5 Reasons Not To Buy Email Marketing Lists

As an owner of a business, you may have at times been faced with sales targets and diminishing lead generation performance, because of which you may have been forced to purchase an email list, as as a ways and means to to gain new contacts. However; there are certain dangers in this venture which are as follows:

People don’t want to hear from you

It is indeed a worse scenario when your day is interrupted with an unsolicited cold call. The reason for this is that when you send out a vast number of contacts on the purchased email lists, the people will undoubtedly not have any sort of an idea about your company. It is certainly not the best way to make a first impression.


The data isn’t as accurate as they say it is

The service providers of the email marketing lists promise reliable contact information and high deliverability. However, this is not the case. The truth is that the purchased lists are full of bad data as well as out-of-date information. If there is any sort of an inaccuracy in your data, it will result in the recipient to immediately question your credibility.

The purchased email list has no value in itself

Purchasing a valuable email list is impossible unless and until you amalgamate the email lists with a partner or when you are acquiring a new company. An excellent email buying list is highly valuable and this is why nobody would sell it and take a risk of destroying their hard-earned relationships.

People who are on the purchased lists have no idea as to who you are

The email addresses which have been provided to you on a purchased list are combined with real people who are not expecting any sort of a communication from you and this is why they don’t have any idea as to who you are. In spite of the fact that your list is full of real people, imagine their annoyance of receiving your email suddenly. It is certainly not a warm introduction to your company.

Dispatching emails to purchased lists will jeopardize your Sender Score

Your IP address is considered to be your sender score, which will be crushed with unsolicited emails as every possible IP address receives a numerical rating which is known as the sender score. It is a number which is determined by a sophisticated algorithm and is based on lots of inputs.

These are therefore some of the reasons as to why you should not to buy email marketing lists but instead grow your subscriber base organically.

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3 responses to “5 Reasons Not To Buy Email Marketing Lists”

  1. We all have agendas and I will come out straight away and say that my company advise and broker email marketing lists. So please take that into account. I would argue though that this makes us perfectly suited to comment as we have seen the good and bad from email marketing lists. Note – there was a “good” in that sentence.

    Reading the above blog almost suggests no positives to email marketing from purchased lists at all which of course is not correct.

    “People don’t want to hear from you”. I understand your point here but there are many times when people are marketed to and they were unaware of an offer or relevant service/product which has helped them. I wouldn’t say that “People want to hear Company X” but I would not be so totally cut off to think that ALL people don’t want to hear either.

    I suggest you speak to Direct Marketing Managers of successful companies who achieve fantastic ROI from purchased email lists. Bringing on board new customers who were clearly happy to be marketed too at that time. There are people who want to be marketed too just like the people that do not.

    “The Data is not as accurate as they say it is”. What a massive sweeping statement? Who are they? A good data broker tells you exactly what the data is going to be like before you buy it. There are good data companies and bad ones. To lump them all together is wrong.

    “A list has no value” – Agree, not at the start, but the customers you gain from successfully email marketing credible, relevant, timely and targeted content do certainly do. So again – is this a balanced view?

    “People who are on purchased lists don’t know who you are” – Probably correct if you are a small company but if purchased properly, these contacts will either have an interest in your service or similar. This is targeting and using customer intelligence. People may not know who a company is on a tv advert, magazine advert, web banner, sponsored tweet, facebook ad etc etc.

    I understand the value of organically grown lists – Of course they are better, that goes without saying but to be so against purchased email lists, in my humble opinion, is too far.

    PS – If People are “forced” into buying lists ( and of course they are not ) is this because their pull strategies did not quite work out? I would hope that there is a 5 reasons to purchase an email list blog forthcoming to provide balance?

  2. Mark says:

    Hi John, thanks for your comment!

    In my 7+ years of working in Email Marketing I have never come across a company who has had good results from purchasing a list – maybe that is just my luck I guess.

    If you have stats to prove me otherwise I would love to see them; but this post was written on my experience with clients I have worked with who have purchased lists for their Email Marketing Strategy, and most have not worked out.

    I am always open to suggestion, and have always been but as above I feel it is imperative to build you own data list naturally rather than to purchase a list, the reports of these campaigns talk for themselves.

  3. Thanks Mark

    It is not luck or lack of, it’s just using the right list at the right time with the right content. That will get results. It’s hard to say what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ as it depends on the barometer or metrics of success for each individual campaign. Is it brand awareness? Is it to sell out an event. There are many success stories of email marketing from purchased lists and we have many clients who could comment on that whether that by financial ROI or hitting their set target.

    Purchasing email marketing lists is a skill which needs experience – you have to know and have tested all the suppliers and understand how they work and where they sit. A lot of companies just google something, get sold too and then wonder what has happened or worse still, use a cowboy who sells 1m records for £500!

    Of course, it’s imperative to build a list naturally and that will obviously outperform any cold purchased list. There is nothing in that statement as its by definition. A natural list will probably have some sort of brand affinity. This does not detract from purchased lists or doubts their use and pedigree. It’s just like saying that a bike is faster than walking – well…yes. There are however times when you may need to purchase a list to achieve a goal that natural pull lists simply cannot.

    Will a purchased list beat ( opens/clicks/response/return ) an organically grown naturally nurtured slowly obtained, inbound driven, content consuming, evolved over time list for any company? Erm… No.

    Can you launch a product/brand/offer nationwide to your desired target market via email on day 1 with your organic list? No, as one doesn’t have one. There are hundreds of other scenarios where a purchased list has value has well.

    I only recently purchased a 3 office desks from a company that email marketed to me from a purchased list with a great offer. I wonder what my lifetime value of a customer would be to them.

    It’s imperative to win customers, to look after customers, to do a good job for people, whether that is by purchased lists, built lists, PPC, advertising, newspapers whatever is down to the individual company and audience. There is no hard and fast rules that says x > y.

    PS – it’s nice to get a genuine comment and have a debate as opposed to deleting spam isn’t it!

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