The Ugly Truth About Buying Email Lists
Sometimes, a well-intentioned business, eager to grow, encounters someone offering them an inexpensive “shortcut” to building their email list.
At first, this may sound like a quick fix. But, buying email lists is not an effective way to grow your email list. As a business, you want engaged readers that will find your emails valuable. The people on the for-sale lists did not agree to receive your emails, so the email addresses are not quality.
Additionally, sending unsolicited emails is against the CAN-SPAM act. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, a U.S. law that regulates commercial emails, you cannot sell or transfer email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. Sending emails to people who didn’t ask for them is spam, and will make the readers will lose trust in your company.
A better way to grow your email list is through confirmed opt-in, which ensures that the people you are sending emails to want your emails. This also means you will get less unsubscribes. To learn about more effective ways to grow your list, download our free Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing!
Avoid companies preying on new email marketers
Some companies have learned there’s money to be made by offering new email marketers a “shortcut” to building their own subscriber lists.
So they compile email address lists and advertise them as…
- “Clean” (a clue that purchasing lists is inherently dirty)
- “Real Time”
…and a whole lot more.
In the example below, the email list is marketed as “the most accurate,” “targeted” and SPAM-free.” The thing is though, the people on the for-sale lists did not agree to have your emails sent to them. Therefore, the list is not accurate, not targeted correctly and most certainly spam.
What these companies don’t advertise are the consequences of sending to purchased email lists.
Learn from others’ mistakes
Javelin Marketing, a marketing/consultancy firm in the financial advising sector, got lured into buying such an email list (of supposed financial advisors).
No doubt they expected to find their message well-received by many of those advisors, and to quickly grow their prospect list as a result.
As you might expect, it didn’t turn out quite that way:
Upon emailing to 100,000 of the records, 85,000+ bounced and clogged up the mail server. This got them fired by our web-based email provider.
Protect your deliverability
Attracting subscribers is a deliberate process.
The only thing you’re really buying when you buy an email list is a massive headache.The only thing you're really buying when you buy an email list is a massive headache. Click To Tweet
Because that’s what you end up with after dealing with the damage that purchased email lists do to your email deliverability.
ISPs or email providers always look at what a subscriber is doing with his or her inbox, such as opening an email, clicking a link, reporting a message as spam, etc. If the engagement is good, this tells the ISP or email provider to route future emails to their inbox instead of the spam folder. As a result, the more a subscriber is engaged, the more frequently ISPs will route mail to the inbox.
If a subscriber isn’t engaged with your emails, ISPs will route those emails to the spam folder. And if that happens to a lot of your subscribers, it can hurt your sending reputation in the long run. Not only does this impact subscribers who aren’t interested in your emails, but it could make it impossible for those who do want to receive emails from you to even see them in the first place.
Grow your list in other ways
There are other great ways to grow your list that don’t involve list buying.
Start by creating a sign up form and adding the form to your website. Try offering an incentive in exchange for an email address, like a free course, ebook or discount. Then, write engaging content that readers will find valuable.
Want to learn more about growing an email list filled with quality and interested email subscribers? Download your free Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing and sign up for our blog newsletter!