number of people that were scrubbed off the list. I don't know what the reason was for them being scrubbed those lists. The email addresses might have been invalid, or old. But in lots of cases, I suggest that you segment your data and that you take the people who are consistently not opening your message, and remove them from your primary email marketing server, and move them to another service. Those are the people that there's still an opportunity to load up into Google or Facebook as well, and to try to re-engage them because they liked you at one point, and move them back onto your primary email list.

Rod Janz: Yeah, and we can give a shout out to one of your guests. I forget who it was, but they had the Kickbox Program. That's the one that I used to scrub the list, and it was …

Doug Morneau: Yeah, it was Kickbox. And yeah, like you said, you told me it was pretty quick and pretty easy.

Rod Janz: Yeah, it was awesome. And for the number of people that we had on our list, it was only like 10 bucks, which was incredible. Because I wanted to scrub that list for a long time, and I was actually thinking of going in and manually doing it. But this did it for me in a matter of minutes, which was awesome. Yeah. This goes away from tactics, I'm interested in … I know you've had a few ups and downs in your business experience. Can you share your biggest marketing failure or assumption?

Doug Morneau: Oh, tough question. What was my biggest marketing failure or assumption? I don't know Rod, you got me.

Rod Janz: Okay, we'll skip that. You wrote the question.

Doug Morneau: I know, but I didn't think through it, moving along. I'm going, “I don't know.”

Rod Janz: Good, okay, before we're done while we're just chatting, is there anything else you want to make sure we … Do you want to talk about what you're excited about? Let's do that, that sounds like a good one, okay. What are you most excited about today as it relates to marketing in the next six to 12 months?

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Doug Morneau: Well, there's a couple things. I'm so excited about the opportunities in email, and what we're seeing is a revival in email, and the results increasing, and people moving budget there. Recently a company in the US called Litmus, it's a tool for email design, they recently put a survey into their audience, and on their blog post, and on LinkedIn asking if people rent lists. The reason that was exciting to me, was because most of the data around email list rental date back to the early 2000's, like 2002, 2003, 2004 and five. If you go searching for information from companies like Marketing Sherpa, and the big companies that write a lot about marketing, that's where the data comes from. So now we've got this leader in the US, they run three separate email conferences around the world asking, bringing this question up.

Even the data that came in today from Return Path, had a reference back to Email Sherpa … Or, Marketing Sherpa rather, that was several years old. I'm excited that this is starting to get some attention. Probably what I'm most excited about, is I'm just about to release a book on email marketing, and it's specifically about email list rentals. It's called, “Three Big Lies: The Real Truth About Renting Email Lists That Generate Targeted Leads and Sales.” I'm excited to create a new book and to get it out into the marketplace, and just to tell people, “Look, this is an option.” This obviously isn't the answer to all your advertising and marketing problems, but it should be a consideration, it should be part of your media mix, you should be … If you're a small business, you should do some research on your own. If you're a larger business and have an agency or have a marketing company you work with, you should be talking to them to see what does that opportunity look like for your marketplace.”

And realize that no, it's not illegal, and it's not out of date, and yes it still works. If you're not paying attention to it, you're missing out. I'm excited, the books coming out, and I would just suggest that while you're on my website at the DougMorneau.com that you would sign up for my email list. I publish once a week. But more importantly, we're going to be putting a special offer for subscribers there to get access to the book at a very special price.

Rod Janz: Excellent. Anything else you want to cover today? It's your podcast.

Doug Morneau: No. I mean, I just came back from a conference in London, so I had a chance to talk to a number of very well known speakers and authors. I'm just, I'm always surprised that people don't know that this exists. I can say that over the last several years as I've been traveling around, and talking to these prominent authors and speakers who you would all know by name, that over and over again they said, “I didn't know you could get access to that data.”

Now I'm telling you, the secret is out, the data is there. The other side to this really, is that if you're renting a list or doing a joint venture, that there's a very good chance that you're going to be able to do this secretly without your competitors knowing. Unless your competitors are on that mailing list, they're not going to see your ad.

Whenever I can generate leads, and move the sales dial for our company or for our clients, and keep it off the radar from the competitors looking to see what they're doing, and maybe copy it. I'm happy to do that.

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Rod Janz: Excellent. Well, I'll try and wrap this up the way you do. What's the best for people to get in touch with you, and find out more?

Doug Morneau: You can find me on all the social media platforms, @DougMorneau on Twitter and Instagram, I'm a big fan and user of LinkedIn. Feel free to shoot out a request to connect on LinkedIn, and head to my website, DougMorneau.com. Listen to other episodes of the podcast, and yeah, send us your feedback and tell us what you'd like to see more of or less of.

Rod Janz: Great, and I'll put a little plugin for the podcast. I'll just say please subscribe. If you want to hear more information like this, Doug has had some really high-level marketing people on the show. I just had Kevin Harrington. Please go into iTunes and subscribe to the show, it really helps us. It helps with the visibility of the show, and it helps the sustainability of the show. Yeah, we'd love it if you would subscribe, and share it with others.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, that's a really good idea. You're a really smart guy.

Rod Janz: All of this information will be in the show notes. Doug puts together the most comprehensive show notes around. I know there's another podcaster that says they have the best show notes around, but Doug does a great job. We post the entire episode online. If you like to read through things and see other links and that sort of thing, please check us out online at DougMorneau.com and you'll see the really comprehensive show notes that we put together.

Doug Morneau: There we go, there's another episode. This was a different style of episode, chatting with my buddy Rod Janz here. Thanks so much for tuning in, make sure you signup, make sure you check the show notes and check back. We'll be back at you in a couple days.

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Real Marketing Real Fast Podcast – host Doug Morneau – Episode #19

EMAIL LIST RENTAL VS BUYING AN EMAIL LIST

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