So your opt-ins are using free email providers - are they worthless?

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Collecting the right information from your would-be customers is key when setting up opt-ins for newsletters and marketing emails. Without the right details, it can be hard to guarantee that your emails are relevant to your contacts and even harder to make sales or conversions.

For B2B sales, some of the most vital information about a customer is their job title, business name, industry, and other such details about their work. With access to data like that, your emails can be targeted to the exact person you need to reach at any given business, and you can tailor your offers to appeal to a business’s needs.

On the first touch point, it can be a far reach to expect a prospect to submit key business information, and they provide their personal email address in forms, that can leave you without access to some crucial business data.

Private Emails - Does It Matter?

Corporate prospects using their own personal data in an opt-in denies you access to a lot of useful information - work contact details, a business name, and even things like job title and industry. Without that data, it can be very difficult to target B2B marketing outreach at the right people - after all, you won’t know which prospects on your list are the most relevant for your products.

Your options are sorely limited once someone completes an opt-in form with their private data. In fact, short of contacting them to ask for their business details, there isn’t much you can do to personalise outreach any further than you normally would.

That’s not to say that outreach to those prospects is pointless, of course.  General marketing information can still be sent to them like any customer. And, using what data you have collected through your opt-in, you should still be able to target some offers to suit their needs.

Improving Your Opt-Ins

Even though any data can be useful, it goes without saying that data used for marketing and targeting is much more valuable to your business.

If you’ve been experiencing problems with prospects omitting their business information on your forms, it might be time to look at improving your opt-ins.

Forms which expressly ask for business information are useful for this task - both capturing the specific information that you want and giving the customer an idea of the sort of marketing that they can expect. After all, they’ll know just from the questions being asked that you intend to send out B2B communications.

There are even third-party tools and plugins which you can employ to make sure that prospects can’t use their personal data - blacklisting any emails from free providers like Outlook or Google. This could be a little risky of course, as it may frustrate some users when they try to complete your form, but will guarantee you a lead list free of personal data.

Instead, consider introducing "progressive profiling" tactics, where you collect basic information on the first touch (name, email) and introduce additional fields on subsequent offers, that you can promote via follow-up emails and workflows. The more interactions you create, the more comfortable your prospects will be in parting with more detailed corporate information.

Of course, it’s important to consider exactly what data you want to collect and why. GDPR rules mean that you need to think carefully exactly why you want certain information, and you must tell prospects exactly what you intend to do with it. If you have no good reason to collect business information, you won’t be able to keep hold of it.

Check out our extensive article on Lead Quality post GDPR here


In short, a lead list full of personal information can be a nightmare for B2B sales teams - cutting them out of the most useful information that they’re trying to collect about prospects.

If you prospect list is suffering, take a look at rewriting your forms to specify exactly what information you want, guaranteeing yourself a healthier list and more conversions in the future.

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Matt Hodkinson

About the author: Matt Hodkinson

Chief Exec Agent, veteran inbound and social marketer, and the prior 17+ years spent in the Tech industry. Annoying colleagues with classic house music and 80's movie quotes. Family and friends delight in exclaiming... "Haven't seen you on TV for a while, Matt"!