7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Email Marketing Lists

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Buy Email Marketing Lists

Email marketing is one of the best ways you can sell to your prospects. Research has demonstrated that it has the highest ROI for any online marketing channel, offering returns of $40 for every $1 spent. For that reason, building an email marketing list is often a priority for most businesses. Many make the decision to buy an email marketing list.

However, purchasing email marketing lists might not be the best choice for your business since several factors can cost you more than just the price of the list. Here they are:

1. CAN-SPAM Laws

It is a series of laws that determine how you can contact prospects via email for commercial reasons. Essentially, it states that you must have direct permission from the individual to communicate with them. A version of these regulations exists in most nations, in some form or another. In the United States, failure to comply with such laws can result in a $16,000 fine per email sent.

2. Email Service Providers (ESP) Don’t Like Them

If you use or intend to use an email service provider (ESP), then you will have a problem using your purchased email marketing lists. Many of them state in their terms and conditions that you can’t use purchased lists and want you to guarantee your subscribers have given you permission to contact them.

3. They Might Contain Spam Traps

Did you know that there are honeypot organizations out there? An email address is created and planted to catch those sending spam. When you send an email to this address, your email address is identified as a spam account and this information is shared. It could take months or years to restore the reputation of your IP address.

4. You Can’t Confirm the Authenticity of the Emails

When you purchase an email marketing list, you can’t determine whether or not the emails are valid, active or even relevant to your business. Sending emails to non-existent, unmonitored accounts, or to people who have no interest in your products, is pointless and a waste of your time and resources.

5. Loss of Reputation With Bought Email Subscribers

There are numerous examples of when those who have purchased a list have sent off thousands of emails and suddenly seen a significant number of unsubscribers. According to the law, you’ve got to honor that request within a reasonable amount of time. The cost of those names is, therefore, pointless. But worse, if they report that you’ve spammed them – you’ll damage your business’ reputation and could hamper your future campaigns’ deliverability.

6. No Reputable Expert Recommends Them

Speak to any expert, or read any of their blogs and you will see that they always state not to buy an email marketing list. Other strategies and tactics vary considerably according to experience and what they believe in: but no one will recommend buying an email marketing list.

7. They’re Expensive

Data is valuable, and those selling email marketing lists know this. Therefore, they are willing to charge a fortune for them. Costly lists that will provide diminishing returns, if you are lucky, are not a bargain. It is best to invest that money in campaigns to build an organic email marketing list.

A Case Study to Demonstrate the Effects of a Purchased List

Javelin Marketing, a marketing consultancy firm in the financial sector was persuaded to buy an email marketing list. They were provided with 100,000 email addresses of ‘financial advisors.’ As soon as the list was delivered, the company noticed that 5% of the addresses were not within the parameters they had set. When they sent out the first campaign, 85% of the emails bounced, clogged up their mail server and got them banned by their ESP.

The result was a $14,000 investment that provided no returns and led to further costs and unnecessary work.


Purchasing email marketing lists are not okay under any circumstances. It can result in expensive fines, loss of reputation and significant work to repair your brand image. Instead, concentrate your efforts on building quality, organic email marketing lists.

If you need help building your email marketing lists, contact Mann & Co.

Comments ( 0 )