Are you considering buying an email list? Sounds super simple, right? You simply buy a list of email addresses and begin sending marketing emails to people. However, the issue is that the time savings you get from not building an email list organically may harm your reputation, bottom line, and more. This is why you should never, ever buy an email list. And never means never!

Here’s Why You Should Never Buy an Email List

Despite how tempted you may be, trust us when we say: buying email lists for marketing your business is bad news.

Sending Unsolicited Emails May be Unlawful

Though it is not illegal to purchase an email list, it may be against the law to use the list to send sales messages to recipients who have not agreed to receive correspondence from you. The recipient’s local area determines the laws, so you may want to do some research.

The truth is that some business owners don’t care about such laws and are willing to risk it anyway. However, what does this say to the potential client who received your email? It clearly tells them that your business does not respect their privacy or rights. And this is probably not the first impression you’re hoping to make.

Beware even if the broker claims the email contacts have opted into advertising messages because you can never be too sure. Consider this one moment – how many people do you know who would just give their information away to receive mass marketing emails?

Moreover, when you buy email lists, you never know how the emails were collected. Most of the time, these addresses have been harvested using bots that crawl the internet looking for email addresses.

Untailored, Irrelevant Content Equals Poor Results

Relevance is vital for effective marketing. In today’s world, the best way to make your emails stand out in the recipient’s inbox is to send valuable content to your subscribers. Or in other words, each email should contain helpful content geared toward the audience’s interests.

However, buying an email list means you know nothing about the demographics of the recipients. So, there’s no way for you to determine what information would be relevant or if the people are even prospects. Essentially, you’re messaging complete strangers, which makes it nearly impossible to add value to their inboxes.

Since you have no way of learning this information, there’s a great possibility that your messages will be ignored or, worse, marked as spam. These contacts that you paid for will quickly unsubscribe from your communication and delete you from their inbox.

Email Lists May Damage Your Brand Reputation

Be honest. Do you like receiving unsolicited emails? Probably not, even from sources you know and trust. When people receive emails from unknown companies or newsletters they never signed up for, it can be even more annoying.

As we mentioned, when you buy an email list, there’s no way to know if the recipients are even part of your target audience. Will they be interested in what you have to offer? Just remember that when you buy mailing lists, most, if not all, of the people will be unaware of your brand. Sending unsolicited emails can lead to people associating your brand and company with spam.

We don’t recommend that anyone buy a mailing list ever. However, this is even more true if you own a larger brand. The key here is to keep in mind that it takes time to build a large brand, so be patient and don’t take this shortcut that may damage your brand reputation.

Restricted Access to Reputable Email Marketing Services

For several reasons, top email marketing services do not allow companies to use purchased email lists on their server. First, email platforms do not want to promote spammers or spammy activity. Spammers are well-known for buying mailing lists, but reputable email service providers do not want to help spammers at all, not even a little bit.

Furthermore, purchased email lists also threaten the email marketing platform’s shared IP addresses, which are crucial for these companies to provide their clients with exceptional service.

Harms the Deliverability Rate

If an email client flags your message as spam, your email’s IP will also be flagged. In a worst-case situation, your email IP can get blacklisted. When this occurs, your future emails, even those going to willing recipients, will most likely end up in the spam folder. Talk about a disastrous outcome for your brand!

We should also mention that when you buy mailing lists, you risk getting caught in “spam honey pots” or “spam traps.” If you’re unfamiliar, these inactive addresses are purposely left on display by email clients to attract spammers. Given that no one can use the address to sign up, it’s obvious the sender is spam.

Here’s What You Can Do Instead of Buying an Email List

No doubt building an email list organically will take time, but the return on your investment will be much larger than if you simply buy an email list. Capturing high-quality subscribers who show interest in your products is the best way to drive sales through emails.

Be sure to obtain consent for each address added to the list by sticking to authentic lead-generation techniques. For example, create email signup forms to place on your social media and website. And take this process a step further by enacting a double opt-in process. In this, the person opts in on your site and then clicks a link in a confirmation email to confirm their subscription. This step serves two purposes: to confirm the person’s consent and to verify that the address is valid and in use. One easy way to ensure this works is to offer them incentives in exchange for their email.

Finally, provide value in each email you send to ensure people actually open and click on your website. It’s wise to use contact segmentation to build targeted lists based on needs, interests, and preferences. Once you do this, you can then send relevant offers and content to each list.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, never, ever buy an email list. Put forth the time and effort to do it the right way, and you will more than reap the benefits one day!


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