Direct Mail Marketing

Is Buying Email Lists a Good or Bad Idea?

July 5, 2022

Marketers would likely leverage an email blast to raise brand awareness or expand the client base. Fair enough, it is the cheapest channel to provide e-commerce websites with a consistent inflow of new unique visitors. Besides, mass mailings can be easily automated, scaled, and targeted.

But is it possible to instantly get email lists of warm leads and put them into work without bulk email scraping? Actually, yes. There are specific resources where you can purchase client databases to import directly into a CRM system.

Although this idea might seem enticing, you should remember that implementing the purchased list into an existing mailing campaign requires a refined approach. Otherwise, the out-of-hand mass mailing can cause you a heap of trouble. So first, learn how to recognize a trustworthy provider and whether the investment is worth it.

How to Buy Email Lists Wisely? Make Sure the Vendor is Competent

To pick email list sellers that can provide a high-quality database, you need to check how prudently they research, segment, and verify client data. See if the vendor's site represents offers clearly. Also, look for an informative FAQ section and comprehensive price list.

Remember that buying an email database is mostly a hit-and-miss case, no matter how convincing sales pitches appear. Therefore, word of mouth would be the best guide for you. Search for the case studies and adhere to expert conclusions before deciding.

Are Purchased Lists Highly Targeted? How to Know They're Valid?

Most brokers state that their paid lists entirely consist of targeted subscribers. There is some truth to that, as they collect records using lead magnets. For instance, a list-trading company can use a news subscription letter or trial premium subscription offer to incentivize consumers to fill out forms. This way, paid list providers obtain detailed lead profiles with geodata, demographic attributes, and phone numbers.

However detailed the contact list might be, it doesn't mean that purchased email addresses are 100% valid. Devious brokers can push out-of-date contact lists for years without updates and verification. So you must always check the address list with an email validation tool.

We've recently overviewed how simultaneous integration of TowerData, Inkit direct mail tool, and Iterable can boost your omnichannel marketing productivity through data enrichment. Visit the article to learn more about this integration.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy Email Lists?

The pricing depends on several factors:

  • B2B/B2C purposes. On average, vendors charge $0.7 - 0.8 per business client's name and $0.25 - $0.3 per consumer.
  • How precise is targeting? The more details each contact has, the more costly the entire list will be.
  • Demographic and geographic features. Geographic attributes are usually included in base costs.

Remember that instead of asking search engines "where to buy email lists cheaply?" you better look for user ranks and feedback to clarify what list brokers are worth dealing with.

Renting vs. Buying

If you purchase an email database, you'll own inbox addresses, whereas contacts from the rented list remain undisclosed. On such occasions, the list-purchasing company will be your intermediary in sending emails to addresses that match your campaign goals.

Although it might seem a shortcoming since you won't be able to retarget customers, rented lists are proven effective for special promotions dedicated to specific dates and events. They are much more narrowly targeted, so their cost is higher than purchased ones.

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The Pitfalls of Running Campaigns With Paid Email Addresses

When putting paid email databases into work, be ready for many hidden traps. At best, you may deteriorate overall email deliverability if you've bought dirty cheap mailing lists compiled from invalid inboxes. At worst, you risk compromising your IP and getting a penalty from email service providers.

On top of that, you may face other issues:

  • Customers' annoyance with out-of-place mailings. It's unlikely that a letter from a company they haven't ever heard about could interest recipients. Remember that they've opted in for mailings from the list-purchase service, not directly from you.
  • Honeypots and spam traps. Blocklist organizations fight spam senders by leaving fictional inboxes for list sellers to collect. And if you accidentally use one of these, your sender score will suffer.
  • Trusted email automation services may turn down paid lists. Of course, you can try to leverage a non-reputable service, but it just won't reach recipients because its IP is likely already categorized as spam-sending. 

Is It Generally Legal to Buy Email Lists?

You won't get penalties for purchasing lists, but it is illegal to send unsolicited messages. According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and CAN-SPAM Act, the use of paid lists violates the principles of explicit opt-in.

This explicitness implies two compulsory requirements. First, your letter template must have an "Unsubscribe" button. Second, the checkbox on a site where a person puts a tick to subscribe to mailings shouldn't be pre-checked. Obviously, you cannot fulfill the second requirement when you run bulk sending with a prepaid list. 

So What's the Bottom Line?

Considering all the complications and legal consequences your company might face utilizing prepaid lists, we advise you to weigh the pros and cons discreetly. The winnings of sending unsolicited newsletters and adverts are mostly elusive. These mailings never perform as well as those addressed to people who engaged with your business before. Therefore, it's nearly impossible to attain a sufficient response rate and decent ROI if you try to use purchased lists in existing email marketing.

So maybe you need to narrow the efforts into a more promising direction? For example, you can prefer direct mail automation and use offline contact details instead of paid email lists.

Inkit Send as a White-Hat Booster of Your Client Reach Enablement

That would be quite a relief to know that your advertising message won't end up in a spam folder, right? The great thing is that it never happens with direct mail. Statistics show that nearly 70% of mailed adverts get opened, and they outperform the response rate of digital marketing channels with 4,4% against 0.12%.

Inkit Send is a robust direct mail automation tool that will immensely improve the overall payoff of your omnichannel marketing activities. It's an API that integrates with your current CRM to automatically print and deliver custom mail based on user interactions across channels. For example, a customer may automatically get a discount postcard after adding a product to favorites.

With direct mail, you can use the address data you already have, rely on USPS lists, or send mail by a ZIP code. You can also purchase a ready-made mailing list, but there are so many ways to gather reliable addresses that you won't have to.

Join Inkit Send now with a free trial to launch your first automated direct mail campaign.

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
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