Can I send to purchased lists?

Buying an email list might seem like a good idea and an easy way to increase the number of your subscribers and potential clients. But is it legal to send emails to purchased email lists? And would they help or rather harm your business?

In short, using purchased lists and emailing unengaged subscribers will cause deliverability issues. These lists might also contain spam traps or invalid emails that can seriously harm your sending reputation. Purchased lists are considered spam by the email community, and no serious email tool will allow the use of such lists. Keep reading to find out about some alternative methods that might be a better solution for you.

What are the best practices and policies around purchased lists?

purchased lists

Your email recipients should have expressly signed up to receive information from you. You can collect sign-ups at events, during the sale (even webshop), and during website visits via forms on your website or standalone landing pages.

If you have purchased lists, unless they've opted in through other methods, it is advisable to unsubscribe them if you want to have them in your email marketing system, to avoid emailing them by mistake. The worst scenario is getting your domain blacklisted by large email service providers such as Google and Microsoft, resulting in all your company emails including Outlook emails ending up in spam!

Let’s say you already purchased your list of contacts. Should you simply throw it away or is there any use for this list? Well, the good news is that you can save some of these contacts by inviting them to opt-in via one of your forms. Here’s how it works:

  1. Use an outbound system that is specifically made to send cold emails to email these contacts,
  2. These cold emails will include a link to a landing page or a webpage with an opt-in form that is connected to your CRM, 
  3. Once they sign-up, you can safely send newsletters or any other nurturing emails to them.

If you're a FunnelBud client, we can help you simplify and in some cases integrate and automate the process.

Building a quality email contacts database (without purchasing it):

It becomes clear that a purchased list cannot be used in your marketing efforts and could cause more harm than good. If you want your emails to go into the inbox and be read, the best way to go about it by growing your email list naturally, instead of buying one. We offer you a list of tips how to go about that:

  • When it comes to attracting new visitors and potential subscribers to your website, the best inbound method is blogging. It might take some time to see results but if you stay persistent, you will start getting a consistent flow of visitors and subscribers to your email lists.
  • Build multiple funnels with gated assets that people can get access to if they fill out a form. It can be a webinar to subscribe to, a free consultation, a whitepaper download or a chance to receive the latest news about your industry or the articles you publish. You can link to these funnels from various places on your website, such as your blog articles.
  • Promote your content on your marketing channels, such as your social media accounts. You can also include paid advertising or boosting some of your social media posts.
  • Each funnel you build should include a form to collect important information about your subscribers. Keep the right balance. Fewer fields might lead to more sign-ups but at the same time, collect the essential information about your subscribers so that you can segment later. Better segmentation leads to more relevant content in your newsletters.
  • When your recipients sign up, they should have a clear understanding of what they are signing up for - include that GDPR checkbox field at the bottom of your form.
  • Ensure your email subscribers receive relevant content they opted in to receive - segment your contacts and personalize your email message. Funnelbud also allows you to send dynamic content to different recipients based on their persona, their interests, their age group, or for example different language versions.
  • Keep your contact list clean and verify your contacts email addresses regularly.

The time you will spend building and maintaining a good email contacts database will pay off when you have a high-performing list of people who can’t wait to receive your next email.


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About the Author

Marie Vitkova

Marie is a Project Manager and a Templates, Forms and Funnel Workflows Specialist at FunnelBud. She loves Inbound and enjoys creative work and template design. She manages FunnelBud’s marketing activities, their own website, and multiple “managed website” clients who also do inbound.