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Shotgun approaches to marketing risk being expensive, time-consuming and nonproductive. They also fail to distinguish your firm in the market.

“It is never a matter of just buying a list,” says Robert Sofia, cofounder of marketing consultants Platinum Advisor Strategies in Summerfield, Florida. “If you buy a list, you have the same people on the list that your competitor has on their list; that’s all you get. It doesn’t mean you can’t do something with that list. Sometimes there’s a place for that, but that’s not the way to attract your ideal client.”

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