As their name says, the email lists are basically lists of email addresses, mainly collected from people who visit websites searching for the topics of their interest or solutions to their problems.

Those lists are then used in marketing for the distribution of newsletters.

Have you ever subscribed to an email newsletter on a website?

Most of us did.

It’s that tiny square, mostly on the bottom of the web page offering some juicy deals, and the only information they ask is your email.

Whether you were offered a free e-book, free lessons or huge discounts, you couldn’t resist finding out what it was. If so, congratulations, you’re part of someone’s email list.

There might be the updates you were looking for that you get when you open your mailbox. This option can seem very handy when you don’t want to visit the same websites over and over wasting your time – just getting updates or discounts from those you were interested in.

But these days more probably you’re receiving dozens of spam emails that you were not expecting while typing your email address on that website.

In fact, you might find out how you‘ve never left your information to a particular person/company, and now you’re receiving their offers or basically spam trash emails.

How did that happen?

An email list your address belongs to was probably shared or sold to another company, who then used it for selling their own products and spamming 24/7.

And that happens quite often. But sooner or later they’ll find out that bought lists are just a waste of money and time, especially used for the promotion of something new.

In this article, we’ll explain to you why those who buy email lists fail at reaching people and advertising their product, as well as how to do it the better way with no additional costs.

If you are the one doing this job, then make sure to read this before sending those emails.


Email marketing is the best way to connect with potential customers and it has a higher reach compared to all other marketing methods.

Marketing on social media is far behind in comparison with email lists marketing.

Although social media offers great tools for advertising and promotion, it’s still less effective than the email option.

Some researches show that email is 40 times more effective for finding new customers and offers 6x higher click-through rates than Twitter or Facebook.

In the long term, email marketing is the best digital marketing method people can use to grow business.

The question is why?

Well, emails have been around for longer than many other social media like Facebook. Also, since they’re simpler to use, everyone can have their own email address.

Even our grandparents know how to use them nowadays.

In the world of business, it’s a must-have for every person.

Before we skip to the reason why buying email lists will kill your business, we’ve listed some benefits of using email lists for online marketing:

It Allows for More Personalization

Every single business needs strong customer relationship management, and the best way to keep on-going relationships with clients strong is to offer a personalized touch.

Mass emails are a good start, but they can get more customized. And email marketing allows you such customization.

According to this article, email users are 26% more likely to open the email if you tailor your subject line.

They want information and updates more relevant to them so it’s necessary to show that you understand their priorities.

Alongside the fact that the users of organically collected emails are already interested in your product, you can reach higher personalization by segmenting them into different lists according to their interests.

Further sorting and customizations help to keep existing users satisfied and help the new ones get interested.

For example, if you represent a beginner’s program to customers, you can assume that everyone in your email list can be a beginner.

But if you offer something more specific (closer to one area of expertise than another), you’ll need to check which of them need such a thing.

Email marketing allows you to sort out the customers into smaller groups according to their needs.

Emails are More Professional

Even though many companies increased their use of social media, email is still preferred among them.

In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, 72% of U.S. adults prefer receiving email communications from companies, comparing to only 17% who prefer communication through social media.

Connecting with people through email is considered to be much more professional than by other platforms when it comes to partnerships, requests, complaints and similar.

Also, speaking of product promotion, Facebook and Instagram don’t get as much attention as personalized emails.

And this happens because there is a larger amount of automated or spam messages on social media than email.

And believe it or not, your customers are more likely to read or take action on the marketing emails since many of them might be looking forward to getting that type of communication from you.

This Method Saves Time and Money

Compared to some more traditional methods, email marketing is pretty inexpensive. Emails are very easy and cheap to get automatized because the whole job can be done with a basic computer and a pair of hands.

There is no need for expensive offices and employees to send automated emails and reach people all around the world.

Traditional print marketing methods require spending money on advertising space, printing and many more, which leads to unnecessary costs that sometimes cannot be covered.

On the other side, we have email marketing which needs only a small investment of money and resources to develop valuable content.

Additional to low costs, this also provides an astonishing return on investment (ROI).

A report from DBS Data says that companies get an average return of $38 for each $1 spent on email marketing.

And because email marketing allows you to send what you want as often as you wish, it can be used to adjust to customers’ habits and expectations.

By reaching them with newsletters, offers and invites as frequent as they need, you are making sure to keep them interested.

Because when it comes to online marketing, timing is everything.

It Helps in Market Testing and Sales Making

Of course, some of the best opinions for the future of your business come from existing clients and those who already have shown interest in your offers before. It is good to have them on your mailing list.

You can use this opportunity to grow your business and increase sales by asking those customers for their opinions about your products.

Send them a survey now and then where they can express their thoughts on what you offered before or what they expect to see from you in the future.

For effective market testing, follow these tips.

And the main benefit we’re going to mention here is making sales. Because it’s the reason we’re in business, right?

If you look back at the traditional print methods we previously discussed, you’ll find another reason why email marketing is so much better.

We are sure you’d agree that forwarding an email to our friends who may be interested is easier than sharing a cut-out from a printed magazine.

Just think of how many people even use hardcopy magazines nowadays. It’s certainly a small number.

If you do this correctly, targeted emails can boost your company’s reputation and spread the word about your offers at the speed of light.

Your products will get ordered more often and you’ll get even more subscriptions by simply using this cheap and efficient online marketing approach.


Some people always keep looking for shortcuts to success regardless of the consequences of these simple but risky ideas.

And whether they’re growing their existing businesses or starting the new ones, they tend to make it easier and faster by any cost.

But that cost might get too high.

So when it comes to product promotion and engagement of customers who are going to spend their valuable time searching for the right clients, when we can get them instantly by simply buying the whole lists.

The email lists found for sale typically include a list of names, email addresses and other information about the users on the list – just the data we were looking for.

Then buying a list feels like a great way to successfully start an email marketing campaign.

It seems easy, but as with most easy things in life, there must be a catch.

Well, they’re very obvious.

From lower engagement and quality to decreased success rate, there are dozens of reasons to consider such purchase wrong.

Now, where do we start?


The truth is – you can’t trust the quality of the purchased list.

Unfortunately, sellers are most probably not honest about the data they have so you might end up having a list with tons of issues.

For example, the data could be incomplete and wrong, it could be too old, the email addresses could no longer exist or be abandoned, etc.

It surely sounds great reaching tens of thousands of people overnight but the information will be at least partially worthless.

You might get lucky with some names, but the rest will just be a list of useless junk.

You need qualified contacts familiar with your business and interested in what you do or offer, and this is not what you’re going to get by simply taking over someone else’s list.

Reached people won’t recognize your brand and it’s most likely they didn’t agree to be on the list in the first place.

Reputable companies will not sell hard-earned and valuable email lists; if they are for sale, they must have been collected from bad and questionable sources.

Some sellers use bots for email collection from different websites, their comment sections or forums. As a result of such a harvest, a lot of information is out of date or rarely used. They might be fake as well.

With a little luck, you could find industry-targeted lists perhaps from a trade show.

This might work, but the chances are still high that the users are not interested to hear particularly from you. Those lists aren’t accurate as well.


We are sure that none of you enjoys receiving unexpected and unsolicited emails. And especially when you recognize a marketing message, you’re not happy to see it.

Most people just ignore it, but when they start coming more often, the chances are they will probably meet spam folder or even get deleted.

Understand that nobody likes spam. It makes users feel that companies don’t care about their interests or desires.

It even makes them uncomfortable seeing the whole mailbox covered in the exact same boring messages that they weren’t even asking for.

Well, who wants to be the one behind those boring emails?

If people don’t recognize your name on the message, they’ll clearly finish marked as spam or trash.

Even if you’re sure that your emails are of good quality, well written and interesting, the recipient won’t be happy to see them from an unknown company.

In some cases, when people subscribe to a newsletter or join an email list any other way, they agreed to the terms and conditions about receiving offers from some related companies.

But most of them just glanced for a second and accepted without further thinking, but later they probably have no idea what they agreed on.

This is why your messages are most likely close to reaching their unwelcome spam folder.

The only right option for reaching customers but not ending as a spammer is building lists organically.

That way you’ll make sure you’re sending emails only to those who are actually interested to hear from you.

As a matter of fact, being reported as spam can impact future deliverability across the board, and that includes loyal past clients and brand advocates.

This also applies to cases when you’re having a high bounce rate due to obsolete or invalid email addresses, not only when you’re recognized as a spammer.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from lists for sale. There are more than 300 existing spam-filtering entities, so stay CAN-SPAM compliant.

Bad Response Rate

When it comes to email marketing, engagement matters the most, but with a purchased list, the odds are all against you.

As an unknown company, you’ll need to convince users to open your emails and read messages. You won’t even get a shot at engagement if they delete them instantly, before opening.

But let’s say they did open and read, the chances are they won’t get interested in what you have to offer, so in the end, the result will be the same.

Being engaged means to click on a specific button to read a blog, find a coupon, check a new product and many more.

If your targeted audience is not familiar with your brand, this might not sound like a juicy offer as it normally would.

Bear in mind that purchased lists are not likely to have average open rates, which are around 20-25% (only for healthy lists).

For example, if you buy a list of 10 thousand addresses, you expect to earn on at least 500 of them. You could profit well, only if you’re lucky enough to get even those 500 interested.

But the response rate for the purchased list is far lower than expected. It can get as low as 5%, and even worse.

The majority of people will immediately get rid of the message, but in case a small percentage of them decide to open it, they will most likely step away from taking an action.

They could never reach your sales page and discover your offerings.

“Second-hand” Lists

You probably didn’t consider the fact that you’re buying already used email lists.

Other companies might have been using them long before they reached your business.

They bought the list the same way you did and they were spamming those recipients over and over, and now it’s your time to repeat the job.

What’s even worse, those companies could re-sell the lists they used, so you never know where they first came from and what are their sources.

By the time you buy the list, the first seller could become unknown.

So what are the chances that your new names will open your emails if they are already annoyed too many times before?

It is very unlikely they’ll accept anything. Moreover, they might have put filters so that unwanted emails can’t bother them anymore.

The main reason companies sell the email lists over and over is a huge profit they get. And the buyers don’t even expect that they are not getting exclusive rights to those emails.

In some cases, if users find themselves being used for such marketing tricks, they could close their accounts and start the new ones just to cut down the spam.

Speaking of email users, some of them have accounts especially for marketing content, so they don’t get annoyed on their main ones. No one wants to mix personal and business email if they receive too many unwanted invites or offers.

And it’s not just about the spam, because you may have the emails sent to the “promotions and updates” folder, which most of the email platforms have.

These inboxes are not regularly opened as the primary one.

This means you’re buying “secondary” accounts which people use for marketing.

That is why your emails will get lost ii nth e hundreds of other messages.

Ruined Reputation

There are great odds that people who get annoyed by your unwanted emails will remember the brand’s name.

This is very dangerous for brand awareness and reputation as well.

Imagine looking for your company on Google and finding out that the top results are angry comments from unsatisfied users whose mailboxes were full of your spam messages.

That could alarm others to stay away from your brand and ignore the potential messages on their accounts.

If you don’t want to spend a huge amount of money and your valuable time fixing the drama all unhappy users caused, try to send emails only to addresses collected organically.

In the world of online marketing, reputation is crucial for success.

Unexpected Bills

One of the consequences of getting messages marked as spam is that you could get suspended by your email service provider.

Your email account might get closed, you would be fined and in some cases, the email service provider can take legal action against your company.

As you may know, buying email lists is strictly forbidden since it is a violation of the provider’s service agreement. Most countries even have laws against sending spam bulk email. One of them is the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States.

Even if you’re still on the right side of the law after using purchased lists for marketing, your brand isn’t safe yet.

If angry users start complaining massively, you will have to deal with huge costs just to prove how you haven’t done anything wrong.

Some laws are so strict that they can get penalties of up to $16.000 for EACH spam email you sent.

And bear in mind that there are different laws for different countries, which means that you’ll have to obey those from the countries where your subscribers come from.


If you consider building your own email list for marketing, we have some tips on how to start and grow your business organically.

Basically, you will just need to collect the emails through the personal network and email subscriptions when users sign up for information on your website.

The first step is to get to know the audience.

You’ll need to track their behavior, learn what they do (not) like, understand their interests, desires, and goals.

The more you understand what users want, the better your business will grow.

The next step is making a website that you’ll use to attract customers and show them what you offer. If they get interested, you can have their subscription.

You can create beautiful pages in a few minutes by using one of these platforms:,,,, and similar.

And the last step is knowing how to get email addresses both through your website and other platforms.


1. Subscription

The first thing you should do is making a small subscription box, placed somewhere on the sidebar, to let people know that you have good offers, promotions or discounts prepared for those who leave an email address.

2. Make a Survey

Nobody visits a new website looking for a place to give their email address. They first need to get to know your brand better before signing up.

You need to make the visitors invested in the company’s content before you ask them to give their emails. The best thing you can do is making a survey related to your content.

Not only you can make people intrigued, but you’ll also collect more information about their interests and you’ll get to see what they like about your brand.

3. Run a Contest

Make a contest with a prize that might be desirable to your visitors. Ask them to leave an email before entering the contest.

It will seem like a fair trade, and they won’t feel like they’re being forced to leave the info. Also, make sure to share the contest on social media to increase reach and drive more traffic to your website.

4. Add “Refer a Friend” Button

Encourage existing customers who love your products or services to invite their friends to check your website.

Make it easy for them to reach this feature and let them enter a limited number of emails. That way they might think it’s a privilege to be on your subscription list.

5. Use Social Media

We remember how in comparison with email marketing, social media proved to be less effective, but this time you can use it for a different cause.

For example, you can add an “action“  button on the Facebook page related to your brand. The button will automatically open your website or any other online feature you need.

To sum up, you can use other platforms to drive traffic to the website where you’ll collect emails used for email marketing. Simply, you’ll use social media marketing to boost email marketing.

6. Make Pop-Ups

A pop-up can sound very boring to all of us who use to come across dozens of them while reading articles. But on the other hand, they are very effective if you know how and when to use them.

We suggest putting a very few pop-ups, looking for an email to receive newsletters, that will show up every second page, or every few minutes spent on the website. However, try not to scare people of.

Nobody likes seeing that little square as soon as they open the first page. People need to see the page first and then take a look at your services.

Why Buying Email Lists Is Always a Bad Idea (And How to Build Yours for Free)

Comments are closed.