Can we really trust bought email lists?
Earning contacts for email marketing can be hard work. First you have to establish your marketing persona, creating a complete picture of who they are, where they are likely to spend time online, and what triggers their need for your product or service. Then, once that’s done, you need generate quality content that answers their frustrations, problems and questions. And, if that all wasn’t enough, you need to put in place the calls to action, landing pages, thank you pages, and lead nurturing campaigns to help turn them from a prospect into a marketing qualified lead.
Wouldn’t it all be much easier if you could just buy a nice long list of contacts? Then you wouldn’t have to bother with all this hard work. You could just get straight on with sending out your marketing information to them. But, tempting though it might be, buying a list is not the answer to getting more contacts. Here are the key reasons why we shouldn’t trust bought email lists:
Bought lists are almost certainly lower quality than opt-in lists
Contact details are valuable. If you’ve crafted a carefully compiled email list of people in your industry, you aren’t going to want to let that go. So, you have to question why somebody would want to sell on their list to you. Is it because they are happy to share the details? Or, is it because the list is poor quality and untargeted?
You don’t know how many other organisations have bought the list
Even if the quality of a bought list isn’t in question, you cannot be sure how many other organisations are using the same list. Do you really want to be associated with companies who send spam to anyone and everyone? Let’s put it this way, if you thought about buying this list, you’re probably not the only one. If a list is for sale, then it’s almost certainly been bought by other companies and bombarded with other untargeted marketing material.
You don’t know how up-to-date the data is
From the list you’ve bought, you won’t know how much of the data is still relevant. A typical email list attrition rate is 30% each year [source: bronto.com]. So, if the list you’re purchasing is already 18 months old, then the data on it could be well past its best. And, unless you spend some serious time researching each entry on your list, you’re unlikely to know until after you’ve send out your email and got a massive hard bounce rate.
You don’t have permission to contact these people
If you buy a list, then the people on it haven’t given their permission to hear from your company. Even if the person has stated they are happy for to receive emails from a third party, they are not expecting to hear from you. People are less likely to response or take action on emails that they did not ask to receive. Instead, they are going to see your emails as spam.
So, if buying a list isn’t going to work, what should you do instead?
The answer is simple: earn your contacts. Create content that is tailored to your personas, so that they want to access it and are happy to share their details with you in exchange for that content. When someone completes a form on your website, then there are actively engaging with your company. And, with that, you know that you’ve got yourself a list of people who are more likely to want to continue engaging with your company.
Want to find out more about how you can generate more opt-in contacts? Download our Context Marketing eBook