On paper, a purchased email list can sound like a good idea.
Maybe you’re just getting started with email marketing, or perhaps the list of email addresses you already have has started to go stale.
You have money to spend on marketing. What you don’t seem to have is the time to grow your list on your own.
If someone else is going to do the hard work of collecting email addresses for you, why not take advantage?
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
Do you like to receive emails from a business or organization you don’t know? If you see an unfamiliar name in your inbox, are you likely to open and read it? Or do you send it to your trash?
If you’re like most people, you’re protective of your inbox. And while you might not report every unwanted email as spam, you probably don’t think too highly of businesses or organizations that send you email without your permission.
This doesn’t take into account the other setbacks of purchasing a list, like:
1. Purchased lists put you at risk of breaking the law (which can result in steep fines for your business).
The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, which went into effect in July 2014, requires you to obtain and document consent before sending commercial emails to Canadian consumers. In the US, the CAN-SPAM legislation also includes some strict regulations around the right and wrong ways to collect email addresses.
2. Purchased lists aren’t allowed by reputable email marketing services
Email marketing services, including Constant Contact, do not allow you to use purchased lists. That’s because we maintain a strong anti-spam policy to ensure that our customers are only sending emails to people who have expressed interest in receiving them.
3. Purchased lists put you at risk of higher spam reports and unsubscribes (and lower open rates)
Not recognizing the name of the sender is one of the biggest reasons people choose to unsubscribe from marketing emails. It’s also one of the main reasons people mark email they receive as spam.
What gets people to open? According to a recent analysis of Constant Contact customer emails, businesses that send personalized emails receive higher open rates than those that send broad messages to their entire list.
Just as the contacts from a purchased list won’t know about your business, you’ll know even less about them. Creating targeted messages from a purchased list is nearly impossible.
What can you do?
The first thing to remember is that even the most time-starved businesses do have the time and resources to build an email list.
It starts with having the right tools to help you collect email addresses in all the places people interact with your business. If you’re a Constant Contact customer, there are three tools you can try out right away:
- In-store: Use a paper sign-up sheet or use Constant Contact’s Text-to-Join feature to allow new customers to sign-up from a mobile device.
- Website: Embed a sign-up form right on your website, so that new visitors can easily subscribe.
- Social Media: Include a link to your online sign-up form to your social bios and add Constant Contact’s Join My Mailing List app to your Facebook Page.
The benefit of these tools is that they work on their own. You’re already putting in work to increase traffic online and at your business; these tools will help you take advantage of that extra traffic with little extra work.
You can also take things a step further and create a special offer for new subscribers.
Check out this example from needlepoint shoe company, By Paige, which offers a 10% off coupon to new subscribers.
After signing up, new subscribers receive an automatic welcome email with the coupon, along with a follow-up reminder message.
By Paige founder, Paige Andrews, explains:
“We definitely noticed people using the coupon. We’re not just adding new sign-ups, it’s also helping to drive sales.”
If you do have marketing budget you want to invest in building your list, there are options for reaching potential subscribers without purchasing an email list.
Facebook advertising is a great example of this. With a tool like Constant Contact’s Facebook Advertising feature, you can promote your email on Facebook to reach users who haven’t Liked your Page and aren’t subscribed to your email list.
This will not only get your great content in front of thousands of potential customers but — by adding a link to your sign-up form to your email — you’ll have an easy way to capture new leads for your business.
This is something that worked well for DineBestForLess.com. They used Facebook Advertising to promote their emails and attracted hundreds of new email subscribers in less than two months.
Build your email lists the right way
Email marketing relationships can be one of your most valuable marketing assets. In fact, 91 percent of consumers want to receive emails from the organizations they do business with.
Building these relationships starts with making sure you have permission before adding someone to your email list.
Get started today! Check out our Ultimate Guide to Building a Massive Email List.
How one sided is this article? Let’s get some agenda’s down.
I have an agenda as I work in the list industry – there I said it. Would Constant Contact now put forward their email broadcasting agenda. CC’s terms prohibit the use of purchased opt-in lists because it costs more to send to them – you need a higher level of infrastructure and this doesn’t fit with CC’s model – fair enough. There are plenty of reputable providers out there who do cater for this.
There are blanket statements in this telling ‘us’ what we think. CC may not like purchased lists but there are plenty of successful business that do who get fantastic ROI with timely, targeted relevant communication and there are plenty of people who respond and are thankful of these emails. To say that everybody hates them etc – is wrong and too far reaching.
Acknowledge different sides to the debate – both have pro’s and con’s and state your commercial agenda. If everybody had organically built lists going through your plaform, your mail reputation is improved and you get better results – CC looks better. Not all companies have the time or investment to organically build a list. I recommend that all companies do manually grow their database but do not rule out opt-in data that is legally and ethically compliant.
This article is a like an SEO company who doesn’t do PPC saying that PPC is a quick fix, not worth your time and you should stick to the slower longer process of organic SEO. We all know that both have their place and you should’t TELL business in carte blanche manner what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s down to the individual business.
Excellent points, John! I completely agree.
Sending cold email campaigns should complement your marketing efforts and not be the only marketing tactic used.
At Clickback we’ve helped countless B2B companies turn their cold contacts into warm leads, grow their business and improve their ROI.
Cold emailing is a great way to keep your sales and marketing funnel full of quality leads.