Your email campaigns are only as good as your lead lists. Whether you’re a pro campaign builder or not, you can’t expect a high return on email prospecting without first targeting the right audience. Don’t believe everything you hear about buying leads online. There are just a few bad list providers out there ruining it for the rest of us. The key is knowing how to find the best list provider for your business. You will increase open rates, engagement, and ultimately, your customer base by investing in high-quality lead lists. If you’re using email for sales prospecting and looking to maximize your return on lead lists, keep reading.

Focus on these 5 main factors when deciding where to buy leads online for your business:

High Deliverability

The average business wastes $170K on undelivered emails annually. You don’t want to be the average company. Hard bounces in the 1-3% range are virtually inevitable, but you can significantly reduce your sunk cost on bad data by finding a list provider with high deliverability rates. Consider this: nearly 33% of your leads don’t open your emails because your subject lines aren’t optimized. Combine that 33% with another 10-15% of emails that go undelivered either because they’ve gone to spam or because of a hard bounce. When you add it up, you’ve lost nearly half your lead list to poor deliverability and campaign preparation. While you can control the outcome of email engagement by optimizing your subject lines, poor deliverability is out of your control unless you invest in list services that minimize hard bounces or guarantee a deliverability rate. When you buy leads online, look for list providers with customer reviews, case studies or other assets confirming high deliverability on emails.

Data Compliance

When you buy lead lists, you need to be careful that you’re not putting yourself or your business at risk of violating the Can Spam Act of 2003. The FTC prohibits businesses from sending commercial emails, including business-to-business emails, to recipients who have not given authorization to receiving solicitation emails. Many data providers make the risky, and very poor decision to sell email lists that are not compliant with Can Spam law. Others try to get around the law by selling oversold, outdated and generic email lists to not-so-savvy list seekers. It is in large part the responsibility of the data user (aka: you) to avoid using data in a way that violates the law. In order to avoid Can Spam penalties and fines, and to purchase lists that have not been sold repeatedly and “spammed-to-death”, check to make sure your list provider is not selling oversaturated lists.

Clean, Verified Data

Data companies should provide human-verified data that is cleaned prior to delivery. List cleaning accounts for the removal of dead emails to ensure emails are deliverable. Look out for list providers that use generic records. For example, emails starting with “info@”, and providers that rely solely on smtp connections for email scraping are not worth your investment.

“Dirty data” is estimated to impact the bottom line of 88% of companies, with the average company losing between 10-25% of revenue as a result.

By effectively decreasing “dirty data”, and subsequently replacing it with clean lists, companies can increase revenue by 20-30%.

People’s lives change. They get new jobs, they change roles, and their emails (and interests) change too. Just because John Smith from XYZ Company still works at XYZ Company, doesn’t mean he hasn’t been promoted (or demoted) or laterally moved to another department. His goals and contributions to his company will have changed, and your product or service may no longer be relevant or engaging to him. Maybe John Smith left the company three months ago and was replaced by Jack Smoot. That jsmith@xyzcompany email is now useless, but your data provider has used records that haven’t been updated in months (or even years). So, his email was delivered, and you’re left wondering why your email campaigns are struggling. This is a tricky one… because it’s a lot harder to argue that lists are low quality when the majority of emails are still going through. While data providers cannot guarantee the accuracy of all data, you should make sure to work with a data provider who uses other means to source and confirm data, other than generic, or catch-all records. Doing so should significantly increase deliverability and accuracy of your lists.

Transparent Pricing

In general, you’re going to want to avoid companies that only allow for one-time data usage. This seems obvious enough, but most list seekers fail to verify this information prior to purchase. Most list providers are not going to advertise that they only rent lists at a base price. The majority of list providers advertise in a way that they are giving you the advantage by supplying the low price of…x for you to “upgrade” from renting a list to full list ownership. If you see this, run – and by “run” we mean, close the tab and never look back. A successful email campaign takes a minimum of 7-8 touches before you begin to see traction on your list. Keep an eye out for list providers asking you to pay an “upfront fee” to send an initial email. You’re going to need to send those follow up emails to get anywhere with your lists, and so you’re going to need full ownership. Transparent pricing is key. Like we established before, if you can’t easily find information on the list provider or call and ask questions about pricing, it’s time to move on with your search.

Targeted Lists

Lead generation is more than just spinning a Rolodex and dialing. In fact, cold prospecting in the 21st century is about as effective as spinning a globe with your eyes shut to choose your starting point. 80% of the time, you’re going to land somewhere in the middle of the ocean. Starting with qualified leads is key to your success in engaging prospects over email. In order to make the most of your investment in lead lists, be sure to find a list provider that offers highly-targeted, customizable list options for your business. provides data from 190 countries, allowing you to build your own list from the ground up; so you can target prospects by region, industry, job level, position and title. Our lists are human-verified, consistently cleaned, and we offer transparent pricing – so the price you pay is all you pay for full list ownership. caters to businesses of all sizes, offering low prices to startups and small businesses, too. No hidden fees, and a minimum deliverability guarantee on emails of 96%.

The best part? You don’t have to take my word for it. You can request a free, customized sample list below. The quality speaks for itself.