If you have recently decided to try your hand at permission based email marketing, you may be finding that building a list is a little harder than advertised. Maybe you’ve even thought about taking the easier route and purchasing one. Don’t do it. This is one investment that usually results in a total waste of money. Looking for more proof? Here it is. After learning the consequences, you will understand why buying email lists is just a bad idea.

Poor Response Rates

When you send out your marketing message, you want people to respond. Be it by joining a social network, reading an article or making a purchase, you want them to take action. If you purchase a list, the chances of actually getting that action are in the neighborhood of unlikely. Veteran email marketers are successful because they do more than send mail to an inbox. They take the time to get to know their audience and target them based on that knowledge. This is a luxury you don’t have when buying a list because you didn’t take the time to cultivate and nurture it yourself. As you read on, you will see that poor responses is usually a best case scenario.

Spam Complaints

Some email list vendors make all the promises in the world, often claiming to have lists stocked with thousands of contacts waiting to hear from email marketers just like you. This all sounds good to the marketer who is struggling to build their audience, but you have to ask yourself: are these people really interested in the products or services in your catalog? Vendors have a bad habit of selling lists that are chock full of email addresses harvested from the web – meaning they were obtained through questionable methods. Even when those subscribers have opted in to something, it wasn’t your mailing list, so more than likely you will end up as another spammer they complain about to their ISP.

Damaged Sending Reputation

Without a doubt the most severe consequence of purchasing a list is a horribly damaged reputation. The more spam complaints you tally up, the closer you get to being placed on the blacklists organized by ISPs and spam fighting organizations. And because purchased lists often contain their fair share of bounces, you might end up suffering the same fate even if recipients aren’t filing complaints themselves. This could easily happen if the ISPs that maintain those email accounts have repurposed them as spam traps or you fail to address your bounces. It all takes a toll on your sending reputation and once you reach a certain point, making a full recovery can be an uphill battle.

Doom and gloom is not guaranteed when purchasing a list, especially if you did your research before making the investment. However, this practice can never deliver the results you have when cultivating in-house. Besides, the money you spend on a list will be much better spent on engaging subscribers who are actively seeking out your products or solutions.


作者 Denise Keller

Denise Keller is CFO and founding partner of Benchmark Email and a passionate philanthropist who has raised money for fresh water wells in Africa, grief counseling for needy children and a variety of other causes. A former accountant and an accomplished expert on enterprises, Keller showed solid business acumen at just 10 years old, when she started an arts and crafts babysitting service called “Daytime Playtime.” These days, you’ll find her detailing her newfound passion for Lean and the successes and tribulations as we make Benchmark a lean company.