Everywhere you turn, you hear email marketing gives you the best returns of any digital marketing method. However, attracting subscribers to your email list takes time and effort.
You may think that buying a list would save you time and effort. It’s tempting to shortcut the process of building your own list. But buying an email list brings a lot of trouble your way.
Poor Data Quality
10,000 records might sound like a great foundation for your email marketing efforts. The reality is that you end up with a list filled with data quality issues. Inaccurate emails, missing names, and other problems make the information practically useless for your company.
Failure to Comply with CAN-SPAM
Do you know how the list provider got the emails that they’re selling? If they put together the list without getting an opt-in from all parties, then they’re not following the CAN-SPAM act. If you use this list for your emails, guess what? You’re on the hook for any violations as well. It only takes a few fines from CAN-SPAM to ruin your day and your marketing budget.
Email Deliverability Problems
One element that spam filters look at when determining whether your mail is spam is the deliverability. If you have a lot of people marking your message as spam, the email filter is going adjust its behavior accordingly. You don’t have a preexisting relationship with the paid lists; it’s unlikely you’re going to offer something relevant to their needs. All the people marking your emails as spam adds up. It will be hard to get your message out there.
Violating Email Service Provider TOS
How closely did you read your email service provider’s terms of service? Many of the top companies specifically state that you can’t use a list that was paid for. After all, it’s their email servers on the line if you start taking actions similar to a spammer.
Poor Conversion Rates
Even if you get a paid list with a specific niche, you can’t truly know if you have a targeted audience at the other end. When you have a mismatch, you see poor conversion rates. Your organization also takes a reputation hit, which can further impact your conversion ratio.
Nothing stops an email list provider from selling an “exclusive list” as many times as they want. After all, how likely is it that you’ll find out someone else is using the same list? This list oversaturation results in a lot of people who are tired of their inboxes getting filled up with junk.
Author: Mike Gingerich, President of web firm Digital Hill, Co-Founder of TabSite .
Digital and Social Media Marketer, Speaker, and Business Consultant. Part geek, part marketer, total digital junkie! Seeking to add value, make the complex simple, and leave a positive impact.
Follow me on twitter: @mike_gingerich.