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The 8 Evils of Buying Lists

At one point or another all marketers have a goal of growing their marketable database.

After all, email is here to stay. According to the 2015 State of Marketing Report, 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business.

Modern marketers know how to build their databases organically. Create valuable content people will be willing to give their email address up for. Promote gated content on the channels where your audience engages. Have fun with clever campaigns. Despite all our best intentions of following this formula, we are occasionally tempted to take the easy way out and buy a list to get us to the end point faster.

We need to stop that practice altogether. Here’s why: The eight evils of buying lists.

Stale or Bad Information – The information could be out of date or incorrect. I couldn’t find any stats on this but think about it. When you are forced to give up your email address, which one do you use? More often then not, it’s an email you rarely check or one you just made up.

Risk of SPAM –Since the contacts on the list haven’t raised their hands and opted in, you risk getting marked as spam and preventing your messages and communications ever getting through the inbox. Don’t forget that there are over300 vendors in business to filter through spam.

Lack of Interest – Even if you buy a list that is inclusive of your ideal buyer persona, the people on that list haven’t necessarily expressed any interest or intent to purchase your products or services. You’ll just be spraying and paying.

Risk your Email Deliverability – Repeatedly emailing bad lists may lower your sender score and get in the way of your email ever having the chance to be seen by your audience.

Falling Response Rates – When buying lists, you never know how often that list has been emailed by other vendors. Sending emails to a list you know nothing about is bound to lower your database response rates.

Angry Complaints – People don’t like to receive a surplus of emails from a company they’ve never heard of. When you buy lists, you risk receiving numerous complaints and social media rants.

It’s More than Frowned Upon – Many ESPs ban purchase or rented lists and won’t allow you to upload the list. If you check the box to confirm the list wasn’t purchased, remember there are systems in place that can catch these practices, resulting in a knock to your IP reputation.

Lower ROI – Emailing a list shouldn’t be a Hail Mary move. Sending emails to uninterested contacts on a rented list could show a lower ROI on your overall campaign performance.

We think there is a better way. Learn more about the end of Pay, Spray and Pray.


Written by

Amanda Maksymiw
June 29, 2015