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The Best List Broker Services of 2021

By Kiely Kuligowski,
business.com Staff
| Updated
Jan 15, 2021

This guide includes advice on how to choose a list broker service, as well as reviews of our choices for the best list brokers of 2021.
Best Overall
Easy list generation
Transparent pricing
Monthly list updates
Best for Consumer Lists
Detailed list options
Great customer service
CASS certified
Best for Email Lists
Lists updated semimonthly
Unlimited list use
All addresses opted in
This guide includes advice on how to choose a list broker service, as well as reviews of our choices for the best list brokers of 2021.

Successful marketing campaigns require accurate data. Using a list broker, your small business can gain access to a wide target audience. Whether you're conducting an online campaign or sending a promotion through direct mail, with the help of a good list broker, you can target your ideal audience through demographics data and up-to-date lists.

To help you find the best list broker service, we researched 25 different broker companies and considered factors like the services they offer, how they source and verify their contacts, and whether you're required to sign a contract to use their information.

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How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
25
Considered
7
Researched
3
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

   LeadsPlease Caldwell List Company  ListGIANT
Updates Monthly Monthly Twice monthly
List Accuracy Consumer lists are 95% accurate. Business lists are 93% accurate. Consumer lists are 92% accurate. Direct mail lists are 94% to 99% accurate. Email lists are not guaranteed.
Rent/Buy Buy Rent Buy

Our Reviews

LeadsPlease: Best List Broker Overall

The interface makes it easy to generate lists.
Lists are provided in three different file formats: Excel/CSV, PDF or as mailing labels.
There is a required minimum of 1,000 leads for each order.

LeadsPlease is the best overall list broker service due to its many features and comprehensive list-generation options. The company offers postal and email lists for consumers, businesses or any number of specialty needs. We were impressed with how frequently LeadsPlease updates their data and their exceptional guarantees.

With many list brokers, obtaining an exact price requires that you call the company's sales department. LeadsPlease, though, posts pricing on its website.

For postal lists with 1,000 consumer leads, LeadsPlease charges $99.50. For 1,000 business records, it charges $99.75. For 5,000 leads, expect to pay approximately $325 for household leads and $600 for business leads; 10,000 leads had a $400 and $800 price tag, respectively. The above prices are estimates.

For 1,000 household email leads, LeadsPlease quotes a price of $125; email business leads cost $170. For 5,000 household email addresses, the price quoted was $500, while that same number of business leads cost $600. Household and business lists with 10,000 entries cost $900 and $800, respectively.

Using accurate data is paramount for your company's marketing campaigns. LeadsPlease updates their databases every 30 days. The company checks postal addresses against U.S. Postal Service-approved software, and emails undergo electronic confirmations. For certain databases, like the ones used for new movers and new homeowners, data is updated weekly.

In addition to providing up-to-date lists, LeadsPlease offers businesses special features that are designed to streamline the list generation process and make it more convenient. For example, LeadsPlease can provide generated lists in PDF, Excel/CSV format and as preprinted mailing labels.

LeadsPlease offers the best guarantee with their postal lists among the services we researched. For consumer, new mover and new homeowner postal lists, the company guarantees a 95% or higher accuracy rate. LeadsPlease guarantees its business postal lists have an accuracy rate of 90% or higher if you use the list within 30 days of purchasing it. If, however, the percentage of undeliverable addresses exceeds the company's guarantees, LeadsPlease will refund your costs for those addresses. (The company does not, however, reimburse printing or postage costs.)

While there were many things we liked about LeadsPlease, we found the company's minimum order rule – each order must have at least 1,000 records – restrictive.

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Caldwell List Company: Best Broker for Consumer Lists

Caldwell Lists offers a wide range of consumer lists.
You can order lists based on the intent of your campaign.
You can only obtain pricing by contacting the company directly.

Caldwell List Company is our pick for the best list broker for consumer lists. It's a family-owned company that's been in business for over 45 years; Caldwell offers years of experience and a personal feel, providing recommendations and tips along with their consumer lists. Caldwell sells compiled and response lists from multiple sources, and prides themselves on knowing from experience which lists are the most responsive based on each customers' parameters.

Every Caldwell customer is assigned a list specialist, who is dedicated to improving your response, and you can get your lists any way you want, including online or by phone.

Caldwell's service, with respect to its consumer lists, exceeds other list brokers we reviewed in just how precise you can segment your lists. You can sort contacts by age, income, homeownership status, parent status, children by age, renters and many other categories to help you effectively segment your mailing.

Caldwell takes it a step further with its Life Event lists ‒ these are highly specific lists based on things like new births, new homeowners and new movers. Caldwell also offers hobby and interest lists.

All Caldwell lists are updated monthly, checked against the National Change of Address (NCOA) system and are CASS certified for address verification. Caldwell has a 92% delivery rate for its postal mailing lists.

Caldwell's pricing varies, particularly for their specialty lists. We recommend that you contact Caldwell for a precise quote based on your business's list needs.

We found Caldwell List Company to be a great vendor with a strong commitment to customer service. The main drawback of Caldwell is the lack of clear pricing on their website.

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ListGIANT: Best Broker for Email Lists

Lists are updated two to three times each month.
You can use your purchased list an unlimited number of times.
ListGIANT's prices are high compared to competing list brokers.

Thanks to mobile devices, people are never too far away from their email inboxes. An email list from ListGIANT, our pick as the best broker for email lists, can help get your brand instantaneously in front of countless people.

With more than three decades of experience in the list broker industry, ListGIANT's email lists and marketing options help small businesses stay connected to their audience digitally. Every email address the company collects and sells has opted into the service. ListGIANT's email lists comply with U.S. and Canadian privacy laws.

During our testing, we posed as a small business owner looking to purchase email and postal addresses for both businesses and consumer households. After telling the customer service rep the general demographic we wanted to advertise to, we received the following price quote:

  • For 5,000 consumer leads, the cost was $600.
  • For 10,000 records, the price was $1,000.
  • For 5,000 business leads, ListGIANT quoted a price of $1,100, and for 10,000 records, the cost was $2,000.

These costs reflect a generic list of contacts; they may not reflect the price you are quoted for the demographic you are targeting.

Besides supplying you with email contacts for your small business, ListGIANT comes with some welcome features that should help your marketing campaign run smoothly.

In the world of email marketing lists, up-to-date information is paramount. Since email addresses can be changed easily, good list brokers update their databases frequently. In our research, ListGIANT updated their lists the most frequently. Their sales rep stated that their email lists are updated two to three times per month, with additional checks for other issues that may crop up. ListGIANT also states that every list they sell complies with existing privacy regulations.

Our interactions with ListGIANT's customer service were positive. During our conversations, we were given multiple options and never felt like we were being upsold on anything we didn't need.

ListGIANT is an exemplary vendor, but we did note a couple of drawbacks.

First, the company does not guarantee the accuracy of its email lists. There is a 94% to 99% delivery rate guarantee on its postal mailing lists, but ListGIANT's sales rep informed us that they do not guarantee email records because of the nebulous nature of email. For small businesses, spending upward of $1,000 represents a significant expense, and some assurance from the company would be welcome.

Second, while the prices we received were comparable with those quoted by other brokers, the prices for their higher count lists were more expensive than other vendors we looked at.

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List Broker Service Pricing

Since list brokers use a custom approach based on a company's needs, it's rare for them to post their pricing online. Pricing is dependent on your search criteria.

When coming up with a new list, you need to decide on a few factors. Chief among them is where you want to focus your search. Most brokers will ask you to select a specific area, like a state, county, or city, before they ask for specifics about the demographics you want to target.

For consumer lists, data points like the number of people in a household, residents' ages and occupations help you zero in on your target audience. If you're targeting businesses, you may want to include businesses with a certain number of employees or within a certain industry. In this instance, most searches will be through the use of a government-defined Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code.

Based on your selected criteria, the list broker can draw up a list that meets your needs. Prices will vary depending on the number of business or consumer leads included in your lists.

While the specific prices varied among the list brokers we evaluated, based on our research, most services charged 6 to 36 cents per entry. The more entries we requested in a list, the lower the individual cost would go.

Prices also depended on whether the entries were email or postal addresses, and if they were for a business or consumer list. In every instance, email lists and business lists cost more per entry than postal and consumer lists. We found prices as low as $75 for 1,000 entries and as high as $3,600 for 10,000 entries.

Buying Guide

What Is a List Broker?

A list broker is a person or a company that collects specific, targeted lists of contacts (consumers and businesses) based on certain criteria that businesses then use for their marketing campaigns. List brokers help with data acquisition, integration and evaluation of marketing lists, and can provide valuable insight and assistance throughout the process.

Using a good list broker, your small business can get a tailored list of names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other contact information to send your message to.

While obtaining a person's contact information from a third party may feel like digital intrusion, the information sold by brokers comes from several legitimate sources. Professional list brokers get their information through extensive databases that have compiled consumer and business contacts from phone books, public records and surveys.

With a list broker's help, you can take this raw data and narrow the list down to the households or businesses you want to target based on numerous demographics. Some of the lists can be very specific, so you can maximize your business's return on investment by only reaching out to the parties likely to be interested in your brand.

A mailing list provided by a good list broker can boost public awareness of your business and get new customers through the door, whether you're looking to sell directly to businesses or to households.

How Do Direct Mail List Brokers Work?

Direct mail, which includes mailers like letters and brochures, is still one of the most common forms of marketing today. If you choose to use a list broker to send your direct mail campaigns, you will first provide the list broker with criteria, such as locations or ages, that you are targeting with your campaign. The list broker then sends you a list of up-to-date names and addresses to use for your campaign.

Questions to Ask About List Broker Services

When you're choosing a list broker service, ask the following questions:

  • Does the company specialize in consumer or business lists? Consumer lists are useful if you're trying to generate more foot traffic or general interest, while business lists comprise more precise data sets that target businesses in a particular industry. In both instances, a good list broker can create a targeted list that relies on specific geographic and demographic data points.

  • How current are the lists? The best list brokers update their databases regularly. Most vendors run their postal list through the U.S. Postal Service's National Change of Address file, while email addresses are checked electronically. Most services check their lists every 30 days, though you can request that the service run a check again before providing you with the final list.

  • Is the data available categorized as compiled or responsive? Compiled data is largely gathered through open records, including phone books, government records and credit files. The household or business contacts on these lists can be further sorted by geographic locations, gender, ethnicity, income and age. Responsive lists are based on contact information that was volunteered in some way. They are usually gathered through sources like magazine subscriptions, catalogs and previous direct marketing responses. List broker sites often refer to these as "opt-in" lists, meaning the contacts may be more receptive to your message, but opt-in records are usually more expensive and harder to come by.

  • Do the lists come with any guarantees? Addresses and contact info, especially with large lists, are always in flux, so there are bound to be delivery errors and bounced mailers. Many list brokers offer a deliverability guarantee and refund your costs for items that are returned by the U.S. Postal Service. However, a broker is not responsible if your campaign does not attract new customers.

  • Are the lists sold or rented out? When you buy a list, it's yours to keep and use. Broker companies sometimes rent lists for temporary use. When you rent a list, you're given a set number of times that you can use the list. You enter into an agreement with the list broker that you will only use the list for the agreed-upon number of uses. Often, the rented list contains seed addresses that alert the broker if you use the list beyond the number specified in the rental agreement, which can result in fees and penalties.

  • Does the broker offer additional, direct marketing services? Some brokers design your mailers (or emails) and send them for you. Their experience can save you money and a lot of potential headaches. Of course, you can always purchase a list and use a direct mail service for fulfillment and mailing. If you are renting an email list for one-time use, most brokers typically send emails on your behalf, which also ensures their list stays private. List broker services can help you find new customers. With the help of a list broker, you can easily connect to a larger audience and open new doors for your business.

Benefits of using a purchased list for your direct marketing campaigns

Direct marketing is a method businesses have used to reach new audiences for decades. It involves reaching out to a specific target audience by mail, email, or phone in hopes of converting them into customers or clients. There are three distinct advantages to including a direct marketing campaign with your company's marketing strategy.

It boosts your customer base.

The success of your marketing efforts depends on several factors, including your message and call to action, but to get your message to these people in the first place, you need contacts. A big factor in the success of your campaign is the quality of those contacts. Not only do list brokers provide you with lists of potential customers, but they can help you determine the audience that will be most receptive to your message.

Direct marketing expands your customer reach.

With a purchased list, you have the opportunity to expand your reach to new customers that you may not have found on your own. The list broker provides you with lists tailored to your exact specifications, ensuring that your marketing campaigns go to new customers who are interested in seeing what your business offers.

It saves you time.

It can be tedious and time-consuming to track down potential new leads. Using a purchased list service can save you serious time, which you can then devote to more important things, like fine-tuning your campaign or analyzing results.

Types of List Broker Services

There is a variety of list broker services that cater to different marketing needs. The most common types of list broker services are:

  • Consumer
  • Business
  • Email
  • Direct mail

List brokers, list managers and list compilers

There are three types of vendors in the mailing list industry: list brokers, list managers and list compilers.

List brokers are intermediaries between you and the owner of the list you are interested in purchasing. Brokers recommend the best lists for your marketing campaign; they handle mailing dates and order the lists. Brokers also negotiate for the best lists and deals for your campaign.

List managers work to generate the most revenue for a list. They promote their lists to brokers and marketers for future campaigns. Managers also maintain lists, ensuring they are accurate and up to date.

List compilers produce the lists. They are familiar with the sources they get their data from and generally deal in bulk listings of hundreds of thousands of entries.

How to Choose a List Broker

It can be difficult to choose which list broker service is right for you and for the marketing campaign you're running. There are many factors to consider, such as your marketing goals and the type of lists the service specializes in.

Your starting point, first and foremost, is to decide what kind of list you require: consumer or business. Many broker services offer both, and some specialize in one or the other. Next, which channel are you using for your campaign: direct mail or email? Third, try to pinpoint your target customer. What is their age? Is there a specific location you have in mind? What is their gender? Segmenting your list based on specific criteria can boost your chances that your marketing efforts go to leads who have the potential to become customers.

Fourth, ask the broker how they compile, maintain and update their lists, since it is vital that the lists you use are accurate. Check to make sure the list broker maintains their lists by:

  • Removing duplicates
  • Identifying undeliverable or incorrect addresses
  • Removing opt-outs regularly
  • Updating lists at least monthly
  • Disclosing their list sources

Finally, check whether the service is a CASS-certified vendor. CASS, the Coding Accuracy Support System, is a program created by the USPS to test and improve the accuracy of address-matching software and postal coding. The goal of CASS is to reduce undeliverable, unsortable or difficult-to-deliver mail. A service with a CASS certification has a higher level of accuracy and is more likely to deliver legitimate lists.

You can also check whether the list broker works with the National Change of Address system to regularly update their lists and ensure all their addresses are as current as possible.

List Broker Service FAQs

How Do List Brokers Work?

A list broker connects you to extensive databases with contact information for consumers and businesses. These databases are assembled from various sources, including phone books, public records and surveys. Records can include names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of people or businesses you're trying to market your products or services to.

List brokers help you narrow your list of consumers or businesses to those likely to be the most receptive to your mailers, emails or telemarketing calls.

What Is the Difference Between a List Broker, List Manager and List Compiler?

In the mailing list industry, there are list brokers, list managers and list compilers.

List brokers recommend the best lists for your marketing campaign, handle mailing dates and order the lists.

List managers promote their lists to brokers and marketers for future campaigns. Managers maintain and update lists while ensuring the lists are attractive to potential buyers or renters.

List compilers produce the lists. They are familiar with the sources they get their data from and generally deal in bulk listings of hundreds of thousands of entries.

Should I Rent or Buy a List?

Whether you buy or rent a list will largely depend on your needs. Renting a list is usually single use, which means that you pay to use the list once, and do not own the data. If you plan to regularly use list brokers, renting can be expensive, but it is a cost-effective option if you only do it once or twice.

When you buy a list, you own the data and can use it for as long and however you like, as long as you don't resell it.

Our Methodology

To find the best list broker services, we started with 25 vendors. We researched each list broker thoroughly, evaluating their pricing, the accuracy of their lists, the services they offered and how often they updated their lists.

We then eliminated vendors that had low guarantee rates, were not U.S.-based, did not categorize their lists or were too expensive. We also eliminated vendors that did not have good online reputations whether from online reviews or the Better Business Bureau.

This narrowed the list to 12 services. We grouped the 12 remaining vendors into the three best pick categories: best overall, best for consumer lists and best for email lists. We reached out to each service's customer support to experience how helpful and responsive they were and asked questions around how lists are sourced, how often the lists are updated, and what the process of buying or renting a list looks like.

Finally, we narrowed down the list to our three best picks based on the above criteria.

Community Expert Insight

As part of our review, we reached out to our community of small business owners about which list broker services they use and recommend. Here are their recommendations.

LeadsPlease

"LeadsPlease has a winning platform," said Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass. "They offer a leads development structure that can be suited to your specific business needs. You can choose your file format and generate a comprehensive list that is on point."

"LeadsPlease is very easy to use. The UI is clean and simple and doesn't get in your way, so you can get what you need in various formats and then get out," said Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer.

ListGIANT

"They're very accessible and good for long-term use," said Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Lawn Care. "They're a bit pricier than some of the other options on the market, at least for the high-yield options. We went with ListGIANT because they had the kind of lists that were most useful to us. They're targeted, focused, and we can use them as many times as we need."

Kiely Kuligowski
Kiely Kuligowski
business.com Staff
See Kiely Kuligowski's Profile
Kiely Kuligowski is a business.com and Business News Daily writer and has written more than 200 B2B-related articles on topics designed to help small businesses market and grow their companies. Kiely spent hundreds of hours researching, analyzing and writing about the best marketing services for small businesses, including email marketing and text message marketing software. Additionally, Kiely writes on topics that help small business owners and entrepreneurs boost their social media engagement on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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