You need people who you can email, and you need them quickly. Oh, and if you could get them pretty cheap, that'd be great, too.

That's the mindset many marketers find themselves in when they're on the phone with a list-purchasing company: We need new people to email to support our sales team. Acting on that moment of desperation, however, can cause more harm than good.

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Yes, thousands of contacts are a credit card swipe away, but youremail marketingprogram — a critical part of a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy — can seriously suffer. Curious why buying email lists is a legitimate email marketer's kiss of death? Read on.

Plus, we'll give you a list of squeaky-clean and effective ways to build your email marketing list without simply buying one.

Methods of Acquiring an Email List

Before we get into the pitfalls of buying email addresses, let's review three ways marketers are currently able to acquire their email lists:

1. Buy an email list.

You work with a list provider to find and purchase a list of names and email addresses based on demographic and/or psychographic information. For example, you might purchase a list of 50,000 names and email addresses of people who live in Minnesota and don't have children. There are several sustainable ways to use email marketing to grow your business. This isn't one of them.

2. Rent an email list.

Also working with a list provider, you identify a segment of people to email — but you never actually自己的the list. As such, you can't see the email addresses of the people you're emailing, so you must work with the provider to send out your email.


Someone voluntarily gives you their email address either online or in-person so you can send them emails. They may pick certain types of email content they wish to receive, like specifically requestingemail alerts when new blog posts are published. Opt-in email addresses are the result of earning the interest and trust of your contacts because they think you have something valuable to say.

When it comes to rented or purchased lists, you may come across vendors or marketers who say, "This email list is totally opt-in!" This means the people on the list opted in to email communication from someone at some point in time — the list provider, for example — by填写表格或者checking a box to receive more content from that provider.

“选择”名单不意味着什么,然而,是email recipients opted in to receive email communications fromyourbusiness. This is a critical distinction, and the next section of this post will go into more detail on why this type of "opt-in email list" (should be read with air quotes) is not a good idea for your email marketing program.


在法律上,世界上大多数电子邮件营销人员都需要接收者opt outof emails they no longer want to receive. Contacts must be able to do this directly in the email message. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data privacy act that doubles down on the选择参加这种关系的一面 - 发现购买的电子邮件列表根本不合规。

GDPR has revamped numerous aspects of a digital marketer's use of customer data throughout Europe — on a website, in social media, and via email. You don't even have to work in Europe to fall under the act's jurisdiction; if your recipients live in Europe, they're protected by GDPR.

现在,GDPR管理了整个欧洲的所有电子邮件通信,在您的电子邮件模板中添加了一个选择退出选项,不再削减它。根据此行为,您必须有explicit consent从您的联系人发送电子邮件。在这种情况下,明确表示复选框必须单击以选择电子邮件订阅时,当他们在您的网站上看到它时不会预先检查。而且,当您购买电子邮件列表时,尚未提供此选项的人 - 在发送第一封电子邮件之前,您将不符合GDPR。

Want some non-legal reasons to avoid the purchased email list? We've got those as well, below.

2. Reputable email marketing services don't let you send emails to lists you've bought.

If you're usingemail marketing software或计划将来,您会发现知名的公司会坚持使用选择加入电子邮件列表。您可能会说:“我只使用不可申请的电子邮件营销供应商。”

las,Esps上shared IP addressesthat don't require customers to use opt-in email lists typically suffer poor deliverability. Why? One customer's ill-gotten email address list can poison the deliverability of the other customers on that shared IP address. You're going to want to hitch your wagon to the light side of the email marketing force if you want your emails to actually get into inboxes.

3. Good email address lists aren't for sale.

Unless your company is in the middle of a merger or acquisition, you're not going to come across a high-quality email list you can purchase. If it's for sale, it means the email addresses on it have already been deemed non-responsive or unqualified for marketing outreach.

While bought email addresses might've at one time had value, they've likely been spammed to the ends of the earth — otherwise, they'd still be in the desiring hands of the company selling them. Think about it, would you sell or share the email addresses of those who have voluntarily opted in to receive email from you?



But let's say the email addresses you're looking to purchase werenottaken from another site but rather earned legitimately. Email list purchase and rental companies might tout that those lists are "opt-in." Sounds great, right?

Not really. Email addresses that belong to an "opt-in" list have opted to receive emails from, say, the list-purchasing company — notyourcompany. Even if the opt-in process includes language like, "Opt-in to receive information from us, or offers from other companies we think you might enjoy," the fact is the recipient doesn't recall having a prior relationship withyou, specifically. This makes it highly likely for the recipients to mark you as "spam" when you arrive in their inboxes. Hey, if they don't recognize you or remember opting into communications from you ... can you blame them?

After all, the most prevalent type of spam is advertising-related email — accounting for approximately36% of all spam messages.

This takes us to our next point.

5. You'll harm your email deliverability and IP reputation.

Did you know there are organizations dedicated to combating email spam? Thank goodness, right? They set up a little thing called a honeypot, which is a planted email address that, when harvested and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer. Similarly, things called spam traps can be created to identify spammy activity; they're set up when an email address yields a hard bounce because it's old or no longer valid, but still receives consistent traffic. Fishy, eh?


If you purchase a list, you have no way of confirming how often those email addresses have been emailed, whether the email addresses on that list have been scrubbed for hard bounces to prevent identifying you as a spammer, or from where those email addresses originated.

Are you really willing to risk not only your email deliverability, but also the reputation of your IP address and your company? Even if you find the light after purchasing or renting email lists and decide to only email those who have opted in with your company, it'll take you months (or maybe years) toget your Sender Score up并重建IP的声誉。

6. You can come across as annoying.


If someone didn't ask to hear from you, it doesn't mean they won't want to hear from you later. It's your job to prove to them — through有用的内容valuable offers— that they should stay up to date with your company via email. If you force your email content on anyone too early, even if you know in your bones they're a great fit for your products or services, you risk preemptively losing their trust and their future business.


Buying email lists doesn't just damage your deliverability and brand reputation — it can also put your email account at risk. Email clients like Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook don't want to be associated with accounts that recipients repeatedly flag as spam. Email service providers like AWeber go as far asimmediately closing your accountif it suspects you're sending unwanted content.

If these consequences are too daunting, we came up with some alternatives to paid email lists that’ll gain your customers’ interests.

Paid Email List Alternatives

1. Shift your outbound marketing strategy to inbound.

Buying email lists is another form of outbound marketing — it’s the method that pushes messaging out to potential customers. Not only is it costly, but it doesn’t guarantee a higher ROI as a result.

When you shift your strategy toinbound marketing, you’re repositioning your business to build brand awareness and customer relationships through content creation and social media tactics.

2. Conduct lead generation campaigns.

Lead generation是吸引前景进入您的业务并培养他们的兴趣的过程,以使他们成为客户。这可以通过诱人的呼吁行动来实现,从而实现这一目标。

Some examples of lead gen campaigns include:

  • Sharing blog posts with informational content
  • Promoting product offerings across social media channels
  • 提供产品试验或优惠券lead to your landing page


3. Show thought leadership through your content.

有了您的业务与受众分享的内容,您有能力显示thought leadership. This tactic is used in content marketing to build trust and gain credibility in your field.

To become a thought leader, your business needs to display brand helpfulness through informative content like tutorials, listicles, and other posts that help your target audience learn something new.

If you want to use both email marketing while implementing these alternatives, read on to see how to do it right.

How to Grow an Opt-In Email List for Free


生成自己选择从您那里接收内容的电子邮件联系人列表不仅符合法律法规并保护您的品牌声誉。它还为您提供了通过与新客户的真正关系来增长此列表的机会。We've already written about clever ways to go about doing this, which you can check out here. But, below are the basic best practices that have a very big bang for their buck when it comes to consistently growing an email list.

1. Create gated assets so there's a reason for people to give you their email address.

Webinars, ebooks, templates, etc. — these are all good long-form, premium content assets that people may find valuable enough to give over their email address. The more gated assets you have to put behind landing pages, the better — a wider variety of content will make it easier for you to attract a wider swath of people.

2. Create useful tools.


For example, we createdWebsite Grader— which is free to use, but prompts you to input an email address. We also took a similar approach to a more recent tool,the Blog Topic Generator.

3. Promote those gated assets on your marketing channels.

现在您有了一些可以捕获电子邮件地址的封闭资产,花费大量时间来确保世界对它们的了解。您有很多可以使用的渠道 - 社交媒体,PPC和电子邮件是常见的渠道。但是,没有人会像您的博客那样提供持久的回报。考虑这种情况:

You promote your new gated assets by blogging about subject matters related to the content assets you've created. Put CTAs that lead to the asset's landing page on every one of those blog posts.

Now let's say your blog posts get about 100 views per month, and your visitor-to-lead conversion rate on the blog is about two percent. That means you'd get two leads from a single blog post each month.

然后,假设您每个月写30篇博客文章。这意味着您一个月内将获得60个线索 - 每个博客文章中有2条。现在继续这样做一年。您在博客上所做的工作将继续全年推动潜在客户。这意味着您实际上是在4,680 opt-in contacts a month by the end of 12 months because ofthe compounding effects of blogging- 不仅仅是720个选择接触(60个线索*12个月)。

HubSpot contacts generated blogging compounding returns


Most people don't think of email as a lead- or contact-generating channel. But becausepeople forward helpful emails to colleagues or friends,它可以扩大你的数据库,如果你只是让warding or sharing email content easy for recipients. Include calls-to-action in your emails that make sharing an obvious choice for recipients, particularly with your most useful assets.

If you already have a pretty large database, you also likely have some contacts that have gone quite stale. If so, I recommend running a re-engagement campaign that can help you both scrub your list and prevent the kind of spam and IP issues I addressed earlier, as well as reawaken old contacts that might have forgotten about you, but would actually be great fits for sales.

5. Include sharing buttons in your emails.

Consider adding share buttons to your email so your email recipients can forward the emails they liked most to friends and colleagues they think would like it, too.

Have a few different buttons on your email template: separate social media buttons that produce pre-written social posts linking to a webpage version of your email, and an "Email to a Friend" button that transfers the email into a compose window so your contacts can instantly forward the message. Just make sure your email has an opt-in button so each new viewer can subscribe to more emails from you if they like what they see.

Attract Customers without Breaking the Bank

There’s already plenty of noise your business has to break through to get to your customers — so don’t let your paid email marketing efforts end in their spam box. Instead, we hope you use this article to devise a strategy to attract prospects with impressive content, assets, and tools that nurture them from leads to customer advocates.

This article was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.



最初发布于2021年11月9日7:00:00 AM,更新于2021年11月9日


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