If you’re starting out in email marketing, or looking to expand your reach, it might be tempting to purchase an email marketing list. This might seem like a quick solution, which it is. But an effective one? Definitely not.
Despite the consent guidelines outlined by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), I’ve found that some marketers and new businesses still opt to use lists which they have purchased or obtained through other means (from social media, phone books or newspaper ads).
I can see the allure of quickly getting your hands on a large number of new “leads”. But there are good reasons why you shouldn’t purchase an email marketing list or gather contacts through third parties.
Poor return on investment
Let’s look at the cost breakdown and ROI if you purchase an email marketing list or use a third party list.
If you purchase an email marketing list, you might spend anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Obtaining a list through other means, like public listings, the cost takes the form of you or your team’s time. And we all know time is money.
The initial purchase cost isn’t all there is to consider. Costs incurred from your Email Service Provider to send and store your contacts are another factor.
All up, you’re likely to spend a minimum of around $500 to send emails to the contacts in this list. Contacts who have in no way indicated their interest in your company. This is the primary reason campaigns to non-opt-in lists perform so poorly. If you purchase an email marketing list, you can expect lower open and click rates, and higher unsubscribe and complaint rates.
No-one reads your emails
A major factor to consider when deciding to purchase an email marketing list is the low open rates.
From my experience within the industry, I’ve found that less than 8% of the contacts in your purchased or third party list will open your emails.
And of that 8%, less than 2% will generally click on a link.
And of the 2% who do click, most of those are clicking on the unsubscribe link.
Given that very few people (if any) click on your call to action, you’re unlikely to see a good return on investment when sending to a purchased or third party list.
You may harm your sender reputation
To run a successful email marketing campaign, you first need your emails to land in your recipient’s inbox.
But if you send to purchased or third party lists, you’re likely damaging your sender reputation.
If your sender reputation is damaged, it means that your emails are going to be filtered to the junk or spam folders instead of the inbox, if they get delivered.
You might even be listed on a blacklist, meaning that your details are placed on a registry as being spam.
It is a costly and time-consuming exercise to repair a damaged sender reputation, which is why you should always adhere to marketing best practice and refrain from activities which are likely to damage your reputation.
People might report you for spam
When you purchase or obtain a third party list, the contacts you acquire have not heard of you or subscribed to receive emails from your company.
In the best case scenario, these people might just delete your email or unsubscribe.
They might also mark your email as spam. This registers a complaint with their ESP, which puts a red flag against your sender details – enough red flags and your details might be blacklisted by the ESP.
In the worst case scenario, the recipient might report your company to ACMA. This can result in a fine for your company if you are found to be in breach of the spam act.
Vision6’s in-built spam compliance tools can help avoid these issues.
Most ESPs won’t allow non-opt-in lists
Lastly, another good reason not purchase an email marketing list or use third party lists is because most ESPs won’t actually allow you to use them with their product.
Don’t purchase an email marketing list. Grow your list the right way
After reading the points above you probably don’t want to use a non-opt-in list. But you might be left wondering how you can grow your list and acquire new leads.
Well, the good news is that there are so many ways that you can acquire new quality subscribers who are genuinely interested in hearing from you.
To get started check out this list of 24 easy ways to grow your email list like a pro.
There is always more to learn about growing your list and industry best practice.
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