The mindset many marketers find themselves in when they're on the phone with a list-purchasing company could be seen as "We need new people to email to support our sales team." Acting in that moment of desperation, however, can cause more harm than good.
Ideally, you don't allow yourself to get into that position of contemplating looking for a "quick win" such as "purchasing a list of email addresses with the intent to expand your reach". Yes, thousands of contacts are a credit card swipe away, but your email marketing program — a critical part of a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy — can seriously suffer.
As we'll cover below, this is not as good an idea as you think, and we'll delve into the why's in this article. Plus, we here at ClickDimensions offer you tried and tested effective ways to build your email marketing list without simply buying one.
Methods of Acquiring an Email List
Before we get into the pitfalls of buying email addresses, let's review three ways marketers are currently able to acquire their email lists:
1. Buy an email list.
You work with a list provider to find and purchase a list of names and email addresses based on demographic and/or psychographic information. For example, you might purchase a list of 50,000 names and email addresses of people who live in Minnesota and don't have children. There are several sustainable ways to use email marketing to grow your business. This isn't one of them.
2. Rent an email list.
Also working with a list provider, you identify a segment of people to email — but you never actually own the list. As such, you can't see the email addresses of the people you're emailing, so you must work with the provider to send out your email.
3. Own an opt-in email list.
Someone voluntarily gives you their email address either online or in person so you can send them emails. They may pick certain types of email content they wish to receive, like specifically requesting email alerts when new blog posts are published. Or signing up to one of many possible Subscriptions you may be running.
Opted-in email addresses are the result of earning the interest and trust of your contacts because they think you have something valuable to say.
Why You Shouldn't Buy Email Lists
- You'll violate the rules of disclosure and consent under GDPR and other regional-specific laws.
- These recipients are most likely not to want your communications which can damage your Domain/Brand Reputation.
- It is a breach of your agreement with ClickDimensions Terms of Service.
- Other reputable email marketing services also will not allow you to send emails to lists you've purchased or rented.
- Good email address lists aren't for sale.
- People on a purchased or rented list don't actually know you or your brand.
- You'll harm your email deliverability and IP reputation.
- You can come across as annoying or spammy.
- Your email service provider can penalize you based on the negative effects of purchased lists including spam complaints, bounces, and block listings.
- Bad data from purchased lists, can, and quite likely will, cost you more ROI than it will generate in the long run.
Alternatives to a Paid-for Email List
1. Shift your outbound marketing strategy to inbound.
Buying email lists is another form of outbound marketing — it’s the method that pushes messaging out to potential customers. Not only is it costly, but it doesn’t guarantee a higher ROI as a result.
When you shift your strategy to inbound marketing, you’re repositioning your business to build brand awareness and customer relationships through content creation and social media tactics.
2. Conduct lead generation campaigns.
Lead generation is the process of attracting prospects to your business and nurturing their interests with the goal of making them into customers. This can be achieved through effective marketing campaigns with enticing call-to-actions.
Some examples of lead gen campaigns include:
- Sharing blog posts with informational content
- Promoting product offerings across social media channels
- Offering product trials or coupons that lead to your landing page
Your business can get creative with campaigns to better engage your audience, especially with our next point in mind.
3. Show thought leadership through your content.
With the content your business shares with an audience, you have the ability to display thought leadership. This tactic is used in content marketing to build trust and gain credibility in your field.
To become a thought leader, your business needs to display brand helpfulness through informative content like tutorials, listicles, and other posts that help your target audience learn something new.
If you want to use email marketing while implementing these alternatives, read on to see how to do it right.
Attract Customers without Breaking the Bank
There’s already plenty of noise your business has to break through to get to your customers — so don’t let your paid email marketing efforts end in their spam box. Instead, we hope you this article helps you to devise a strategy to attract prospects with impressive content, assets, and tools that nurture them from leads to customer advocates.