Developing a targeted, marketing contact email list of potential customers takes time. It’s an ongoing process. In the beginning, when a business is looking at their nearly empty list and thinking about how long it will take to build up, and how many inbound campaigns will be necessary to do so, the temptation to take a shortcut and buy an email list is strong.
However, in our experience, email marketing with a purchased list not only provides mixed results at best, but it can actually have negative consequences for your business. We’ve seen clients do it over our objections, and they’re almost always disappointed. In short, purchased email lists can be dangerous, and here are five reasons why:
5. Poor ROI
Did you get a call trying to sell you a list out of the blue? Is it an industry index? Is it someone that sounds like they are from your next big trade show who just happens to have a list of potential customers’ email addresses?
These list vendors charge in the thousands of dollars for lists of emails that rarely show a return worth their investment. They are also almost never actually associated with the event for which they are selling contacts. Many of these emails are pulled from a dubious source, such as spyware or website contact forms crawled by bots.
Many of these “contacts” end up being out-of-date, no longer in use, or “info@” general email addresses. Also, when the recipient is active, most of the time these contacts did not opt into this list as is required by law.
This lack of valid emails paired with a large price tag makes email marketing efforts using a purchased list ineffective and costly.
4. Difficulty uploading your purchased list
Email marketing platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact are getting more and more sophisticated. This means that their algorithm for detecting fishy lists is also more complex and accurate than ever before. These companies have a vested interest in ensuring that they are able to deliver marketing emails and will actively try to block invalid, purchased lists that lack an opt-in like those mentioned above.
This means that you might pay over $1,000 dollars for a list, and then not be able to upload it to your email marketing platform of choice!
3. High bounce rates
If, somehow, you managed to get your purchased email contact list into a marketing email provider or were able to evade MailChimp’s omnivore warning, then you face the next challenge to using the expensive list: bounced emails.
A “bounced” email is an email delivered to an invalid, non-existent, or lapsed email address. Worse than simply not being delivered is the fact that both your email sending service and email hosts/providers such as Outlook, Gmail, and Thunderbird have all detected and recorded that you are sending indiscriminately. This behavior can get every email you send delivered straight to your recipients’ SPAM folder.
2. Increase likelihood of being marked as spam
Which brings us to spam! If your business sends marketing newsletters, email blasts, or email promotions using a purchased list full of people who did not opt in, the recipients are likely to mark these items as spam manually. If a large number of your emails are marked as spam, email providers will begin sorting email from your domain as spam automatically.
The previously mentioned high bounce rate is another indicator to email providers that your business is spamming, which results in being auto-sorted to spam.
Also, when Gmail and Outlook begin automatically sorting emails from your business’ domain as spam, this includes day-to-day professional emails sent by staff! It’s a real problem.
1. Being blacklisted by email providers
Worst of all, once your business’ emails are repeatedly marked as spam by contacts on unreliable lists who never signed up to receive them, your domain can be blacklisted. Blacklisting occurs when a domain repeatedly sends bounced emails, suspicious content, and unwanted messages (spam) to recipients who did not opt in. It means email providers purposefully do not deliver your messages.
Once again, this includes normal business emails sent individually by real people! This creates quite a few problems, as a blacklisted business essentially loses the ability to send emails of any kind externally. Additionally, appealing and getting removed from a blacklist is nearly impossible.
To put it simply: Just don’t do it! Nearly every other day, SBC is approached by clients with the question of whether or not to buy email contact lists. The answer is almost always the same.
Building an email contact list the right way requires developing an audience with an SEO-optimized website, publishing engaging content, or running an inbound campaign that utilizes social media or PPC advertising. You can even get signups at events using unique offers.
At Studio Brand Collective, we utilize proper, effective tactics to grow email lists and capture more business. Contact us for a free consultation!