Should You Buy An Email List?

Should your business be using its wallet to buy an email list?

Should your business be using its wallet to buy an email list?

A large database of contacts is always going to be good for selling; the more people on your list, the more sales you will achieve. This is why many people attempt to acquire more contacts by buying an email list.

Email lists can contain thousands of names and, on the face of it, it seems as though your business could grow substantially from one. However, growing your mailing list by buying contacts can have significant consequences for your business and digital marketing campaigns.

What are the negatives about buying an email list and the implications for your business?

1. It Violates The Law

Many laws across the world state that a contact must give permission to an organisation, to use their contact details in marketing. This applies to corporate contacts as well as consumer contacts. In the US, the Double Opt-In law further elaborates on this by stating that a contact must confirm their subscription after they have given their first indication.

When you don’t follow these laws there are significant repercussions. In the UK, you can be fined thousands of pounds for sending marketing messages via email without the users permission. In the US, there are similar consequences.

2. It Produces Poorer Results

Email marketing is only effective because it is permissible, in other words, the consumer has given permission to receive the marketing messages. Consumers often sign up to a mailing list in order to receive news about promotions and discounts. The important issue is that when you have a contact’s permission, they are expecting your messages.

When you have bought their details, they won’t be expecting your messages and that this can put you on the back foot. Often, bought email lists have poor open rates (as low as 1%), while the rates of those with organically grown lists can be extremely high and often not lower than 15%.

3. It Can Get Your Mail Server Banned

Another problem with bought email lists is that you can’t guarantee if the contacts are genuine. If you have contacts on the list that don’t exist or their email address has expired, then this could return a hard bounce. A hard bounce will be recorded against your mail server. Too many of these will limit your ability to send messages and your mailing campaigns will be less effective.

At the same time, even if you have genuine contacts on your database, there is a chance they will report your business and emails as a spamming organisation to their mail client server. This will get you a bad reputation and eventually you will be banned from sending messages. This can be expensive to repair and will forever damage your chances of making a sale later on with that customer.

4. It Costs Money For Not A Lot Of Response

Email lists aren’t given for free. They cost dozens or hundreds of dollars to just acquire them. Then when you send the message you are expending more money to do so and the chances are that you will not receive much interaction or response.

Spending money without any return is not good business practice. Especially if you then have to pay money to repair your business’ reputation, or to set up a new mailing client for your business. Furthermore, you have the possibility of having to pay a fine for buying the list.

Conclusion

Buying an email list is a bad idea for your business. Not only can it ruin your business’ reputation and therefore your chance of selling to potential customers, it can also cost you significant amounts of money in fines and repairing your reputation. The only real way to gain new contacts is to organically grow them.

How do you generate new contacts on your list? Have you ever bought a list?

Let us know in the comments below.

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