David Kirkpatrick

Lead Generation: How to build your own list

September 26th, 2014

Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter case study — “Lead Generation: Content and email combine for high-quality list building” — covered an effort by cloud replication and disaster recovery startup company, CloudEndure. The overall basis of the campaign was a process created by CloudEndure’s Vice President of Marketing, Ramel Levin, before he joined the startup. This process Ramel called BYOL, or “build your own list.”

The case study features some of the steps involved in Ramel’s lead gen idea, but since he developed it for a company he worked for before joining CloudEndure, the exact steps he took in putting the process together were not part of the case study.

For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to provide more detail on how Ramel created his BYOL concept.

Ramel said he was in a business setting speaking with a startup company that did website translations when the BYOL idea came to him.

“I was asking them, ‘How do you generate leads for websites that need translations?’ He (one of the employees at the startup) started telling me about all the different ways he was doing it, and he talked about the traditional ways of doing email blasts, going to conferences and doing advertising for pay-per-lead and PPC,” Ramel said.


One method for building high-quality lists

After a bit of thought, Ramel decided that building a list of higher-quality leads would be more effective for this company, and here is the process he developed to do just that.


Step #1: Identify the first stage of target companies

Ramel stated, “So I told him, ‘How about doing the following? How about scanning the top one million websites, based on Alexa or Quantcast, or any other ranking service … and find out how many of those websites have only one language.”

He said, for example, scan the top sites in Germany, and make sure they only have pages in the local language. If the company is in the United States, its website only features pages in English.


Step #2: Address an untapped market

Ramel suggested using a tool such as SimilarWeb or Google Trends to find out what countries visitors of those targeted websites are coming from.

By crossing the list from step one with the list from step two, the website translation company was able to see what companies in that top one million group had pages only in the local language and also what percentage of its visitors were coming from a different region or country with a different native language.


Step #3: Reach out to the targeted companies with a solution

Ramel said after crossing the first list with the second, the website translation company could tell German websites, for example, “Listen, I noticed that you have 5% of your visitors from France, but you don’t have any pages in French.”

He added at this stage it is important to be very specific with the numbers so that whoever receives that email message — CEO, product manager, sales person, etc. — will be surprised because of the level of insight into their website. It is also important to offer suggestions on how to leverage that knowledge with, in this case, a tool that provides website translations.


How can you get that contact information?

Once Ramel joined CloudEndure and implemented the same process to uncover which companies hosting applications in the cloud were most likely suffering from occasional downtime, he used an online freelance service to go to publicly available databases, such as LinkedIn, and find contact information for actual people at every targeted company — 66,000 websites in this case — so that every email could be personalized to each recipient.

Obviously, the details on what type of company and pain point you would be searching for will be specific to your marketing needs, but by making use of Ramel’s “build your own list” concept, the companies you uncover will most likely generate very high-quality leads. You know you are reaching potential customers who most likely fall into an ideal prospect category in terms of needing what you are offering. Anyone who responds to the personalized email is raising their hand and telling you that they are interested.

We’d love to hear about any other interesting approaches to lead gen you might be taking to create your own high-quality list in the comments. Who knows? Your idea might turn into MarketingSherpa case study as well.


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David Kirkpatrick

About David Kirkpatrick

David is a reporter for MarketingSherpa and has over twenty years of experience in business journalism, marketing and corporate communications. His published work includes newspaper, magazine and online journalism; website content; full-length ghosted nonfiction; marketing content; and short fiction. He served as producer for the business research horizontal at the original Office.com, regularly reporting on the world of marketing; covered a beat for D/FW TechBiz, a member of the American City Business Journals family; and he provided daily reporting for multiple LocalBusiness.com cities. David’s other media and corporate clients include: USA Today, Oxford Intelligence, GMAC, AOL, Business Development Outlook and C-Level Media, among many others.

Categories: Lead Generation Tags: , , , ,

  1. Zahra Ardehali
    September 29th, 2014 at 13:25 | #1

    Great idea and suggestion. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have used versions of this method in the past, which can easily be adjusted and applied for your company’s target customers. I also suggest adding a personalized (i.e. based on customers’ industry) lead nurturing campaign to this effort. That generates even more “sales ready” qualified leads.

  2. September 30th, 2014 at 00:16 | #2

    David, simply great suggestions.
    Everything about BYOL is fantastic….

    But the problem comes in finding contact information of actual people at every targeted company in LinkedIn.

    It’s not easy getting contact information of people for a company through LinkedIn. I tried
    doing all this and ended up with buying the lists from List vendors…

    …Expecting you will come out with some more useful insights for building our lists

  3. September 30th, 2014 at 09:54 | #3

    A great read – thank you David and Ramel!

  4. September 30th, 2014 at 12:49 | #4


    Thanks for the comment! We love get additional perspective on some the ideas we share in our posts.

    – David

  5. September 30th, 2014 at 12:49 | #5

    Melissa — thank you!

  6. October 2nd, 2014 at 13:11 | #6

    munna — getting those contacts is definitely a challenge. In the cited case study it was a brute force effort that used online sources, including LinkedIn. Ramel said he employed an online service to handle that admittedly bit of manual heavy lifting.

    Turning that first stage of learning what companies to target into names and email addresses for personalized email sends is the toughest part of this idea.

    Sorry to say I don’t have a great answer, but I do know the outsourced group of freelancers he employed for the task used multiple sources to find that contact information.

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