Why Buying Email Marketing Lists Might Not Be a Great Idea? | Pepper Content

Why Buying Email Marketing Lists Might Not Be a Great Idea?

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 28/09/215 min read
Why Buying Email Marketing Lists Might Not Be a Great Idea?

As a business with an online presence, it’s only natural to send out emails to your customers to keep them posted about the latest updates and activities. Also, you are constantly on the lookout to add to the existing number of email subscribers to have a larger audience and grow your business effectively.  However, acquiring… Continue reading Why Buying Email Marketing Lists Might Not Be a Great Idea?

As a business with an online presence, it’s only natural to send out emails to your customers to keep them posted about the latest updates and activities. Also, you are constantly on the lookout to add to the existing number of email subscribers to have a larger audience and grow your business effectively. 

However, acquiring a user’s email address has always been a tough task, irrespective of the business size and domain. One way to quickly grow your email list is to purchase a ready-made one. It sounds reasonable as well, doesn’t it? Just pay for a ‘good quality’ and ‘targeted’ email list and reap the rewards of your investment.  

But is it effective?

The short answer is no. 

And as you read on, we’ll try our best to explain why buying email marketing lists might not be a great idea. 

But before we actually get to the part of why buying email marketing lists is not effective, let us first understand how marketers generally acquire a mailing list. 

How to Get an Email Marketing List

1. Purchasing a targeted email list

In this case, you approach a list provider with some specific requirements in mind, such as profession, demography, and possible interests of recipients. For example, you want to promote your plant-based food ingredients and ready-to-cook mixes. Thus, you might look for names and email addresses of 50,000 odd people around your city or specific geography who have a potential interest in cooking. Of course, there are multiple ways to use email marketing to develop your business. But purchasing an email list isn’t one of them.

2. Renting a targeted mailing list

As the name suggests, you rent a list from a provider instead of purchasing it. Next, you identify a demographic of your target audience and inform the provider. Typically, you don’t get to see the emails of the people you are messaging. Instead, you constantly need to work with the provider to reach out to your target audience. 

3. Owning a self-generated opt-in email marketing list 

An opt-in email list means a user voluntarily gives their email address to receive updates from you. The opt-in may be in the form of certain types of content such as newsletters or daily updates. Such an email list results from users showing genuine interest in your services and implies that they trust you to send valuable information. 

These three email acquiring methods have a clear distinction between them and should give you enough information on why it is important to build your own list rather than simply purchasing a ready-made one. 

Let us explain more:

Why Should You Not Buy Email Marketing Lists?

1. There’s no assurance of the quality of the list

Whenever you approach a provider to buy an email list, there’s no guarantee that the list you receive is completely trustworthy. Now, the provider may claim that it is ‘targeted’ and fully ‘opt-in’ compliant (more on that later); there’s just no way to fully validate the list’s quality. A few problems you might face are:

  • Incomplete or missing data 
  • Wrong names and addresses
  • Incomplete demographics
  • Outdated information

It looks great to get a ready-made list of 10,000-15,000 emails overnight. But what’s the use if you end up with over 50% unwanted, outdated email ids, and incomplete data? 

Another legitimate worry is that these emails might be harvested without the proper consent of the users, which brings us to the next big reason not to purchase an email list.

2. The trouble with international regulations

A majority of email marketers across the globe are now legally required to let recipients opt-out of emails they do not wish to receive. The users must be able to do so directly within the email message. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data privacy and protection act, effective since May 2018, emphasizes strictly having an opt-in relationship with your audience. 

So when you purchase an ‘opt-in’ list, as suggested by the provider, there’s a distinction the provider will not tell you. The people on the list did not ‘opt-in’ to receive content specifically from you, making you non-compliant to GDPR. 

Along with GDPR, a few other laws state you should avoid purchasing an email list. One such law is the CAN-SPAM Act in the US that regulates commercial emails. The law does not specifically prohibit buying or selling email marketing lists. But it does forbid sending out a bulk of unsolicited emails. And when you purchase an email list, you are basically doing just that. 

Thus, when you purchase an email list, you are not sure whether the provider has fully complied with domestic and international laws, and that might land you in trouble. 

3. You will be deemed as a spammer

We don’t like receiving unsolicited emails. That’s a fact. So imagine what your purchased recipients might feel? Unfortunately, most of them will not appreciate it and will simply unsubscribe, or worse, mark you as spam. 

You might defend saying your marketing emails are well designed, with good and valuable content for the readers. But think from their perspective. For them, you are just an unknown brand trying to sell something repeatedly without their consent. 

4. The trouble with the email service provider

Continuing from the point above, if too many of your messages are being marked as spam, your email service provider (e.g., MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, etc.) will take notice. They may then threaten to block or suspend your account permanently and penalize you. Worst case scenario, the ESP may take legal action against you. 

Additionally, some email service providers strictly prohibit purchasing an email list, and you are thus violating their terms of service. 

5. You are not the only buyer

Have you ever wondered if you could think of buying an email list, so could your competitors? And for the listing provider, it’s all business. So, you are not the only one who is buying a ‘unique’ list. There’s a great chance a lot many businesses are already using it. This also leads to a higher chance of you ending up with already annoyed recipients and being marked as a spammer. You don’t want that, do you?

6. Poor response rate

Let’s assume that you buy an email list with 10,000 addresses. For you, a 5% conversion rate is acceptable, i.e., 500 out of 10,000 end up buying your product or service. So, if the offering is, say, Rs. 1000, you end up making Rs 500,000 out of the purchased list. Not a bad deal. 

But, here’s the catch. There’s a high chance that you will not be able to reach your target. Add all the abovementioned factors, and the recipients may simply not open the email and engage with it. And even if you get a decent open rate and no one buys the product, you are still at a loss. 

7. You are devaluing your brand

Everything that we discussed so far points to one thing: brand devaluation. By purchasing an email list, you are non-compliant to international standards, violating the terms of service of your email service provider, deemed as a spammer by prospective clients, and with a high chance of not actually generating better ROI. Do we need to say more? All these things will seriously impact your reputation and brand value. 

Just think, do you need to take such risks against a single purchase of an email list? There are multiple proven ways to create an organic email list with genuine addresses and correct information. It may take time (there are different ways to optimize and speed up the process), but you should always think of a long-term approach to growing your business rather than a short-term solution. 

In the end, buying an email list is simply not worth your time, money, and efforts. 

FAQs

1. Why is purchasing an email list bad?

Purchasing an email marketing list is not a good step to grow your business because: 
a. There’s no assurance of the quality of the list
b. The trouble with international regulations
c. You will be deemed as a spammer
d. The trouble with the email service provider
e. You are not the only buyer
f. Poor response rate
g. You are devaluing your brand

2. Is it worth it to buy email lists?

Businesses need to maximize their investments, including the one they want to make in email marketing. However, purchasing a ready email marketing list is like wasting your money since it damages your sender reputation and lowers the value of any legitimate email marketing you may do. Thus, it’s not worth it!

3. Are mailing lists effective?

Research by Small Business Trends says that email marketing does provide the best ROI for both customer acquisition and retention. Thus, having a mailing list is very effective to start a successful email marketing campaign. Businesses need to build this list slowly and steadily. 

Latest from peppercontent, right in your inbox.

From our latest podcasts and articles, to the detailed guides and extensive resources. Follow the evolution of content.

By subscribing, you agree to Peppercontent’s Term of Use  and Privacy Policy.

Similar Posts