B2B Articles - May 13, 2019

How to Build Your Own Business Email List

Over 700 people per month search “business email list” into Google, with many others searching variations on the term. Clearly, marketers and salespeople are still trying to purchase their way into building a contact database.


But purchasing a business list is risky for a few important reasons.

One, you are risking getting a bad response or hurting the deliverability of your emails if you're marked as spam, which is very likely in 2019 when cold emailing. This can hurt your entire organization’s ability to send emails that make it to the inbox.

Note: Although global spam rates do seem to be decreasing, spam and unsolicited email (not counted in global spam rates) are still a threat to business. In 2018, 45.3% of emails were considered spam. You do not want your business to be counted as part of this statistic.

The statistic shows the share of global spam as percentage of total e-mail traffic from 2007 to 2018. In the most recently reported period, spam messages accounted for 45.3 percent of e-mail traffic worldwide, down from 59.8 percent in 2016.

Second, you're wasting time on a high effort, low impact campaign. Cold calling doesn’t work. Only a very small percentage of cold outreaches lead to a sales opportunity -- but following up with a large contact list takes time and effort better spent prospecting warm leads.

And third, many marketing automation tools such as Hubspot and several major email providers don't allow you to upload purchased lists for legal reasons, since it's illegal to send blast automated emails to non-opted in lists. So you won’t be able to market to these leads with the tools you love.

CRM smart list

So how can you jumpstart your outreach campaigns and build a business email list without purchasing leads? Try these tactics.

Paid Campaign Audience Building

LinkedIn is the hub of business advertising. You can easily create target audiences, run campaigns against them, and drive new leads into your funnel.

For a LinkedIn paid campaign, start by building your audience. You can start with some target companies and even get specific with other criteria like job title, job seniority, role and function, company size, and more.

Linkedin advertising

Building an audience is easy. And once you've built your audience, send targeted lead generation campaigns with the help of your marketing team. Advertise a content offer like an eBook or a webinar. You will be able to generate leads and scale quickly if your conversion offer resonates with the target audience. And the best thing is that new leads will be warm and will have already “raised a hand” to learn more.

You can also run similar campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to scale your reach and test new platforms. After running hundreds of campaigns for B2B clients, Ironpaper estimates an average cost per a qualified lead for B2B is around $200, but can lowered significantly over time if you follow agile best practices for LinkedIn.


Google’s AdWords channel is another paid platform you can use to scale up lead generation quickly. It works similarly to other paid channels, however you have a few different options for your campaigns. You can send display ads, search marketing ads, YouTube video ads and more.

Adwords PPC

If your company is in a space where there is already a lot of customer interest and education, it is wise to run a search marketing campaign. This connects your company with potential leads who are already searching in Google for a solution. As you can imagine, these leads often come highly qualified because they have already decided they need some kind of partner or product.

Gated Content

For a long-term list building technique that doesn't require an ongoing paid spend, publish gated content. Gated content is literature on your website -- like an eBook, webinar, guide, case study, or infographic -- that you offer to visitors to your website in exchange for some information. This is one way to generate leads and educate them at the same time, and educated leads are more likely to make a purchase.

Lead generation for sales: Optimize Your Downloadable B2B Content for Sales Leads

If your content is highly targeted, you will find that you will bring in highly qualified leads from companies of interest to your sales team. The lead time from a content project can be several weeks to several months depending on your website traffic, but once it is established you will build and grow a business email list for years to come.

Social Prospecting

Social prospecting is a hands-on way to engage people who you’d like to convert into business leads. Using LinkedIn, you can easily find companies you’d like to target, and see a list of employees. From there, use InMail -- LinkedIn’s private messaging platform -- to send a thoughtful and personalized message. You can include a link to a form or downloadable content on your website to help leads convert on their own.

If you're willing to scale you can use a paid inMail campaign sent to a variety of company targets.

You can also use a similar tactic on other networks such as Twitter. For example, send some messages promoting your content and like, reply to, and share prospects’ posts that you want to target. This will earn their attention and over time, help grow your business email list.

Social media marketing - HubSpot


If you have purchased a list already, run a remarketing campaign to enable those contacts to opt back in to correspondence on their own time. This will lead to more engaged (and legal!) business leads.

A remarketing campaign may include uploading a list to LinkedIn, Facebook, and AdWords. The idea is that you send new advertisements and content to leads you’ve already generated. As an alternative to uploading email addresses, you can also install remarketing pixels on your website. These tiny bits of code gather lead information so you can remarket to people who have already visited your website and hinted at some interest.


Buying a business email list is increasingly ineffective, but you aren’t out of luck. If you want to scale your prospecting list, take advantage of driver campaigns with LinkedIn, Google AdWords and more -- and also build lead conversion points on your website for long-term growth.

You will invest more time at the outset, but you will emerge with a huge benefit: A list of qualified leads who have already opted in to learn about your business. This will make your outreach much more targeted, meaningful and successful, and lead to a greater number of sales leads.

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Grow your B2B business boldly. Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency. We build growth engines for marketing and sales success. We drive demand generation campaigns, ABM programs, B2B content, sales enablement, qualified leads, and B2B marketing efforts. 

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