Email List
When investing in email marketing, one of the goals is to reach as many prospects as you can immediately. However, growing your contact list doesn’t happen instantly.

To kick start email campaigns, marketers and businesses might be tempted to buy an email list. Sadly, commercial email lists rarely work. Many email marketers consider it a gamble rather than an investment.

On average, every $1 spent on email marketing gets $42 in return but this is not the case with email list buying. Using a bulk email list is like shooting blindfolded. You can expect a dismal ROI. Obviously, you won’t hear these when you talk to a list-purchasing company.

If you want to achieve an optimum return of investment, you need to focus on building an organic, targeted email list. Ideally, you should target users who engage with your promotional, subscribe to newsletters, and connect with your brand. Buying an email list is definitely not the way to go.

Here we take a look at 8 reasons why an email list won’t work.

Users in an email list don’t know you

Usually, email accounts in a purchased or rented list are scraped from different sources and websites. You don’t know how they were gathered. Chances are they have been acquired through dirty tactics.

Assuming all email accounts were gathered legitimately or “opt-in” subscribers, they don’t likely know your brand. They have opted to receive updates from the list-purchasing company and not from you. As such, when they receive an email from an unknown, they won’t have any interest in it. Recipients might even mark you as “spam” – and you can’t blame them for doing so.

Other marketers use the same list

With nearly 9 out of every 10 marketers using email marketing, numerous marketers resort to purchasing or renting an email list. That being said, you can expect them to use the same list as you.

These same recipients likely receive numerous marketing emails from different brands every day. Like any regular email user, these people are probably annoyed by the number of promotional emails they’re getting. As a result, they might not be receptive to your offers. Some might have even activated spam blockers and others might have abandoned the email address. This renders your email marketing effort useless.

High-quality email lists aren’t sold

If you want a quality email list, don’t look for it from list-purchasing companies. A high-quality email list contains targeted, responsive, and engaged users – and it takes time, effort, and resources to build one. You need to invest in various tactics like content marketing, ad campaigns, social media campaign, and more.

It takes months or even years to curate a perfect list of people who will be highly responsive to your email campaign. Think about it: would you willing to sell this list to other (and most likely your competitors)? Of course, you not!

Marketers and brands value their email lists highly. They’d go the extra mile to protect this priceless asset. So, be wary of list-purchasing companies that offer quality email database.

Non-responsive email recipients

With opt-in lists, the average open rate is around 25 percent. You can increase open rates by implementing other tactics like segmentation, improving the subject line, and organizing your email content. Open rates for purchased or rented email list doesn’t come close to this. Recipients on bulk email lists are not aware of your brand, product, or service, so they don’t have a reason to open your email.

Again, the end-goal of email marketing is to increase your sales. If your recipients are non-responsive and won’t even proceed to your landing page, it’s a useless campaign.

Violates data privacy regulations

In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) took effect in Europe. It’s a sweeping data privacy regulation that protects consumers from digital marketers.

With its enactment, marketers are required to request for intelligible and valid consent from consumers before their data can be used, also known as active opt-in. Without this consent, parties cannot use, share, or sell their digital information to third-party agents. List-purchasing companies use pre-ticked opt-in boxes which are invalid in GDPR.

Email recipients from a purchased list did not consent to receive your marketing emails, thus your use of their email is a violation of GDPR. Aside from the possibility of being banned, you might even be fined.

Problem with the email service provider

Developers of email validation tool by Byteplant stressed the importance of verifying accounts in your email list in improving email deliverability. With the bought list, you are unsure whether these email accounts are validated.

If your emails are flagged as spam or undelivered and sent back, you’re sending a wrong signal to your email service provider. Aside from damaging your brand reputation and email deliverability, it also puts at risk your email account. Email service providers like Gmail, AWeber, and Outlook are very careful when it comes to spammers. They don’t want to be associated with these accounts. For instance, AWeber can close your account in case it deems your account activity suspect or contravenes the user agreement. Some email providers can even sanction you with a fine or take legal action.

Damage your brand reputation

As mentioned above, using a commercial email list can damage your brand reputation. How?

When you send unsolicited emails to clueless recipients, you can come off as annoying, spammy, or irrelevant. This negative association can hurt your brand. They can easily bad mouth your brand in social media. In the long term, it will have adverse consequences on your business.

They might also flag your email as spam or block you altogether. Besides, you might be sending to inactive email addresses thus resulting in an increased bounce rate. This will hurt your email deliverability.

No expert recommends it

Lastly, experts don’t recommend using purchased email lists. Check out major digital marketing blogs and commentaries, and you won’t see this in their strategies. Email marketing just doesn’t work that way. It’s never about the quantity of the email recipients but rather the quality.

All said, buying an email list is a complete waste of time and resources. It can do more harm (and possibly irreparable) to your marketing campaign. When it comes to email list building, just DIY or get professional help.