Five alternatives to buying business lists

02 September 2015 Sean O'Mara

Buying business lists can be a simple and relatively cost effective form of lead generation.

It can also be fraught with pitfalls

The business lead market is proliferate and competitively priced, but separating the wheat from the chaff can eat into your limited time and resources, not to mention the uneven quality of the leads themselves.

Many a trusting entrepreneur has found themselves stung by inaccurate, outdated or disgruntled leads, having paid good money after receiving a decent quality sample.

If you’d rather not take the risk, here are some alternatives.

Rent a list

Business list rental has many of the intrinsic advantages of purchase, but for the fact that the leads never belong to you. They do, however minimise the level of risk and monetary commitment on your part (just make sure you’re not hooked in to a longer-term rental than you’re comfortable with).

Make your own

If you’re confident in your ability to make a first impression, then the advantages of making your own business list are pretty self-evident. By taking the time to proactively research your own leads you can be sure of their accuracy and quality, as well as being able to nurture your relationship with the lead nice and early.

Free lists

They are out there. If you have your sites set on an outfacing business then you could always mine your local directory or a free business index like Freeindex or Businesslist.

These will allow you to search by location and nature of buisnes allowing for some pretty targeted searches. But be wary, other (less reputable) businesses will also be mining these listings and your leads will get colder and colder the more they’ve been barraged with calls.

Still, if you can afford the time and resources to cast the net as widely as possible, at least some conversions may funnel through,

Let the leads come to you

You’re a savvy business person with an accessible landing page and a healthy social media presence, right? So use these wonderful, free platforms to offer something useful and engaging for potential leads.

White paper downloads, webinars, and of course blogging for business are all great ways of giving your potential leads “something for nothing” and creating positive engagement with your business.

Get creative with exclusive offers and content or even competitions to present yourself as a mutually beneficial business transaction, rather than another cold caller.

Automated lead gen (PPC)

If you’re not particularly fussed about generating leads organically then paid, automated lead generation may be an option. Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) may be worth considering. If organic lead gen such as SEO is a marathon then automated lead gen is a sprint, in which you need to act upon insights and analyse data rapidly.

Life without business lists

The savvy business that makes sure it’s organically optimising its landing page and creating dynamic opportunities for leads to come to them, has no need to worry about trawling through business lists.

Be proactive, offer something from the get-go and keep generating content and you’ll organically boost your SEO and present your business in such a way that the leads will come to you!