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Why You Should Never Buy an Email List

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07 Jan 2021

293.6 billion emails are sent and received each day, and out of these, over 14.5 billion emails are discarded as spam.

Email marketing is hands down the best way to run a successful marketing campaign and to reach out to leads to nurture them to become your potential clients. As per a data analysis report by Campaign Monitor, Over 50% of customers check their email 10 times per day.

However, running a successful campaign requires a list that would efficiently target your potential clients. Your email list is the most crucial part of your email marketing campaign. It affects your email delivery and deliverability both.

An email list consists of a list of names, email addresses, and other vital information regarding your potential clientele.

There’s no point in sending out a promotional email in bulk to an audience that isn’t relevant to the services you’re offering. Finding leads via an email list is an easy task. But, to ensure that you target the right audience, your list needs to be organic.

Here’s a detailed insight into why you should never buy an email list.

Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Buying an Email List

While buying a list might seem like an ideal shortcut for your digital marketing campaign, it doesn’t always serve you the purpose of targeting a relevant audience. Here’s why list buying isn’t the ideal choice of marketers.

1. Quality of the List

You might buy a list at a great price, but there’s no actual guarantee that the list is efficient and would target the right audience for you. There are several issues that you could run in to with a poor email list.

Out-date information (people tend to change emails every year, either because of a promotion or personal reasons), there’s a good chance the emails in the list no longer exist or are discarded.

Insufficient or missing data, these lists are usually harvested using different means from the web. Considering the thousands of entries in the list, they could have wrong names or jumbled information.

Furthermore, if you end up with an illegally harvested list, you could end up paying penalties on each email that you send.

2. The List Is Likely Recycled

Buying a list isn’t an ideal way of promoting your business or reaching out to new leads. There’s a good possibility that the list you’re considering has been used by other marketers as well.

These lists are sold to multiple business owners looking for an easy way to find leads and convert them to possible clientele. They bought the list as well, and they might be sending out emails to the same recipients.

By the time you get your hands on them, the people you reach out to might consider you spam or discard your emails because they have been reached out by countless other businesses. Furthermore, they might have set filters to avoid receiving marketing emails.

3. Low Open and Click-Through Rates

The average open rate of a targeted email list is around 20 – 25%. The lists that you purchase have been repeatedly used by countless other businesses, and the open rates of these email lists are far lower than that.

With recycled lists, the majority of the people on the list might not even open the list, let alone click through them.

4. Your Email Service Provider Might Close Your Account

When buying a list that has been used by multiple businesses as well, the people on that list might have set filters in place to block out your promotional messages. This risks the deliverability of your emails because they mostly end up in the spam folders of your clients.

When multiple messages get marked as spam, you might risk temporarily blocking your account, or you might be fined. In the worst cases, your email service provider (ESP) can take legal action against you.

5. Your Reputation Might Take A Fall

Continuously using a bought or rented email list could adversely affect your reputation. If your emails are getting spammed over several weeks, and only a few of your emails are reaching your leads, there’s a strong possibility they will associate your business with the other that have been sending emails to them.

Marketing is dependent on trust. If you’re using a purchased list, your clients might have a challenging time trusting you. Furthermore, people who have been receiving unsolicited emails from you could lead them to file complaints against you.

6. You might end up facing legal consequences

Most of the countries have laws to protect its consumers against receiving bulk emails. Generally speaking, you might have bought a list, but usually, these are harvested using different means from the web. Not many people get asked if they actually want to be on the list or not.

If they filed a complaint against you against any violated law, your business could take a fall, and you will have to face legal repercussions.

Tips for Building Your Own Email List

While you might not get the most out of buying an email list, there are certain ways you can enhance your email list, and nurture leads into becoming your potential buyers.

Provide your audience with engaging, relevant, and attractive content that will get their attention. Trust is a critical factor in digital marketing campaigns. Your audience needs to be able to trust you before they sign-up for your services.

Create valuable lead magnets that you can offer your audience. These can include any free services, such as an E-book, an instructional guide, or a video.

Integrate social media with your digital marketing campaign and run ads that allow your audience to opt-in for your services.


Email lists are often harvested from the web, and you never know how often they have been used by other businesses. These usually lack vital information or contain emails that are more than a year old and are no longer in use. It adversely affects your reputation, and you might risk losing your ESP, or in worst cases, end up with legal repercussions.

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