Should You Buy Marketing Lists?

There is an interesting thing about marketing, it is always changing. We recently received an inquiry from someone who wanted me to do email marketing to a list they were going to purchase on behalf of a client they had. Our heart sank.  Let me start by saying, if you are buying lists to market to your audience, stop. Stop right now. Today, there is no faster way to get blacklisted on Google than the market to an email list you do not have permission to contact.

STOP Buying Lists for Marketing

We break down the right way to contact people and why it is so important today. Here is why you should stop buying email lists.

In today’s world, privacy is really important.  Most trusted email marketing solutions like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Hubspot and more, will make the owner of the list explicitly say that they have permission to use this list for marketing purposes. You can’t even upload a new list without clicking the box that you understand you must have permission to market to the list.

Email marketing companies must be compliant with privacy laws that have been passed on a state level.  Some of the toughest laws have gone into effect in California and Georgia.

While there is not a national slew of regulations for email marketing as of today, there are plenty that have been passed on a national level. For instance, laws to protect minors and their information and the war on internet privacy continues.

Privacy laws in Europe

Tech giants must manage the laws in every country of the world. Thus, many big tech companies have prompted strict rules and email marketing. When we think of companies that must comply with privacy laws in the US and abroad, we think of business like Google and Facebook. 

The key is consent. 

If you purchase a list, individuals on the list are probably not your previous customers, I could bet that they have not signed up for your email blasts and newsletters. Thus, most digital marketing strategists will not buy lists like these from an ethical standpoint. It only takes a few people to complain to get your URL blacklisted.

Problems With Purchased Lists

What list did I get on now
  • Many of them may be BOGUS accounts, but bogus accounts don’t report you as spam either. How many times do we get an email in our account and think to ourselves “how did they get my information?” Yep, it  happens all the time, but it is not an ethical way for companies to target you.
  • People mark it as spam In fact, if enough people complain about the email the originator of the e-mail can be blacklisted from Google and other internet email providers.
  • Your open rate sucks let’s face it, you probably are not exactly happen with random spam emails going into your inbox right? We get enough emails from brands we have history with and unsubscribe from those when they spam us too.
  • Your URL can get blacklisted. A blacklist is a real-time list compiles by Google and other search engines that identify the IP addresses or domains that are known to send spam. Read more here

Don’t Waste Marketing Dollars to Buy Lists

There are more effective ways to find customers than to purchase lists. It is completely OK to do email marketing campaigns to people who have opted in to your lists. You are allowed to tell them about all your news, great deals, sales and more. Just make sure you send them things that matter, when they matter. If you open rates fall below your industry standards it may be time to consider changing the way you are doing your email marketing campaigns.

You Don’t Need to Buy Lists for Direct Mailers

Did you know you can do direct mailers through the United State Postal Service without ever having to purchase a list?  Just pick your zip codes and they do the work. Learn more about the program here: Every Door Direct Mail. This service is really inexpensive. You pick your target, they deliver with prices that are reasonable for most businesses. It saves your team hours of prep, and business usually get a discounted rate.

Need to find business in your area?  

One of our favorite tools for helping my clients find businesses in their area is LinkedIn. You can find different industries, companies of a specific size, type, locations and more on LinkedIn. Fill your funnel with the right contacts, not just any contact. Target them for the right reasons.

There are also tons of sites like Yelp and Google Maps that allow you to search a radius for a type of business you are looking for. Work smarter and your funnel will fill with real people that need what you do.

Bottom Line

If your marketing team is still telling you to buy lists, dump them. Spamming people is never ok. In addition, spending money doing it is asinine. Stop. Call us.  Contact Us. Contact anyone else. You deserve better from your marketing professionals. Don’t be the spammy guys. That is the worst.

Additional Reading:

Email Marketing BLOG

Karen Leonard
February 28, 2022

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