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Purchased Email Lists: The Ugly Truth

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Building an email marketing list can be challenging and time consuming, especially if you’re a new business that is just getting started or trying to grow quickly. Unfortunately, many marketers take the easy road (or so they think) and purchase email lists to help grow their business without knowing the consequences that lie ahead.

Purchased Email Lists: The Ugly Truth

What is a Purchased Email List?

Purchased email lists are a collection of “non-opt-in” email addresses compiled by third-party vendors who then sell the list to a business or individual for a fee.

There are a few methods that third-party vendors use to build these lists. One common method is through banner advertisements placed on websites that offer a prize. And in order to claim the prize, these ads ask that you provide information such as your email address, which is then segmented into categories where you become a “target” for marketers.

Another method vendors use to collect email addresses is through buying email lists from industry trade shows (or other events) where it is common for people to provide their email information during the registration process.

And then there is email harvesting. This sneaky method uses “bots” to scour the web and collect email addresses from websites, forums and comment sections.

The Downside

Nothing good can come from purchasing an email list if you don’t want to take the time to grow it yourself. Here are some reasons why you should avoid purchased lists at all costs:
The Downside of Purchased Email Lists

  • Reputable email marketing providers will not allow users to import a purchased email list.
  • Sending to purchased email lists typically generate high bounce rates due to the email addresses being no longer active.
  • If received, recipients have no idea who you are and most likely will flag your email as spam or simply delete it.
  • If too many recipients report your email as spam your IP address is in danger of being blacklisted and blocked from all future sendings.
  • You’re annoying the people whose business you are trying to earn.

Simply put – purchasing lists is bad practice all together and is not worth the risk of tarnishing your businesses reputation.

Growing Your Email List the Right Way

Growing a healthy email list takes time, but it is rewarding if you grow it the right way without resorting to purchasing a list. Here are our top 10 ways to grow your email list:

  1. Use a paper sign-up sheet. Keep it simple by having a mailing list sign-up sheet readily available for your customers.
  2. Create interesting and relevant content in your emails. If you provide content that people will want to read, chances are they will stay subscribed and will be apt to forward the email on to friends, family and colleagues that are not on your email list.
  3. Create a free online tool or resource that requires people to sign up with their email address. Many companies will use this for prospect and lead generation.
  4. Collect email addresses from events. Don’t forget to send a welcome email to these contacts that allows them to confirm their opt-in to your email list.
  5. Utilize your Facebook business page. Add a newsletter sign-up tab on your page to easily collect email addresses from your followers or potential followers. Also, use your timeline as a way to promote offers that require an email address submission.
  6. Create an engaging opt-in campaign to send to contacts that are on old email lists to reengage with them and ask if they wish to re-opt-in to your emails.
  7. Include a forward-to-a-friend link and social sharing buttons in your emails, so that your email subscribers can easily share and forward your emails to people in their network.
  8. Implement a birthday or anniversary club where you provide something special to people that sign up.
  9. If you are a business that provides goods or services, put an offer on the back of your business cards that entices people to sign up for your email.
  10. Promote an online contest that requires people to sign up or provide their email address for entry.

Our Marketing Experts Are Here to Help!

Do you have questions or are you interested in learning how you can grow your email marketing list the right way? Contact one of our marketing experts today!

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