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Lead Generation | Strategy

Purchased Email Lists: Worth the Risk?

Do you? Can you? Should you?

When it comes to purchased email lists (for marketing) the divide is oh-so-REAL. Some folks are against it vehemently: it could effectively ruin your email marketing efforts.

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Others, however, are sorely tempted by the amount of exposure you could gain with new “prospects” – and their potential purchases. When it comes to paid marketing lists, many professionals feel that “the folks on the list don’t know they need our service/product to seek it out. If we buy a list, we can reach them and let them know how it can help them.”


  • Can you purchase email lists? Yes.
  • Should you? Definitely not!
  • Will you? We hope not!

Take a look below to learn why buying email lists is bad for your marketing efforts.

1.  Legitimate email service providers don’t allow the use of purchased lists. Full stop.

They’ll ask up front when you get ready to set up your account/send out emails if your email is one that’s “opted in.” That is, the people on your marketing list asked to be put on it and they knew they would be receiving email messages from you.

2. Many email addresses on purchased lists are old, no longer work, or contain spam trap email addresses.

The folks who had those address either don’t use them at all anymore or they use them rarely. Chances are great the email will “bounce”: come back to you as “undeliverable.” A good bounce rate should be around 2 percent. If your bounce rate is 5 percent or higher, it’s a bad list.

Also, many purchased lists contain spam trap email addresses. A spam trap email is an email created by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or blacklist provider that does not belong to anyone, and therefore cannot opt into any communication. They perfectly resemble any other email address. Because they cannot opt in, however, they call out those who are not abiding by the rules of permission-based email marketing.

Fall into one of these spam traps and your reputation is not only ruined, but you also become an exclusive member of the blacklist.

Bottom line? You wasted your money.

3. You’re sending messages to strangers. Few of us like to be contacted by strangers.

The best type of marketing is one in which you nurture a target’s first interactions with you carefully and respectfully so that they can come to trust you. Sending messages to people who don’t know you and didn’t ask you to contact them is starting any relationship that you might be able to forge with them in a very bad way. In fact, it’s so bad, the chances of you ever being able to really build a solid relationship with them is pretty much dead with the first email you send.

Sending an unsolicited email to someone also puts you at risk of having them report it as spam. It’s against the law to send spam.

How to Safely Use a Bought Email List



Grow Your Email List Organically and the Right Way

Instead of using purchased email lists, build your list organically, in a way that helps bond your prospects to you from the get-go: by attracting them to you website by using search engine optimization in a blog post that offers prospects the answers to their questions and concerns. Follow the advice in this link and you’ll see your email list filled with prospects who asked to join and who welcome your email messages moving forward!

You can use this method of attraction and list building anytime you need to boost flat website traffic, as well as to ensure that your leads are highly qualified prospects.

Let Us Be of Help

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should use a purchased email list, ask the marketing experts at Ingenex Digital Marketing. With over a decade of experience in email marketing, they have the tools to grow your email list the right way (organically).

Schedule a one-on-one chat with Jeff Hays, our director of client services, to see how you can maintain a pristine marketing reputation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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