If you want to reach out to people, having an email list is of great benefit, and if possible to get this list for as little a cost as possible, all the better. You will find that many marketers can be caught up in excitement and possibilities when they are in discussion with a company that offer list purchasing services. We all know that we need to people to contact to make sales and this will often lead to many firms shelling out for a list which they hope will make a massive difference to their future.
The idea of there being thousands of possible contacts and buyers being just one purchase away sounds enticing but going down this road is a bad choice. If you purchase email lists, your email marketing activities will suffer. Given that email marketing is so important as part of your overall marketing strategy, you really can’t afford to make a big mistake with this aspect of your business.
If you are sitting there thinking that buy a list can’t be that bad for your business, stick around and we’ll show you why buying email lists can be so wrong for your business. We will also provide you with effective, efficient, safe and free ways to develop an email marketing list, which means that you won’t need to buy a list.
Ways to buy an email list
Before we run through the difficulties and problems that come from buying an email list, we will run through the 3 most common ways that businesses obtain email marketing lists.
Buying an email list
When you take this approach, you will partner with a list provider and you will buy names and email addresses relating to a demographic or a psychographic level of information that is important to you. As an example you may look to buy a list of 40,000 names and email addresses of people who don’t have kids and who live in Manchester.
Renting an email list
This is another approach to working with a list provider but once you name the segment you are looking for, the list owner liaises with the people on the list on your behalf. This means that you don’t see the list but you can gain access to the people on the list.
Buy an opt-in list
In this scenario, this will be where someone signs up to a list, online or in person, giving you permission to contact them. It may be that the user is able to select the sort of email content that they want to receive. This approach is the outcome of developing trust through offering something of value to the user.
With respect to buying or renting a list, you may find the selling party telling you that this is an opt-in list, which means that the contact person did sign up for an email list. However, this means that they signed up for a list with another firm or company, not yours. This should always be remembered and it is a clear distinction and a big factor in why you should develop your own list as opposed to buying or renting.
The importance of NOT buying email lists
Having outlined the three ways of accessing an email list, it is best to focus your attentions on developing your own list. One major factor for this approach is the fact that a reputable email marketing provider will not allow you to send emails to people on lists that you have bought. If you decide to get around this by using an email service provider that will allow you to send lists to bought clients, you will find that the deliverability rate of your campaign suffers.
This means that you need to focus your time and effort on developing a legitimate email marketing list to reach an audience.
You will also find that high quality and dependable email address lists are not on offer. If you are buying an email list, it is likely that you aren’t the first buyer, or anywhere near the first buyer. This means that the recipients will have received a considerable volume of emails from people they didn’t sign up for, and this means that you won’t be seen by many people on the list.
You need to remember that if someone has developed a good quality email marketing list, they will keep it to themselves. You only have to consider this from your own business viewpoint. If you had developed a great list that was helpful to your business, would you look to share this list with other firms and diminish the benefit you receive in return? No, you wouldn’t and neither would any other firm that has developed an email marketing list for a particular niche.
There is also the fact that the recipients of your email on a bought or rented list don’t know you and they don’t have a relationship with you. This means that when they receive an email from you, they don’t know who is sending them this content and they will be reluctant to take your offer seriously. The recipient is likely to mark your mail as being “spam”, which means that you don’t get to engage with recipients, but it also causes a bigger problem.
This is because every time you get marked as “spam”, the reputation of your IP suffers and eventually, this can lead to your emails being blocked. This means that the genuine emails you send can be affected and impacted on, which drags your business down. You may think that there is a short term gain from buying an email marketing list but the long term pain means that it really isn’t worth your while.
You should also be looking to develop a good reputation for your business. You don’t want to be seen as an annoying firm, and annoying firms don’t send out unsolicited emails to companies that haven’t requested content in this manner. Again, think about it from your own perspective and how you would feel about receiving emails from a company that you don’t know and which you certainly didn’t ask for. You would be annoyed and you would develop a low opinion of the company attempting to contact you in this manner. This is how recipients would feel about your business if you took this approach, and this isn’t something that you want for your business, so don’t take this course of action.
How to Grow an Opt-In Email List
Okay, you know that buying or renting an email list is wrong so how should you develop and grow an opt-in email list. Here are some best practice tips to make sure that you create a list that you can rely on and which appreciates your efforts.
Make assets that people want to own and will give you an email address for
Whether it is an ebook, a template, a webinar or some other piece of information, providing assets to your audience is a great way to get people to sign up for what you have to offer. There needs to be a give and take in the relationship because if you want people to give you something that is important to them, and of benefit to you, you need to give them something of interest. The wider range of gates assets that you can place on your landing pages, the better your chances will be of getting people to sign up for your list.
Make tools that are of benefit
Depending on your skillset and intended audience, it may be that an ebook isn’t of benefit to your audience but a tool is. If you can offer something that makes people’s life easier, they will be more than happy to provide you with an email address.
Here are 2 examples of tools created by HubSpot..
It is vital that you know your audience and that you can provide them with solutions to the problems that they have. In business, your success will largely depend on recognising problems that people face and giving them the solution, and this should be at the heart of the gift you offer when looking to obtain email addresses.
Promote these assets on your marketing channels
Once you have these assets in place, you need to spend a lot of time promoting them. You will have different channels like social media, existing email lists and PPC to utilise but when it comes to developing an email list, a blog is essential. Not only can you use keywords and boost your SEO, you can focus on very niche areas, allowing you to pinpoint exactly who you want to reach. However, there is also the fact that if you blog regularly, the exponential benefits and possibilities of expanding your list are large, so it makes sense to set up a blog and update it regularly.
Make sure you run email marketing campaigns that are creative
We all know that you need to include call to actions in your email campaigns to get people clicking but you need to be creative and focused as well. This is particularly true if you have an existing database and things are going a bit flat with respect to connecting with an audience. You really need to shake things up and get people interested in what you do again.
This is why running a re-engagement campaign where you work hard to bring people back to the fold or remove them from your list makes sense.