Why you should never buy email marketing lists (and what to do instead)

5 min read
Will Stevens

Email is a great marketing channel, one that offers a potential 4,200% return on investment.

With the opportunity for such big rewards, it might be tempting to take a shortcut and buy an email marketing list.

But doing so could be a big mistake. Read on to find out why and to learn what you should be doing instead.

Why shouldn’t buy email marketing lists

1. You could be breaking the law

Although you can buy email marketing lists from reputable sources, you can also get them from illegitimate sources.

That means if you don’t do your homework before buying an email marketing list, you could end up breaking data protection law. The penalty for that is likely to be a big fine and damage to your reputation.

2. People are likely to respond negatively to your business

Getting an unexpected email from a business you haven’t heard of is rarely a cause for celebration. In fact, most of the time, it’s an annoyance.

People are likely to react negatively to unsolicited emails and this could tarnish your reputation in the eyes of potential customers.

3. You could be flagged as spam

It’s not only your reputation that could suffer, your future campaigns could also take a hit if you buy an email marketing list.

If people are annoyed enough by an unexpected email to mark it as spam, any emails you send in the future could suffer.

That’s because email providers assess the quality of emails someone is sending to help stop spam from getting through to their users. One of the factors they use to do this is how people respond to a particular sender’s email

If people are regularly ignoring, deleting, or marking your emails with spam, you may find that your future sends don’t get through to people’s inboxes.

To make matters worse, email providers also use honeypot accounts to trap spammers. These are inactive accounts that aren’t used by real people and have never signed up for any marketing list. Therefore, any email sent to them must come from a spammer.

If you buy an email list from an illegitimate source, it may contain one or more of these honeypot accounts and you wouldn’t have any way of knowing.

4. You won’t be able to qualify the members of the list

Qualifying your marketing prospects is important to make sure your message reaches the right people.

But if you’ve bought an email list, you don’t have any way of qualifying its members. That means you’re paying for the attention of people who may have no interest in what you do.

5. Engagement rates will below

Largely because of the reasons we’ve outlined above, it’s likely that any emails you send to a paid-for list will have low engagement rates.

That means your campaigns will perform poorly and you won’t get the returns from email marketing that you might be expecting.

What you should do instead of buying email marketing lists

1. Have all email subscribers opt-in

Having people opt into your marketing emails ensures that they really want to hear from you. People who have opted in are more likely to engage with your campaigns, increasing your chances of making sales.

You can learn more about opt-in best practices in this guide.

2. Offer subscribers something in return

If you offer something to people who sign up to your email marketing list, then you’ll increase your chances of adding more subscribers.

It could be a free ebook, a special offer, regular updates, or a combination of these things.

3. Make it quick and easy to unsubscribe

Opting into something shows that someone is interested in hearing from you at that particular time.

It doesn’t mean they want to hear from you forever. If people can’t quickly and easily unsubscribe from your emails, then they could start to think negatively about your business and may mark future messages as spam.

Plus, if people can’t subscribe to your marketing messages you may be breaking data protection law, as people should be able to control how their data is used.

4. Monitor and trim your email marketing list

Not everyone who no longer wants to hear from you will unsubscribe, some will just leave their emails unopened while others may abandon or deactivate their email accounts.

Sending emails that are ignored or go to inactive accounts can increase your chances of being caught in spam filters.

Monitor your email campaigns and prune out addresses where emails can’t be delivered. You may even want to remove people who haven’t interacted with one of your campaigns in a set period of time such as a year.

5. Track and improve your campaigns

As well as pruning your email list when required, you should also be monitoring the results of your campaigns so you can improve them in the future.

By working out what works best for your target audience, you’ll be able to run campaigns that bring you the biggest benefit.

Now you can use GoDaddy Email Marketing to get started.

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