8 Key Reasons Why You Should Never Buy Email Lists

Purchasing an email list looks very tempting if you want to expand the opportunities to increase your revenues. However, what once was a wondrous and mind-opening experience has become a colossal time-and-dollar sinkhole. In this post, we’ll detail why you should never buy an email list (and what you should do instead).

What Does It Mean to Buy an Email List?

An email list includes names, addresses, and possibly other details such as employer’s name or income frequency. These lists are purchased from email List brokers such as ZoomInfo or Apollo.

Even smaller marketing agencies that scour LinkedIn and other sites for scraped contact lists offer buyable email marketing lists, too.

As email marketing is highly effective at selling anything, including their mom, online, many newbie business owners purchase an email list for email marketing.

It would hardly take a few months if you had to start from scratch, trying to come up with an organic email list with thousands of customer data. Sometimes, you may purchase a list of customers’ data online and have hundreds or thousands of them within a day.

However, is the process of purchasing or attaining an email list effective?

Short answer: no.

It is unwise to buy an email list, and it is a complete waste of money that could have been used to achieve better results. It is one of the worst hacks considered and, often enough, will only negatively affect your business.

Below are the 8 reasons why never to buy an email list.

1. You Can’t Trust the Quality of the List

It is not the same as constructing a quality email list from scratch or ‘ ‘skyscrapping.’ Well, let me tell you, when you pay for a second-hand list, you have to deal with a ton of junk leads. Purchasing email lists also poses several other problems, such as:

  • Missing or incomplete data: There is a likelihood that those receiving the emails also have their names and email addresses wrong.
  • Out-of-date information: In this regard, it should be understood that the email marketing list accumulated over time may contain addresses that have been deleted or are merely dormant.
  • Illegally sourced email addresses: Just about any email list seller mines, like LinkedIn, to extract email addresses from unsuspecting people. This is a List of CAN-SPAM Act violators using these email addresses for their marketing campaigns, and it is prohibited by the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Marketing Act of 2003.

Employers who pay for the contacts list may believe that one fine evening for 5,000-10,000 contact lists is ‘nothing like the jackpot!’ Still, an email address list contains almost nothing if it has irrelevant, invalid, and unlawful lead information.

2. You Might Have to Pay Hefty Fines

Purchasing lists aren’t prohibited. However, how you handle the email data determines whether you are likely to engage in costly and protracted litigation processes.

Most countries have strict rules and regulations against sending spam emails. For example, the Direct Marketing Association of America has the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 of the USA.

If the email list you buy violates the CAN-SPAM Act, you can pay a fine of up to $50,120 for each separate email you send:

The equivalent regulation for data protection in the European Union (EU) also has distinct provisions against spam under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR, the regulation that targets data protection rules, points out that sending emails to people without their permission is unlawful.

However, if you acquire a list of people from third-party service providers who specialize in compiling such lists, you do it without obtaining consent from those on the list. That’s an apparent contravention of GDPR on the part of the organizations regarding data privacy. Consequently, it may be necessary to shell out up to 10 million euros or 2% of gross international sales earnings, whichever is more.

META, the parent company of Facebook, recently spent $1. Three billion in early 2023 after it processed users’ data, violating the GDPR provision, which prohibits the transfer of European data to the U.S.

Canada has Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) that contains similar prohibitions to promote permission marketing within the sending of emails.

In other words, it is essential to remember that spam and its legalities depend on the country being discussed. If the list you purchased is of people who are from a specific country that has anti-spam laws, then you have no choice but to be a victim of these laws.

3. You’ll Come Across as a Spammer

Your emails might be informative and even literarily sound like what many people want to read and subscribe to. It may dominate in delivering the best and most relevant subject lines and have perfect CTA buttons.

Email outreach is effective when people on the receiving end can recognize your brand. That is not always the case when you buy mailing lists.

For the recipients unaware of your company, it comes out as an unknown company sending spam emails into their inboxes. Customers’ pictures delete or look at the unsubscribe button if they have no relation to the brands mailing them. Many will flag emails that they have not subscribed to as spam to reduce the chances of receiving them in the future (discussed in the next section).

Most spam accounts state that most of the spam contains marketing messages. They account for 36% of all spam emails. Did you know half of the world’s population received more than 162 billion spam emails per day in 2022?

Specific protocols in the email industry state that more people reporting your marketing emails can harm the deliverability of your emails and your IP. Third, recipients’ filters, including Email verification and spam block list databases such as Spamhaus and Spam Cop, can report your IP address and list your domain.

4. Email Marketing Platforms Can Ban You

If you get to a point where people begin forwarding your emails to the spam folder en-mass, then you are blocklisted by your email marketing systems.

These online marketing solutions like AWeber, ConvertKit, or Constant Contact can be connected to your CRM and allow for Email Marketing Campaign Management.

Almost all the email marketing platforms that are available today have limited policies of no purchase of business email marketing lists. They can shut down your account and prevent your brand from participating, and they can charge you a fine if you break the rules or they decide to sue you.

Here’s an example.

As stated above, buying lists for sending out emails is considered spamming, according to Aweber, and this is an absolute no-no when it comes to using their service. The firm has stated that spam-sending is prohibited and has these statements at the bottom of its website.

It is also noteworthy that ESPs, including Gmail and Yahoo!, do not allow businesses to send emails to people who have not permitted this. The ESPs might block your communication as spam or even freeze your business account without any previous warning.

5. You’ll Risk Your Brand Reputation

Not only are email marketing platforms capable of banning you, but buying an email list is a very dangerous move that goes against your brand image.

Most of the time, many people go to social media to complain about particular brands that constantly spam their emails. Even worse, your brand’s name may be associated directly with spam, and you can get rankings among companies sending the most spam.

Establishing a good image is essential, and one does not wish to spend lots of money advertising that the company or its products are not awful.

6. Other Brands Might Use the Exact Same List

This is so since email list providers convey duplicate contacts to various purchasers in separate transactions to obtain the highest profit. This is one of the reasons they offer business email lists at a relatively cheaper cost than other contact lists.

While it is still essential in the short term, using duplicate lists influences your other marketing statistics, such as conversion rates. Now, let us envision 5 to 10 brands sending marketing emails to the same concentrated group of people. Some clients find it cumbersome and will even develop a negative attitude towards that company.

No matter how appealing your offer might sound, such recipients will not patronize you or even engage you when you call them. Perhaps they will go as far as ensuring they block your emails so that they never get a chance to view them in the first place.

7. Your Response Rate Will Suffer a Lot

For instance, let’s assume you are an eCommerce business selling a product that costs $20 per unit. I hire a list provider who sends me a list of 10,000 email addresses. Based on your estimation, if you’re definite about taking the 5 % conversion rate, the target of 500 units would entail revenue of $10,000.

Not bad, right?

Your response rate will probably not exceed 5%, though it’s random…. The ugly truth is that most people found in purchased lists never even read the message into your email, let alone click on the call-to-action buttons provided in your email.

While the benefit is that the purchased email lists are usually more extensive, it is essential to note that they have meager rates of Open and Click-through. To be more precise, the probability of successfully delivering an e-mail with a requested action is 1 in 12,500,000. That is why buyers are unhappy about receiving emails about products and services that are of no interest to them, as a survey showed that 74% of buyers detest such kinds of emails.

This contrasts sharply with volumes currently clinched at an average of $ 20-$ 25 open rates per healthy target email list.

8. No Reputable Expert Recommends It

When it comes to different aspects of marketing, people usually have varying preferences regarding which initiatives bring success and which are ineffective. At the same time, everyone will acknowledge that purchasing an e-mail list is pointless.

Read any significant blog on email marketing, and you’ll get the same validation from all of them. One thing that is best avoided is buying lists of email addresses.

Here’s what experts have to say on the topic of purchased email lists:

“Purchased lists are equally deadly, especially for business, filled with dead emails and spam traps that alert the mailbox providers that a company does not respect their rules of not sending emails to people who did not consent to it if you are involved in purchasing email lists, please stop immediately.

– Neil Patel, YouTube Content Creator and Co-Founder of Crazy Egg, a Business Analytics Firm Kissmetrics and Popular Pop-up Bar Hello Bar

“It is tempting because one would like to do it quickly. However, one does not wish to be in the business of sending out junk mail. You don’t wish to email people with nothing to do with you. Here, what one wants is to build relationships.”

– Evan Carmichael, Author and YouTube Content Creator

“The following are some of the cons of using this method to acquire leads for your small business; Too much is at stake when you employ this method of acquiring leas for your business You may want to have a relevant customer base, follow the law, and maintain a good reputation If you desire the above goals, then it is better to begin cultivating your own email list from an scratch.”

How to Look At Email Lists + What NOT to Do

The most effective way of getting email lists is creating email lists from the ground up that direct your marketing campaigns toward specific targets. The audience always gets high on the list of things you should be working hard to establish in your digital marketing strategy, and list-building helps with that.

You learn the importance of targeted list building as inbound marketing works well for you instead of heavily investing in outbound channels, including cold emails, calls, and advertising.

In the long run, the sort of inbound marketing that can be done here, such as using blogs to drive website traffic, is much more scalable and cheaper because it is natural.

But if you are at a point where you are just beginning to build your own business, you may be wondering where to start. Here is an uncomplicated organic list-building, step-by-step guide you can follow Successfully.

Step 1: Create a Follower Base By Making Content Compelling

Occasionally, audiences become too sophisticated, and the mistakes that big brands once made can be of value to their target market. Employ your knowledge in barter and exchange good content, including clients’ emails and phone numbers.

If you are not there with your website, then begin with that; at least it is better than what is currently on television. Choose such forms as blogs, videos, tutorials, infographics, or other articles related to your business and upload them to drive relevant traffic to your website.

After that, use an optin email campaign to enable people to subscribe to your mailing list.

This is something that people will not hesitate to subscribe to your email newsletters or blogs since the content that is being produced is exciting and relevant to their lifetime.

This forms a good impression, and you only have to sell your products or services to the subscribers with minimal persuasion.

Step 2: Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is something that the subscriber has to give you their email address to access or be given.

This is much different from requesting people to subscribe to your list. Unlike many other categories of marketing content, the value a lead magnet provides and what is expected in return is usually simple and uncomplicated. You can have a landing page and post some remarkable content that people can use with entry points in exchange for their email addresses.

Depending on your niche and what your audience prefers, the lead magnets can be:

  • Industry reports
  • How-to guides
  • Webinar
  • Ebooks or whitepapers
  • Templates
  • Quizzes, surveys, or polls
  • Giveaway contests
  • Online courses
  • Free product trials
  • Free consultations
  • ROI calculators

Here’s an example of a lead magnet on our blog:

lead magnet popup

Step 3: Work With a Reputable Email Marketing Platform

To reach ‘big’ and reach many people simultaneously, avoid sending mass emails through your email client, such as Outlook or Google Mail. This is a terrible approach that your ISP will punish or simply filter for you to be unable to access many features that actual email service providers provide.

Instead, use your account with a reliable email marketing service provider. We recommend Constant Contact. You can select any services from this article’s best email service providers.

Step 4: Add Optin Forms to Your Website

Do not put yourself in the wrong, and do not establish just one type of optin form. Put it in your site’s sidebar. It is crucial to force your website and run multiple optin campaigns to achieve the highest conversion rate.

The good news is that there is no fuss about creating and integrating optin email forms, especially when using OptinAble. It also has hundreds of templates that are ready to use to prepare typical models for operational use.

Regarding the design aspect, OptinAble helps you design signup forms through the drag-and-drop option. With OptinAble, you can build multiple types of optin forms like:

We do not advise dripping too many popups into your website for your website visitors as this may be overwhelming to them. That was negative to the experience since it creates a poor first impression of visitors and impacts the bounce rate on your website.

Rather, optin campaigns must have a variety of 1-2 placed on a few pages, which usually attracts the highest traffic. This will involve conducting multiple tests, including A/B tests where you want to determine which campaigns or variations convert the best.

Once you collect data, dedicate your efforts to the most effective campaigns and ignore those that are not.

What tools do you need to grow an email marketing list?

To reach your email marketing goals, you may need a boost from some valuable tools that make building an email list quicker and easier:

  • Lead generation tool/popup tool: A lead generation tool such as popup software may come in handy to design efficient opt-in forms that can boost conversion rates.
  • Email service providers: In addition, you will require the services of an email service provider like Mailchimp or Klaviyo to send thousands of emails at once and manage your list of subscribers.
  • Website personalization: Building and cultivating a list is most successful when relevancy is directed to the center. A website personalization tool will assist you in reaching out to your audience more efficiently and, therefore, help expand your list more quickly.