EMail Thursday – Pros and Cons of List Buying



Welcome to Your Daily Concept – Get smarter everyday. Today is email Thursday.

List purchasing is something I am frequently asked about by our clients who are interested in expanding their database of potential customers to communicate with. Today, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of list buying and the effects it can have on your reach, your brand, and your reputation.

Usually, I am a fan of renting things. Cars, skiis, tools and day laborers to do the jobs I’m too lazy to do. And usually, my mantra is “it’s a rental, don’t be gentle.” Especially when it comes to cars, there’s little out there that gets my blood pumping more than hammering on a rental car knowing that the extra $10 I spent on insurance is more like a get-out-of-jail-free card from the rental agency. As a side note, I would avoid purchasing a car that was once a rental. Not a good idea.

Anyway, many of our clients inquire about renting a list. Let’s look at it from their perspective for a minute:

  • I want more names to send emails to.
  • If I can rent prequalified names on a list that is continuously updated, wouldn’t that give me the upper-hand over my competitors who rely solely on organic list growth?
  • I don’t see the harm. If these people aren’t interested, they can unsubscribe.
  • If I can get X number of additional sales, the money spent on the list will be worth it.

To be fair, these are all valid points and ones that can be argued from the point of view of someone who is quite keen on growing the size of their list.

So for a minute, put yourself in the place of the person whose name has been sold to a list broker, unbeknownst to you.

You wake up one beautiful Tuesday morning and while waiting for your coffee to brew, you check your email. 8 in your inbox… must have been some serious Facebook activity and humorous forwards last night since you NEVER have that many personal emails that early in the morning. You open the inbox and take your first sip of coffee.

  • First email: Subject- I am your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend. Click SPAM.
  • Second email: Subject – Buy Viagra online from Canada and Save! Free Sample! Click SPAM
  • Third Email: Subject – Please Confirm the Shipment of DeLL- Laptop Immediately and Complete Requirements Click SPAM
  • Fourth Email: I missed You Last Night, Sorry For Being Late! Click SPAM

The list goes on, but I don’t need to as I think you get the point. Although some of the emails in your inbox may be from companies that could be of interest to you, unless you know who sent it and why it landed in YOUR inbox, there’s a good chance you’ll click SPAM and move on. Now, for every user who clicks “SPAM”, a complaint is registered with your ISP against the offending sender. If you use yahoo mail, Yahoo registers the complaint the sender. If enough people click SPAM, the sender will no longer be able to deliver messages to the inbox of ANY Yahoo mail user.

So imaging you rent a list and send an unsolicited email to 10,000 users who have never heard of your business, who have not been identified as interested in YOUR business or what you can offer them. You send them an email out of the blue and what might they do? That’s right… hit SPAM. This is extremely bad for you as it will damage your ability to deliver emails to inboxes of your REAL customers. The last thing you want is to lose existing customers because you tried to reach out to thousands of “prequalified” leads.

So who are the victems? Well, everyone actually. Your existing customers suffer from not being able to receive your emails in their inbox because you’ve been marked as a SPAMMER, the people behind the email addresses you rented whose inbox is now flooded with SPAM, the ISP’s and ESP’s who spend untold thousands, maybe even millions on maintaining deliverability to ensure that your emails get through and that SPAM doesn’t. Microsoft said that “Spam makes up close to 100 percent of all e-mail traffic on the Internet” and that “97 percent of e-mails sent were destined for the junk folder, though most never made it to their destinations thanks to server-side filtering.” Ouch.
So here’s the long and short of it: when it comes to renting or buying a list, don’t do it. Rather, focus your time and efforts on organically growing your list by increasing opt-ins on your site with a prominent newsletter sign-up. Spend money on increasing traffic to your site through SEO and PPC and capture and enrapture your visitors pushing them into the sales funnel via an incentivized newsletter to deliver useful and desirable information. Maintain your communicaiton with those users and bring them back by keeping them satisfied. They become evangelists for your brand and the entire process builds and build. Organic growth is not only the safest, but it’s the cheapest and most effective way to get highly-qualified users into your sales funnel.

Whatever you do, don’t become a spammer. The damage you can do to your brand and your reputation can be expensive and timely to undo. And if your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend DID email you, hit her up through Facebook. We all know that Facebook and SPAM are never uttered in the same sentence…

At Exclusive Concepts, we offer Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing for our clients who are looking to maximize their revenue through this unique and ever-growing channel. If you are looking for a way to get a lot more revenue from your e-mail approach, consider our Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing service to augment your other marketing efforts. We’ll show you how it works if you’d like – just give us a call at 800-504-4324.

Thank you for listening – have a wonderful Email Thursday!