Why you Should Never buy an Email list and how to Build Your own

Buying emails used to be a quick-fire way of contacting people in the hope that at least a few would convert into customers. A blanket style email to thousands of people once seemed like a great way to spread a message and win new clients. However, this impersonal, often obtrusive type of marketing is dying – especially in the wake of GDPR.

Email marketing has changed to favour consumers and businesses must act accordingly. Now people have to physically opt in to your communications, purchased email lists are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

So, aside from GDPR regulations, why is buying an email list a bad idea?

1. Email services don’t allow it

Reputable email marketing services such as MailChimp and DotMailer don’t allow you to use bought lists. When uploading contacts, you must declare how you acquired them and a purchased list is not an option they accept. Recipients must have opted in to receiving any communications sent through these platforms.

Why you Should Never buy an Email list and how to Build Your own

2. Quality email lists aren’t available to buy

Usually, emails that are available to purchase have often been deemed unresponsive – meaning that you’re not going to get much back. Plus, you need to remember that these contact details have probably been purchased before and likely to have been spammed to the ends of the earth. You get where this is going…?

3. Email providers don’t like it

Most email clients now use technology which highlights and penalises accounts that send messages which are flagged as spam. Some even close accounts so this can be seriously damaging.

4. It’s just plain annoying

People are so over spam nowadays. They only really want to hear from businesses they know or people that can offer real value to them personally. If your email comes across as generic, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get any real traction.


So, how do you create a quality list yourself?

1. Create buyer personas

If you’re going to create a valuable list of email prospects, you have to understand your audience or who your ideal customer is. To do this, start by creating a buyer persona which, put simply is a fictional person who represents the demographic you’re trying to target.

Why you Should Never buy an Email list and how to Build Your own

Think about age, gender, education, occupation, location, family and salary. Then work out the goals and challenges they face along with any specific values or fears they have. This will help you to establish who and where your audience is and once you figure this out, it’s good to start with social media. 

For example, a 50 something CEO of a tech firm is probably going to be spending more time on LinkedIn than Snapchat. Just like an 19-year-old student will be more partial to Instagram and Snapchat than Google+. By working out where your target audience is likely to spend their time online, you’ll be able to target your marketing more effectively. Those who you do reach will be more likely to opt in to your subscription as the content you share is relevant. 


2. You’ll need a website

In order for people to opt in to an email subscription list, you’ll need to send them somewhere to sign up. A reputable website is therefore necessary. This doesn’t have to be an all-singing-all-dancing site, a simple single pager will do the job as long as it’s authentic and clearly states what you offer.

A small note to consider too is that the loading speed of your website will massively impact your conversion rate — i.e. email signups. We thoroughly recommend D9 Hosting who offer cPanel hosting in the UK and USA.


3. Provide value

Have you ever opted into an email list for the sake of it? Thought not, so why would your customers? People don’t just hand out their email addresses, there has to be some form of value on offer. Think about what your audience wants. What’s going to make them tick or solve their problems? A free course, a report or monthly discounts at your restaurant for subscribers only.

When you decide on your offering it’s crucial that you deliver. If you promise an in-depth course and deliver a few pages of drivel, you’ll damage your brand and your list of subscribers will rapidly deplete. Put yourself in their shoes – is your offering really valuable? Get this right and your subscription list will be sure to grow.


4. Use social media

Your buyer persona exercise should have revealed your key social media platforms – or the places where your target audience is. This is where you can get some serious exposure for a surprisingly low cost. Social media advertising is one of the most cost effective ways to market your brand. Hyper targeted, you can reach very specific demographics and speak directly to your audience.

Why you Should Never buy an Email list and how to Build Your own

When you post on social media, think about what your audience want to hear and adapt your message accordingly. Speak in their language and be sure to get across the value of your offering. You need them to feel compelled to click through so the message and image you choose has to be irresistible to them. Remember there’s a lot of noise on social media nowadays so try a variety of posts and see what works best for you.


To sum up

By taking the above steps, you’ll be on the way to creating a highly targeted list of genuinely interested prospects. They’ll expect your emails and not disregard them as spam. Plus, you’ll avoid violating strict GDPR regulations and build an audience of contacts who are more likely to buy into your product or service. Just be sure to continue to offer value to keep your prospects interested.


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