Building a solid list of contacts is perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming part of email marketing. Without a good list of prospects, the return for all your hard work could be quite low. That may be why so many email marketers take shortcuts – like buying an email list.
At first glance, buying a ready-made email list may seem like a smart move, but this is one shortcut that can have serious and long-lasting repercussions.
If you are new to email marketing and thinking about buying an email list to get your business started, it might be best to reconsider.
Any benefit you derive from such a move will be temporary, but the damage could well be permanent.
1. You kill your email reputation
Purchased email lists are often terribly out of date, resulting in a high bounce rate and the potential problems that rate can bring. In addition to those old addresses, the email list may contain a large number of fake addresses, making the bounce rate even worse. A high bounce rate can be a red flag to your provider, you may brand you as a spammer or at least a problem sender.
These email lists also tend to generate a great deal of spam. That volume of spam can in turn generate a large number of complaints, as well as numerous blocked sendings and bounces. All of these factors impact your email/IP reputation. The low quality of those purchased lists causes your deliverability to decrease and your emails fail to reach their intended recipients.
2. The Risk of Blacklisting
Using a purchased email list can also put your company at risk from blacklisting. If you find out that your IP address has been blacklisted, you can solve that issue by asking your provider for a different IP address, or you could use another email delivery service. Instead, if your domain name gets blacklisted you will definitely have more problems, since you will not get any benefits from switching IP addresses or email providers. All you can do is take some specific steps to have the blacklisting removed. Also note that the blacklist removal process varies depending on the blacklist you are on.
3. Getting Branded as a Spammer
Using a purchased email list could even get you branded as a spammer – something that could mean death to your online business before you even get started.
According to Spamhaus “No legitimate company will ever sell you a list of ‘opt-in’ email addresses. Anyone selling you lists of ‘opt-in’ email addresses is very simply a spam outfit. If you have been sold a list of email addresses which the seller promises are ‘opt-in,’ you have been conned.” Building your list organically (better using a double opt-in process) through your own hard work is the best way to avoid this problem.
4. Wasted Time
Time is money in the business world, and purchasing an email list could lead to a lot of wasted time – and money. List marketers often do not mention that the lists they sell generally have low response rates. In addition, many of the emails you send will likely get blocked by spam filters – so your carefully crafted messages may never be seen at all.
5. Legal Repercussions
The CAN SPAM Act allows marketers to send mass emails to people they do not know, but those mass mailings can still have legal repercussions, especially if you are using a commercial email list. The CAN SPAM Act also allows recipients to report suspicious messages as spam, and a high number of those responses can result in legal trouble for yourself and your company.
Before you decide to use a list full of unknown contacts, just consider that the CAN SPAM Act authorizes fines of up to $16,000 for each violation. Other countries do not allow mass mailings at all, so international businesses could be even more at risk.
6. There Are Better Options
Last but not least, there are better – and cheaper – ways to accomplish the same goal. You do not have to spend a ton of money on an email list that will not get you the results you want. Simply asking visitors for their email addresses works much better, and is much simpler.
There are many legitimate ways to create and grow a house email list. It may take longer but those contacts will have a much better long-term value as you build your business and your brand.