Email Marketing, List Growth, List Management

Email List Building: Why you should never purchase a list

Building your email list from scratch can give you a better idea of your customers interests and purchasing behaviours. On the other hand, puchasing an email list can land you in hot water. You will never know what you’re getting, they may not be spambots but guaranted they aren’t quality leads.

Despite the consent guidelines outlined by ACMA, some businesses still opt to use purchased lists. But we’re about to list the reasons why you shouldn’t gather contacts through third parties.

How to build your email lists the right way

Building an email list is an important step in any marketing campaign. While it often gets a bad wrap for being painstakingly difficult, it really doesn’t need to be overly complex. Here are some quick solutions to help you build your email list from scratch!

Use pop-up website forms

Website pop-ups are a creative way to bring movement to your webpage and also catch the attention of visitors. You can automate your pop-up to appear after a few seconds or trigger it to dsiplay on a specific landing page.

However, users have become desensitised to pop-ups which is no surprise considering how many we encounter just surfing the web. Gamifying your pop-ups can be a fun CTA that is more likely to get users to participate. Examples include a spin the wheel, mystery box, or scratch it.

Include an opt-in during checkout process

The end of the check-out process provides perfect real estate for customers to opt-in to your email list. People who opt in at this stage of the buyer journey are more likely to be highly engaged contacts.

This also opens up more opportunities to send follow-up emails with help links and resources about their new product or service. This not only helps strengthen your reputation as a brand but your relationship with your customers as well.

Link to a sign-up form in your email signature

Adding sign-up form to your email signature is a less invasive and less sale-sy way to prompt more prospects to subscribe to your promotional content. The great thing about this strategy is it looks clean and professional. Chances are, if you’ve built your email list to be genuine and intuitive, most of your contacts would want to know what your business has going on. 

Offer incentives

The trick with getting people to sign-up to your email list is giving people a reason to. Offering incentives like discounts, free shipping and a members only sale are all enitcing perks that any customer would jump on.

Promote your gated content

Gated content provides another incentive for people to sign up to your email list. If you have any resources like webinar recordings, white papers, industry reports or anything that would provide value to customers try gating these on your website.

This is an extremely effective lead tactic to draw in quality contacts. If people are genuinely interested in the content you produce they are more likely to engage in your emails.

One important thing to remember is that you’ve worked hard to build your content,  make sure you promote them on your blogs, social media pages and all your other marketing channels. 

Include a CTA in blogs

If you’re sharing your blog content in your emails and even your socials then you should be adding an opt-in CTA at the end of your blog. If users have enjoyed your content enough to stick it out to the very end then they’re more likely to want to read more. Don’t send them on a hunt to opt-in, serve a compelling CTA to them while they are actively engaged in your webiste content and your brand is still top-of-mind.

Pro-tip: Remember to keep your CTA short and snappy. You can be creative with how you format one but keep it clear and easy to use. For more helpful tips on all things CTA read our guide here

Use referral programs

A referral program encourages your subscribers to share the love with friends and family. They could look something like give a little, get a little programs, or offer discounted membership or merchandise when someone refers a friend.  

Referral programs work really well for building solid connections as people are more inclined to deal with a business that’s been recommended by other people in their circle. Either way new contacts can enjoy the perks of exclusive offers and deals while you get to grow your email list and potentially add  some new customers in the mix.  

Why should you never puchase an email list

If you’re sitting there thinking, how can you purchase an email list, we’d go as far to say it’s probably better off not knowing… 

While  email list providers make building lists seem like a breeze, they actually come with a whole host of problems. 

GDPR violation

The GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, is a European privacy act that applies to any business sending promotional messages to contacts based in the EU. 

An important thing to consider is how email list suppliers operate. Consumers may have unwittingly signed up to receive marketing notifications from a specific list provider, but they didn’t explicitly opt-in to you and your business. The word explicit being the crucial element for compliance according to the GDPR.  

Your ESP will terminate your account

It’s all fun and games until your email provider deactivates your account. Businesses that record a high amount of bounces or spam complaints will be immediately flagged by your email provider. If they deem you’re in breach of spam laws they can deactivate your account, no questions asked.

Poor return on investment

While you’re list may have seemingly grown by 100,000 overnight, the breakdown of this bought list is likely to be a mix of spambots, dead emails and inactive users.

Your blowing all your marketing budget on contacts that have in no way indicated their interest in your company. This is the primary reason campaigns to non-opt-in lists perform so poorly. The only result to come from a purchased list will be lower engagement rates, and a higher amount of unsubscribes and complaints.

No one reads your emails

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.

Prot-tip: If you’ve got this issue (or high bounce rates threatening your sender reputation) it may be a good idea to do some spring cleaning of your email database. Take a page from the Vision6 book and start building a healthy email list.  

You may harm your sender reputation

To run a successful email marketing campaign, you need your emails to land in your recipient’s inbox.

If you continue to send to purchased or third-party lists, you’re likely damaging your sender reputation in the process. This means that your emails are going to be filtered to the junk or spam folders, never to be seen.

It is a costly and time-consuming exercise to repair a damaged sender reputation, which is why you should always adhere to email marketing best practices and refrain from activities which are likely to damage your reputation.

Increased spam complaints

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 popular servers like gmail, outlook and bigpond.

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.

Data you need for your email lists

With Australia’s recent run of data breaches, it’s no surprise we’ve become more cautious when sharing our personal information. Which means brands need to be more transparent about where data is going and what it’s being used for.

Beyond that you need to know where to draw the line. Ask too little and miss out on personalisation opportunities, ask too much and you’ll trigger red flags. Here’s a list of data points that usually don’t warrant too much concern for users:

  • Email
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Gender
  • Location (country)
  • Occupation
  • Industry
  • Role
  • Professional training level/education
  • Previous customer

Pro-tip: Consider ranking the quality of your subscribers based on how much data you have on them. This sets your business up for more intuitive results that you can tailor into more relevant and personal marketing messages for each contact in your email list. 

Don’t purchase an email marketing list, grow your list the right way

Building email lists with genuine and loyal connections is an effective way of maintaining your influence now and the years to come. Put in the work now and one day your email list will be full of highly engaged, quality leads. We’ve given you the rundown on how to maximise on your email list and for any new business making waves in your industry should mean being deliberate and intentional with who you connect with.

Keep learning

There is always more to learn about growing your list and industry best practice.

Stay up to date with the latest industry tips by subscribing to our newsletter at the bottom of the page.

Also check out our insights info, which is designed to help you become and email marketing pro in no time.

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