Why buying email lists is not a good lead generation idea

Why buying email lists is not a good lead generation idea

Most Digital Marketing professionals have tried to think of easy ways to get leads and sales. At some point in their career, they have certainly thought to buy lists of tens of thousands of email addresses from websites and online marketplaces. It’s not expensive, so why not? And who bothers to gather emails in the traditional and rather time consuming way…

99.9% of email list providers claim that everyone listed there, have opted-in to receive email from “partners”. I am sure you have come across a newsletter subscription form asking your consent to receive email from “Third-Parties”, “Partners”, “Special Offers”, etc. I will examine the chances of success later in this post. I am sure you have come across a newsletter subscription form asking your consent to receive email from “Third-Parties”, “Partners”, “Special Offers”, etc. I will examine the chances of success later in this post.

While this blog post is examining email lists bought from relevant providers, there are also software tools to crawl the web for extracting email addresses listed on various websites.

The (mis)leading arguments from email list providers

Such lists are just a relatively small investment for most. With a single transaction one can have access to hundreds of thousands of “Opt-In” email addresses which they can use with their favorite email marketing platform to send an offer noone can resist.

The arguments range from “Get access to millions of business contacts” down to “Get targeted email lists with customers ready to buy your product”. While these can be exactly what a marketeer is dreaming of, they almost always fail to provide any valuable leads or sales.

Reality check

People with no solid email marketing experience consider this a “quick way” to drive new business by mass mailing a nicely crafted email offer. While in some cases this method has provided (some) results, the risks involved outweigh any benefit in terms of sales.

There are severe risks to consider when promoting your company’s products and/or services to such mailing lists. The most important risk is that these contacts have never asked to receive emails from your company.

Many subscription forms for websites and newsletters have the option to receive communications from partners ticked by default. So people just subscribe for the content advertised and not really for receiving promotional emails from third-parties.

So in effect this tactic (or strategy if you prefer) is the definition of email spam. Just don’t do it!

It is very common for people to complain about receiving such emails, use their spam blocking technology to inform major databases about spam and of course create negative publicity on the major Social Media Networks, discussion fora and many other websites with User-Generated Content (UGC).

Another drawback is that people on these lists may blacklist the email servers used to send such email campaigns, something which hurts reputation. Here at moosend for example we do not allow such campaigns through our network, as they are known to cause irreversible damage both to the company sending them and to our email systems.

The same applies to other reputable email marketing platforms. They do not allow customers to send email to mailing lists acquired in this way.

I am sure by now you can imagine the damage caused to other fellow Moosend customers by such campaigns, but this also applies to your own business website should you decide to spam people using your real business name.

There is also another great point to consider. If those mailing lists were that good, why on earth would someone sell them for a few quid? Wouldn’t they keep these to themselves so they become millionaires?

As with everything use common sense

Common sense is always helpful when being bombarded by companies for your email campaigns. I do understand that you may be bombarded daily by such companies offering “your dream to become reality”. However the risks involved are very significant and no matter how great a salesman is, the result will most likely be the same – Failure!

There is no such thing as a “free meal” and the arguments presented are usually over-exaggerated.

On the other hand building a mailing list organically requires effort (=time) and as such lack the (mis)leading arguments of email list providers. Building a list organically is beyond the scope of this post, however there is some solid advice on the Moosend blog.

Do you have any tips for us? Share them on the comments section.

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