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Why Buying Email Lists Is Always a Bad Idea (And How to Build Yours for Free)

by stacy

You require personnel who can be contacted by email, and you require them as soon as possible. I’d like it if you could obtain them at a reasonable price as well.

That’s the frame of mind many marketers have when they’re on the phone with a list-purchasing company: We need new contacts to email to help our sales team grow their business. Taking action amid desperation, on the other hand, can be detrimental rather than beneficial.

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A credit card swipe can indeed provide you with thousands of new connections, but your email marketing campaign, which is a vital component of any well-rounded inbound marketing plan, can suffer as a result. Are you curious as to why purchasing email lists is the kiss of death for a respectable email marketer? Please continue reading.

In addition, we’ll provide you with a list of ethical and successful methods for growing your email marketing list without resorting to purchasing one.

Methods for Obtaining an Email Address List

Before we go into the difficulties of purchasing email addresses, let’s take a look at three methods by which marketers can currently obtain their email lists:

1. Purchase an email distribution list.

Using demographic and/or psychographic information, you collaborate with a list supplier to identify and purchase an email address and name database. In the case of a list of 50,000 names and email addresses of people who live in Minnesota and do not have children, you might consider purchasing the list. There are various long-term strategies for using email marketing to expand your company’s reach. This isn’t one of those instances.

2. Purchase an email distribution list.

Working with a list provider, you can also identify a group of people to email — but you never actually control the list you create. The result is that you cannot see the email addresses of those who are receiving your message, and you must rely on the provider to send out your message.

3. Have an opt-in email list that people may sign up for.

Someone freely provides you with their email address, either online or in-person, so that you can communicate with them by email. The types of email material they wish to receive can be selected by the subscriber, for example, asking for email alerts when new blog articles are published. People who opt-in to receive your emails do so because they believe you have something of value to say and have shown interest and trust in what you have to say.

“This email list is completely opt-in!” says some vendors or marketers when referring to lists that have been rented or purchased by a company. In other words, the people on the list agreed to receive email communication from someone at some point in time — such as the listing provider — by filling out a form or checking a box indicating that they would like to receive additional content from that provider.

What “opt-in” lists do not imply, however, is that email recipients have voluntarily agreed to receive communications from your company via email. This is an important distinction, and the following section of this piece will go into greater detail about why using an “opt-in email list” (which should be read with air quotes) for your email marketing program is not a good idea.

  • Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Purchase Email Lists
  • You’ll be in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation’s consent rules.
  • Sending emails to lists that you have purchased is not permitted by reputable email marketing providers.
  • Good email address lists are not available for purchase.
  • People who are on a purchased or rented list do not know you personally.
  • You will have a negative impact on your email deliverability and IP reputation.
  • You have the potential to be irritating.

It is possible that your email service provider will penalise you.

1. You’ll be in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation’s consent rules.

Most email marketers throughout the world are required by law to provide recipients with the ability to opt out of receiving emails they no longer wish to receive. Contacts must be able to complete this action immediately within the email message it contains. This relationship is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data privacy law that emphasises the importance of opt-in consent — and has determined that purchased email lists are simply not compliant.

Via Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has reformed various parts of a digital marketer’s usage of client data on a website, in social media, and via email. To be subject to the act’s authority, you don’t even have to work in Europe; if your recipients live in Europe, they are protected by the GDPR.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now governing all email correspondence across Europe, including an opt-out option in your email template is no longer sufficient. In order to send emails to your contacts, you must have their explicit authorization prior to doing so. In this example, explicit means that the checkbox that a visitor must click in order to opt into an email subscription is not already ticked when they arrive at your website. And when you buy email lists, the people on them aren’t given this option, which means you’re already in violation of GDPR before you send your first email.

You’re looking for any non-legal justifications for not using the purchased email list? We’ve included those as well, farther below.

2 reputable email marketing platforms do not allow you to send emails to lists that you have purchased from them.

If you’re currently utilising email marketing software or intend to do so in the future, you’ll find that reputable organisations will require you to use opt-in email lists in order to maintain their good standing. “I’ll just employ a non-reputable email marketing firm,” you might be thinking to yourself.

Unfortunately, email service providers (ESPs) using shared IP addresses that do not restrict their clients to use opt-in email lists often have poor deliverability. Why? The deliverability of other customers using the same shared IP address can be harmed by one customer’s erroneously obtained email address list. If you want your emails to really reach recipients’ inboxes, you’ll want to align yourself with the more moderate side of the email marketing spectrum.

3. Good email address lists are not available for purchase.

Except in the case of a merger or acquisition, it is unlikely that you would come across a high-quality email list that you may purchase for your marketing purposes. Generally, if an email list is for sale, it signifies that the email addresses on the list have already been considered non-responsive or unqualified for marketing outreach purposes.

While purchased email addresses may have had some worth in the past, it’s likely that they’ve been spammed to the ends of the earth – otherwise, they’d still be in the hands of the company that sold them. Would you sell or distribute the email addresses of folks who have willingly signed in to receive emails from you? Consider the implications of this.

4. The people on a purchased or rented list are unfamiliar with you.

Although I briefly mentioned it earlier, it’s worth delving into greater depth on this topic in general. Rented and purchased lists are occasionally scraped from other websites, which, I believe we can all agree, is a dishonest method of acquiring email marketing connections for a business or organisation.

However, suppose the email addresses you’re interested in purchasing were not obtained from a third-party website but were instead gained properly. Companies that sell or rent email lists may claim that the lists they sell or rent are “opt-in.” That sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?

No, not at all. Email addresses on a “opt-in” list have elected to receive emails from a specific sender — such as the list-purchasing corporation — rather than from your company. Even if the opt-in process includes language such as “Opt-in to receive information from us, as well as offers from other companies we believe you will enjoy,” the recipient is unlikely to recall having a prior relationship with you in particular. As a result, when you arrive in the inboxes of your recipients, it is highly likely that they will mark you as “spam.” After all, if they don’t recognise you or don’t recall opting in to receive communications from you, who can blame them.

After all, the most common sort of spam is advertising-related email, which accounts for around 36 percent of all spam messages received.

It is at this point that we will go on to the following point.

5. You will have a negative impact on your email deliverability and IP reputation.

Did you know that there are organisations dedicated to the prevention and elimination of email spam? Isn’t it a relief to know that? They set up a small device known as a honeypot, which is an email address that has been planted and that, when retrieved and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer (honeypot). A similar technique is to set up spam traps in order to detect spammy activity. Spam traps are set up when an email address generates a hard bounce due to the fact that it is old or no longer legitimate, yet continues to receive persistent traffic. Isn’t that odd?

As a result, the email address is transformed into a spam trap, which no longer returns the hard bounce warning but instead accepts the message and marks the sender as a spammer on the receiving end.

If you purchase an email list, you have no way of knowing how many times those email addresses have been emailed, whether the email addresses on that list have been scrubbed for hard bounces to prevent you from being identified as a spammer, or where those email addresses came from before you purchased the list.

You’re taking a huge risk by putting not just your email delivery at jeopardy, but also the reputation of your IP address and your company as well. Even if you come to your senses after acquiring or renting email lists and decide to only email those who have opted in with your organisation, it will take months (if not years) to raise your Sender Score and restore the reputation of your IP address.

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