An email list is one of the best marketing assets your business will have. The Return On Investment for email marketing far exceeds that of any other digital marketing streams. That’s why business leaders and marketers try very hard to build a large marketing list.
However, some business leaders and marketers, in their rush to grow a big list, will buy email details. The advantage of this is that you can collect a large list of emails very quickly and with limited cost. But there are significant risks to buying an email list – ones which could make it very hard for your business to even market itself.
Here’s a list of reasons why you shouldn’t buy an email list.
1. Illegal Process
One of the most important arguments against buying an email marketing list is that it’s against the law to market to individuals who have not given you permission to contact them. If you fail to adhere to this rule and market to those who have not given you permission, you can be fined. Without direct communication with the email’s owner – you have no idea whether they have given permission to be contacted for marketing and they haven’t given you permission anyway.
Even a B2B marketing list can suffer the same disaster. Any sole trader or partner business is treated as an individual and therefore, you need their contact details. Incorporated emails can only be emailed without permission if they don’t contain any identifiable information, i.e. their name.
2. Fake/Outdated Email Addresses
Fake or outdated email addresses are a major issue when buying an email list. Even email address you can’t deliver to increase your costs to send but offer you no benefit. Also, they can slow down your email server which can affect how your business works.
Also, if you use email marketing service providers, fake and outdated email addresses uploaded to their servers will be reported. In most cases, the email marketing service provider will cancel your contract.
3. Low Engagement Rate
Email marketing lists that are bought have a significantly lower engagement rate than those which are collected organically. Therefore, the return on investment can be significantly lower, and in fact, the money might as well be spent on other, more white-list strategies such as SEO and PPC.
4. Blocked Email Server
One of the costliest repercussions of your email marketing list being bought is that your email server can be blacklisted. This happens when too many of your ‘subscribers’ state you are spam, or complain that they didn’t subscribe to your marketing emails. Eventually, a mail server will be blacklisted that will prevent emails from being delivered.
The only way to repair this is to start over with your email server – but this is very expensive and time-consuming.
5. Morale Killer
Whether you work on your email campaigns, or another member of your team does, using an email marketing list can be a morale killer. Imagine you buy a list of 100,000 and just 100 or 200 of those reply to your email with emails such as ‘not interested,’ ‘stop emailing me,’ or ‘stop spamming me.’ This isn’t good for morale, nor is a higher unsubscribe rate.
This can have a disastrous impact on how you or others see the business. This can lower productivity and lessen positive interactions between those staff and genuine customers. Therefore, real sales can be reduced hurting your business’ revenue stream.
Buying an email list is not the best process for growing your assets and business. Instead, you need to grow your business’ organic email subscription by using lead magnets, online forms, and other methods to attract potential customers to subscribe and read content they want to hear. This might be the long-term strategy, but it is the best for costs and return.
Have you ever bought an email list before? What happened?
Let us know in the comments below.