For email marketing, is buying an email list preferred or is it spam and I have to build a list first?
Should I buy a list or should I build a list ?
Buying will make my list big and I will be able to start my marketing right away, while building might give me higher conversions in long term but will have to build it .
What would you prefer in terms of branding ? Will the purchased list cause my brand to be thought of as spammy?
If you have a website, I recommend building your email list vs. buying a list. Adding a simple call to action for visitors to enter their email when they land on your page is a good place to start.
Using a purchased list for an email campaign only violates the CAN-SPAM Act if your email is done in bulk. Last time I checked, if you send personalized and well-written messages one-at-a-time based on research that suggests the receiver will be interested you will be OK as far as the Act is concerned. There will still be some people that won't appreciate the effort. I'm not on that list. Bring it on. My eMail filters are working. Are yours? - The Pragmatic Web Designer
Although we all want to have a big list, what matters most is the quality of the connection. You can achieve far more in your business with a small number of people who are truly your tribe than you can with a huge list of strangers that now probably dislike you for invading their email space. You wouldn't show up at a complete strangers house and try to have a conversation in real life; don't do it digitally.
Don't buy a list! It's not legal. Regardless, those folks would have no idea who you are, and it'd be a waste of money. Spend the time to cultivate relationships and create your own list. You'd be surprised how fast it grows if you drive folks to your Web site and encourage them to sign up for your e-mail. Offer them a "freebie" of some nature to sign up for your e-mail list; perhaps give them a free white paper or e-book you've written, or a small discount on their purchase of your product or service. I know it's hard to be patient, but that's the right way to go about it. Steer clear of anyone peddling e-mail lists!
Best of luck,
Its better to make your email list yourself. Email marketing is still the best form of marketing in terms of conversion rate. Your list should be targeted and personalized.
Definitely build a list. With a bit of technology use you would even be able to sort your users emails and thus send different messages to different sections of your list (so you can use it for branding but also for a direct response purposes i.e. send one email to buying customers, another one for premium ones and a teaser content to a non buying contacts from the list).
Take some time in pruning and sorting the list it will pay off. and of course a mailing list, like a whole newsletter campaign should come as a part of your greater digital marketing effort and should work in synergy with other channels.
You could look at building your email list by searching a relevant database of target customers. I did that for my business by accessing local business databases in a library(access is expensive otherwise) and then researching through that list to get email addresses - while this method is time consuming, it does allow you to target people effectively through email.
And dont forget email is still the most effect digital marketing tool. And use a tool like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to manage your mailing lists
I think building the list is always a much better idea. However, if you've already bought a list then you might as well validate the list by individually contacting all the parties and based on that research you can still build your contacts.
This will obviously take time but it's worth every moment if you're trying to build your network and business.
The biggest things you have to protect is your image and reparation.
It is important what doing an email marketing is to be very specific with your target.
Who they are, what level of contact you should make.
What compelling story are you going to present.
This then tends to be market / industry specific.
Even if you buy a list. you should not use it until you know it is accurate.
and the people on the list do still work for the company you are targeting.
Sometimes it's hard to know how old the list is.
You need to know that the contact is still working in that department or area of influence.
All of this means that you will have to do some work in verifying your purchased list.
So with this in mind you may as well spent the time building your list.
after all you will then know that it is up to date, with the correct names and positions.
Wow! Lots of good questions.
The best way is to build your own list. That allows you to have opt ins and views. 35% of people usually read emails. So to get the most bang for the buck having your own opt in list is best. Then you can help keep it going to Junk and never seen.
There are lots of ways to get your own list. Do you collect business cards?
If so do you market to them? If not think about that.
Do you have any list of your own to begin with. Are you marketing to it, a start.
Do you have an irresistible offer and a great capture page to direct interested
people to you and web offer?
Though about PPC? Gets you to the top of the page with Google and can be cost effect depending on your market.
What marketing are you going after local, national or international?
Might think of joint ventures with not competing companies?
Just some thoughts.
And then you can buy double opt in lists. It all can work to some degree or other.
There are reliable list brokers that sell opt-in lists. You need to look at the vendor carefully. You may need a consultant to help you find the right list broker and qualify the lists.
Cheap per name is not always the best solution. Better off paying more for highly targeted list. Unfortunately, a lot of companies are selling spamming lists.
John - as others have said anyway other than building your own list will only cause you problems. I've been working in this area of marketing for several years. There are many folks out there 'selling lists' they say are opt-in, but in my opinion there are NO legitimate lists for sale. (The best you could do is to rent a list - just like you would a direct mail list - but the owner would send the offer or whatever you are marketing.) And again, even that is a little sketchy. Offer a 'whitepaper' or something of value on your blog or social media sites and build it that way.
Hey John - With most email marketing tools like Constant Contact , Infusion soft and some CRM with email automation you will be required to check off on a statement that your list is not a bought list and you have direct permission to email each name on the list.
If you don't, yet say you do and someone reports you for spam, you could have some issues. If you can develop a web offer (white paper, best practices document, ebook, etc.) and use a landing page that gathers their information and they "opt-in" to your email then you're good to go. It takes a while however.
Check out Constant Contact or any other email marketing platform for more specific information and ideas that you can deploy.
Unless the people on the list have specifically opted in to receive the sort of emails you want to send, it will be considered spam, and you could face all sorts of issues; from having your email account suspended, to actual fines and possibly charges.
The latter is not as likely as just having your email account suspended, but you do not want to establish your reputation as that of a spammer, so building your own email list is MUCH preferred.
Speaking personally, if I receive advertising email from a source unknown to me, that I did not specifically opt in to receive, I report it as spam. Building a list takes time, but it is simple to do, and as you mentioned your conversion rates are likely to be much higher.
Good luck in your marketing endeavors.
You should build it first, using your contacts, I will be doing this very soon and I will be sending out subscribe forms with my newsletters. Buying an email list falls into the same category as buying likes or followers for social media. You never do this, as you can be thought as spammy.
The problem with buying a list is that you have no way of knowing if the people on the list are prequalified. In other words are you getting a list of people that actually want your product? Secondly if the list is prequalified, how long ago? Are you getting a list of people that were interested in your product 3 yrs. ago? Best way to get a list is to do the leg work yourself. Yes I know it takes longer but it is your list, you know the people on the list are interested. Good old fashion personally connecting with people is coming back into style and more and more people are demanding that personal connection.
Like everyone else I can't specify just how bad purchasing a list is. You wont know how upto date the data is, whether is relevant to your industry despite what you are told by the company selling it.
Gathering and managing your own data is one of the most important things a business can do. This information is priceless to you.
Its far better to have a small targeted list that your built than sending thousands of emails that may never ever be opened
My suggestion is to buy a list (a very comprehensive one is from InsideView. It is regularly updated and contains all of the information you need to market. It lets you segment by geography, titles, vertical segment and subsegment, revenue size, etc. HOWEVER, you should not just send emails out without having a tool such as ClickDimensions, Marketo, Pardot, etc. You create your email, send a test email to yourself and it will give you a spam rating. If it's within reasonable limits, you can safely send the email campaign to your targeted audience.
Absolutely build your list. When you buy a list, it's definitely spam. And beyond that, it's counter-productive being that you are reaching people who don't care about your business. So you're really throwing money down the toilet. You won't make sales from just numbers on your list. You have to have people actually willing to buy from you and interested in your business. And yes, reputation is a concern too. If you buy a list, you could garner a reputation for being a spammy company which will tank your sales as well.
Buying a list is a losing proposition. You're sending mail to people who don't know you. You're spamming them because the didn't specifically request information from YOU. I know that there are those who will try to argue that the list participants 'opted' in but you'd be far better off building a list over time and through legitimate methods. You want quality participants who really want to hear from you.