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By Louis Tanguay, Special to California Business Journal.

In modern marketing, one of the most valuable business growth tools you can have in your strategic and tactical arsenal is a List of Customers and/or Leads.

The higher quality of your list, the better your outreach results will be.

In this article, we’ll go over how to acquire a few different types of lists and how best to use them in the modern marketing world.

Let’s dive right in…

LISTS OF PROSPECTS YOU KNOW:

Previous and Existing Customers: This one is probably the most obvious one and also the most powerful…depending on the data you’ve collected.

If you have collected the basic data of your customers’ names and email addresses, then that’s really a great start. What other information can you capture? A phone number would be great, too, as well as a list of items they’ve purchased from you. An advanced list, or data record, would tell you more information such as purchase frequency and Lifetime Value (LTV).

Leads and Potential/Prospective Customers: Sometimes, someone will call in to your company, or send an email, or respond to an advertisement or offer, but haven’t yet actually bought anything. These are called Leads, as you probably already know. There are different kinds of “leads” because this term can refer to anyone who isn’t yet a customer most of the time.

For our purposes, I consider only “qualified” leads to be actual leads — people who have voluntarily given you their information. Other Leads are just lists because you don’t know the intent or interest level of that stranger to your product. So, for me personally, I differentiate quality leads from general leads because it helps my team focus differently on each one.

Continuing with Qualified Leads: the information you’ve captured will make your outreach easier, or more difficult.

LISTS OF PROSPECTS YOU DON’T KNOW:

Other Types of Lists: There are many other types of lists you can procure, but the strategy for utilizing these are completely different because you have to educate the individual and start leading them down a path (sales funnel). That will hopefully end with that prospect becoming either a customer or a conduit to a customer — if they end up referring others to your business.

These other types of leads could be lists you purchased from an online service, a list you acquired from another company that shared it with you, a list you purchased from an event by being a sponsor or attendee, or a chamber of commerce list of their members, or any similar lead acquisition service or arrangement you might have come across and got involved with.

There is one last type of list that I want to address because it’s extremely powerful and useful. That is the Lookalike Audience. A Lookalike Audience is a list generated by a platform such as Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, Google’s Adwords etc. that will scan their database to find matches to the list individuals you entered into the platform.

For example, if you entered in your customer list and want to find people with similar interests as them in a 10-mile radius from your location, then the platform will give you a list of matches to your request. You can see how valuable this can be, because if someone is similar to your existing customer then it’s possible (not definite) that they, too, might be interested in your product or services.

I’ll get more into Lookalike Audiences in the next article.

Louis Tanguay is Managing Director of Circle Marketing. He founded the agency seven years ago during the recession. Having over 20 years of marketing and business experience, Louis wanted to help businesses acquire and retain the essential abilities and strategies to survive in any economy. Circle Marketing is a full-service marketing agency for small businesses and serves as a one-stop shop for all marketing and advertising needs.