When you’re just getting started with your business, or trying to grow it quickly, building your email marketing list may seem like a huge waste of time when you can just go out and purchase a list. Seems okay right? Not so much. There are no shortcuts to growing a loyal base of subscribers, fans and followers. And in reality, purchasing a list will end up tarnishing your business rather than making it shine.

Let’s discuss the 3 sins of purchased email lists and why you should steer clear of them at all times.


Reading your email should be, for the most part, a pleasant task. You may enjoy receiving newsletters and emails from companies you’ve subscribed to, or messages from friends and family, but if you find an email from an unrecognized sender, you may become instantly annoyed. You may feel like your inbox has been invaded and concerned about how this unrecognized sender got your email addy. You may even banish the message to email hell, otherwise known as the SPAM folder.

Think of forcing your way into someone’s inbox as invading their space. Most likely you wouldn’t invite a stranger into your home, and in the same way, people don’t want a stranger in their inbox. Instead of violating people’s privacy by forcing your business on them, build your list the right way. Being greedy in your efforts to build your email marketing list and reach potential customers will only end up wasting your time and money by mailing people who don’t want, or expect to hear from you.


So your biggest competitor has a huge list of subscribers, a massive following on Twitter and thousands of Likes on Facebook. Feeling a little envious? Does that little devil on your shoulder telling you it’s okay to buy an email list, just this once, leave you feeling tempted? Don’t succumb! Be strong and build your following the right way! Use an opt-in form on your website, blog, Facebook, and anywhere else your customers and potential customers interact with you. And share links to it each week on your social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter.

An opt-in form is a true gem because someone has willingly given you their name and email address and they want to hear from you. When you get opt-in permission, you build a relationship and gain trust. Hooray! Permission for the win!


If you try to use a purchased list, your ESP (Email Service Provider) will find out. Most ESPs are white listed by major Internet Service Providers (ISP), meaning their domain name is recognized as a safe sender that doesn’t pose a threat to the well-being of the ISP or its users. Using a purchased list almost guarantees a high number of bounce and complaint rates. When emails from a purchased list are sent through an ESPs system, they can get red flagged and the delivery of emails being sent by their users can be negatively affected – this is a huge no-no. ESPs monitor emails being sent through their systems, and if they recognize a pattern of high bounce or complaint rates related to an account, they can ban it. Poof! No more emailing. And you definitely don’t want to be that business. Spamhaus also has some great advice here on why you don’t want to go there with purchased lists.

The simple lesson learned from the 3 sins of purchased email marketing lists? In order to grow your list and your business, don’t purchase a list. It won’t get you anywhere. And, most people are savvy enough these days to know if you’ve purchased their address; you’ll end up leaving a bad taste in their mouth about your business. But, by taking the time to do it the right way, you’ll be on your way to email marketing heaven, where you produce engaging content, awesome offers and you have a loyal base of subscribers and customers who love your business for it.

© 2013, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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