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Why you should never use a purchased email list

Growing your email list may seem like a daunting task, which is why some marketers are tempted to work with email list selling companies. This may seem like a quick way to get started on your email marketing campaigns, but there are many drawbacks to purchasing email lists that can damage your brand and reputation indefinitely.

If an email list is for sale, it is most likely due to one of these two reasons:

  • The contacts on that list have become inactive

  • The contacts on that list were scraped from the internet without consent

If a marketer has organically grown a high-quality list, with consent to send them emails on the proposed topic, it’s unlikely that they would part with their own good quality list. Lists that you find for sale have likely been spammed to death already and deemed unresponsive.

Most people who utilize email marketing across the globe are legally required to allow subscribers to opt-out of emails they no longer want to receive. Recipients of your campaigns must be able to do this directly in your newsletter in the form of an unsubscribe link.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), also enforces the opt-in side of subscriber collection. Subscribers must opt-in to receive your emails. Purchased email addresses don’t know who you are and therefore do not comply with GDPR.

If you buy an email list, you have no way of knowing how often those email addresses have been contacted, where those email addresses came from and whether or not the list has been scrubbed of hard bounces.

When an email address continuously hard bounces, it is clearly an inactive and undeliverable address. If that address continues to receive consistent traffic, it becomes a spam trap. As a result, the email address will stop returning the hard bounce message and instead report incoming traffic as spam.

Note: The more your mail is marked as spam, the more your reputation as a sender worsens.

If you have a bad reputation as a sender, your emails will begin landing in the recipient’s spam folder no matter which email service provider you use.

List cleaning services such as MailerCheck also have excellent resources for maintaining list quality, check out their website for more insight on why purchasing emails lists is a huge mistake.

It is against our Anti-spam policy to contact subscribers from whom you do not have explicit, provable consent. Therefore, it is against our policies to send cold emails using Mailerlite. As a result, if an account is found to be in breach of this policy, the account may be immediately terminated.

Having an email list full of engaged subscribers who opted in to receive your content by their own initiative is far more effective and rewarding than buying a list of old or inactive email addresses. There are many ways you can grow your own subscriber list, including:

  • Freebies and giveaways - Create a lead magnet that offers subscribers exclusive content only available to newsletter subscribers. This could be an eBook, guide or checklist for example

  • Optimize your email marketing campaigns - Utilize A/B split testing in your campaigns to send out 2 versions of the same newsletter and learn what works best for your subscribers

  • Add share buttons to your campaigns - Our Drag & drop editor includes pre-designed footer blocks containing share icons that your subscribers can click to share your newsletter to social media. Additionally, you can include a button subscribers can click in order to forward your newsletter to a friend

  • Share your campaigns on social media - Sharing your newsletters to Facebook or Twitter gives people a chance to sample your content when they otherwise may not have come across it

Follow our ultimate guide to growing a high-quality email list and discover how to grow your own email list organically.

Last time edited: Sep 27, 2022