Inbound marketing and purchased B2B data lists are not generally seen as perfect partners. With inbound, people have chosen to interact with your company; with data lists, you are approaching them first.

However, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Purchased data lists do not have to be leveraged in a purely outbound context – instead, this approach can fall somewhere between inbound and outbound marketing. And, in fact, used in the right way, data lists can complement and enhance inbound marketing campaigns.

As an inbound marketing agency, how might you go about using data lists while still maintaining a holistic approach?

Using B2B data lists in an inbound context

Let’s start with a definition of inbound marketing from HubSpot: “Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.”

But isn’t this the complete opposite of purchasing a data list? Well, not exactly.

A good data list provider will only sell you records that are relevant to your organisation (and your clients’ organisations, in the case of an inbound marketing agency). They will give you the details of people and businesses that would likely benefit from your product or service; that fit your buyer personas. In other words, they will help you to connect with your “dream customers”.

So what does this look like in practice?

First, you would work with a data provider to create a finely-targeted list to enable you to engage with your ideal customers. This list would be up-to-date and detailed; there would be no duplicate entries and inaccurate records would be minimal and the information would have been obtained ethically and legally.

Having acquired your list, you would craft your B2B marketing campaign, keeping in mind the needs of the people you were targeting.

Next, you would reach out and seek a connection – whether through email, direct mail, or a telephone call. And then, just as you would with an inbound approach, you would continue the lead nurturing process – sending your prospects relevant and informative content offers depending on how they have reacted to your initial outreach attempt.

Data lies at the heart of the lead nurturing process. By analysing and measuring your contacts’ activity, you can ensure their experience with your business is both timely and appropriate.

Overall, the most important thing to remember here is that with both inbound and the data list-led approach highlighted above, you are marketing in a very targeted and specialised way. You’re not spamming your prospects and you believe that your organisation can truly benefit them in some way.

Ensuring you purchase high-quality B2B data lists

It’s clear then, that the quality of your B2B data is of the utmost importance. If you buy records that direct you towards businesses and people that have no interest in your organisation and what it has to offer, then you are effectively self-sabotaging.

On first glance, purchasing B2B data lists appears to be the exact opposite of inbound marketing – and it can be, if approached in the wrong way. However, using records that have been painstakingly harvested as a springboard for forming connections with the right people at the right time doesn’t have to contradict an inbound marketing approach.

The trick is to constantly strive to provide useful and relevant information to your prospects and to provide an excellent user experience. The rest will naturally follow.