By 2021, there will be 4.1 billion email users in the world, which is why many businesses choose email as their main marketing tool. You can communicate directly with your customers at little cost if you have a list of their email addresses. You can do even more automated and personalized email marketing if the email addresses are entered into HubSpot CRM.
[RELATED: Why would I want to work with a certified HubSpot Partner agency?]
However, it's important to understand the right and wrong ways of acquiring email lists. Consider the following disadvantages of purchasing email lists.
Disadvantages of Purchased Email Lists
You can buy, rent or build email lists. Although purchasing email lists may seem easy and profitable, it can be ineffective and harmful.
Lists may be of poor quality: If an email list is on sale, addresses on it could have already been used by someone. They may be unresponsive or may have erroneous, fake or outdated data. Moreover, the information could have been collected illegally.
Emails viewed as annoying and marked as spam: Purchased email lists contain email addresses of people who don’t even know of you. They might find your emails invasive and irritating.
If they mark your emails as spam, internet service providers (ISPs) will flag you. This may lower your email deliverability and sender reputation.
Addition to blacklists: Email service providers (ESPs) are cautious about purchased lists because if they use such lists, their sending reputation would be affected.
Reputable email clients insist on opt-in email lists because one customer’s bad reputation can affect others who share that IP address. Some ESPs may immediately close your account, if they suspect you of sending unsolicited content.
ISPs, free mailbox providers, and anti-spam vendors use real-time lists, called blacklists, to identify IP addresses or domains that send spam. Blacklists are helpful because around 85 percent of email sent daily is considered spam.
Spamhaus, Spamcop, Barracuda, and Invalument are some companies that specialize in maintaining blacklists.
Legal repercussions: In the US, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (the CAN-SPAM Act) protects customers from all unsolicited emails. Similarly, customers or subscribers living in Europe are protected by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policies.
Best Practices for Acquiring Opt-In Email Addresses
Organic email lists, which are lists of opted-in subscribers you build over time, increase your deliverability and sender reputation.
Collecting Email Addresses Online
- Use your website to get people to subscribe, by offering something of value. Design popups and sliders that prompt visitors to subscribe.
- Ask visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter or blog.
- Include a simple form in the sidebar of all blog posts.
- Request people to refer others using sharing buttons.
- Include compelling call-to-actions on your social media accounts and online platforms, requesting people to sign up.
- Add links to your website or blog to your activities in online groups.
- Post on other sites, offering your expertise and services.
- Create and post lead magnets on your blog and social media channels. Use some as gated assets to be provided in exchange for visitors’ email addresses.
- Offer irresistible discounts and offers. Hold contests. Ask people to enter with their email addresses.
- Promote all your efforts widely.
Collecting Email Addresses Offline
- Request people to fill out simple forms at events, such as trade shows.
- Add QR codes to printed materials like business cards.
- When people buy your products, offer to email the receipt.
- Offer discounts in exchange of email addresses.
- Ask salespeople to check if customers are willing to opt in.
What to Do if Your List is Flagged
If you are flagged and added to a blacklist, don’t panic. It might not impact your email marketing.
Contact the organization that blacklisted you, by yourself or via the ESP you use. Do what they ask to clean up your emails and lists so that you are removed from the list.
If you build opt-in email lists yourself, you might still face some issues. However, you would have higher control over them and can be sure of their quality, unlike when you buy lists. Moreover, the effort you take reflects in your marketing and eventually in your company’s growth.
Opt for Opt-In
Purchasing email lists is unethical and against best email marketing practices. Buying email addresses will put your company on a blacklist and result in broken trust between your brand and potential customers. Building relationships with your customers takes longer than simply buying an email list, but is undoubtedly worth it in the end.