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By Eric Quanstrom #leads September 8, 2016

There are lots of ways to get lists of potential businesses with which to build your business-to-business lead generation campaign. Not all of them involve paying for them! Although, from someone who has spent time building lists, the lower cost methods are much more time consuming.

Buy the list. Buying lists is the easiest way to get good contact information for your lead generators. Although it’s wise to still screen it. The downside is it can cost you a pretty penny per contact. It’s best to use this method if the lifetime value of your client is in the thousands of dollars range.

Lost Clients. Find previous clients who haven’t done business with you in a while. If your clients work with you on a recurring basis, this can be good to try and win your client base back from your competitors. But you better make sure you fixed the problem that caused them to leave for greener pastures in the first place! Go through your CRM and pull names and email addresses of people who have not done business with you in two to five years. Going over five years can be risky, depending on your industry, because you start running into a lot of contacts that have retired, died, or have no memory of doing business with you.

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Email collection through content marketing. Content marketing has been growing as a popular marketing strategy for the past several years. You provide something valuable (and free) for your clients to consume. Usually this is in the form of a blog, but sometimes a video or podcast. The information has to be useful and relevant because the next step is putting up a resource available for your web traffic to download in exchange for their email address and maybe their name. The fewer fields your potential prospects have to fill out, the better. How many times have you left a page because the company wanted to know first name, last name, company, your position at company, your company’s budget for x, phone number, email address, and the name of your dog. Some people will fill it out, some people will lie about it, others will just click off the page. The key to this is your content has to be genuinely useful to your web traffic for you to generate leads.

Scrape them yourself. This is the big one! With only a library card, you can go to most library websites in the US and use their databases to search out businesses in a specific industry, location, revenue, company size, etc. A lot of the specific information you can get helps narrow the search; for example, annual dollars spent on computer software or marketing budget. However, the information is rarely complete in all cases. The kicker is you have to pay for the email addresses. Once you have a list of business you want to target, it’s pretty easy to find email addresses if you don’t want to pay for them. It’s just time consuming.

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You will need companies that have websites for this type of search because most businesses have the same format for email addresses within their company. A John Doe at Company X might be jdoe@companyx.com or john.doe@companyx.com. If you search for @ and the domain name of the company (in our example search “@companyx.com”), most of the time you’ll find someone’s email address on the first few pages of the search engine. Even if it isn’t the person you’re looking for, note the format, and chances are the email will reach the right place.

Anyone willing to put in the time can build lists for B2B lead generation. It’s just a matter of whether you want to build it yourself or use an outsourced lead generation method.

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