Buying an Email List: Pros and Cons

Thinking of Buying an Email List?


Until you read or at least scan through this guide:

  • Why You Might Buy an Email List
  • What the Critics of This Practice Will Tell You
  • 5 Advantages of Buying the Right B2B List
  • 5 Reasons Not to Purchase Email Addresses
  • How to Avoid the Challenges of Email List Buying
  • Shameless Plug: Why You Should Use DemandScience

Look, we know that the concept of buying business mailing lists often gets a bad rap—though not entirely without justification. Plenty of B2B marketers have burned their fingers with this practice in the past. They’ve bought email marketing lists that were incomplete, out of date, poorly researched, or otherwise flawed. Now, thanks to their experiences, these B2B marketing specialists are going out of their way to send a message to colleagues and competitors alike: don’t purchase email addresses.

However, the fact is that buying a list of business emails is not an inherently reckless move.

There are a lot of potential benefits to purchasing email data lists. Just like most things, though, you need to buy with discretion. Do your homework. Find out what you are getting before you buy. If you are smart about it, there is no reason why buying an email list can’t work well for you and your business.

Why You Might Buy an Email List

Business-to-business mailing lists are an essential component to any B2B company’s success.

You can’t sell your products or services without contact information for your leads. Usually, B2B companies will invest a lot of time and money into cultivating their own lists. This method is smart because it gives you the opportunity to learn about the marketplace and the companies that fit into your target niche. Frankly, though, it’s not always realistic to build your own contact list from scratch.

For instance, if your business is on the cusp of breaking into a brand-new market, you might not even know where to start your lead generation activities. Whether you are expanding into a new industry, introducing a new product or service, or taking your business overseas for the first time, there’s a good chance you are entering uncharted waters. Buying business email lists for your new market can help you cut through the unfamiliarity and establish a contact base. This contact base probably won’t be your entire market, but it does give you an excellent place to start.

Even if you decide to buy an email list to supplement more traditional lead generation tactics, it can still have benefits. Perhaps you are racing against the clock to bring in new accounts, or maybe you have exhausted all the channels you know to find new contacts. Buying marketing lists can give you a new array of untapped companies to target.

What the Critics of This Practice Will Tell You

There are good reasons to think about buying a B2B mailing list. What the critics of this practice will tell you, though, is that obtaining a list of business emails never works like you think it will. They will tell you that the expectations of purchasing email lists don’t match the reality of the situation.

Indeed, there are both pros and cons to purchasing email data lists. Below, we’ve talked through five of each, to help you get a fuller understanding of both sides of the argument.

5 Advantages of Buying the Right B2B List

1. Expand Your Reach

Even when you’ve spent considerable time and money creating your business email lists, there are probably blind spots. There might be companies you missed, opportunities you didn’t consider, or accounts for which you can’t find updated contact info. When you buy an email database, you will almost always discover new leads. Even if just one or two of those leads turn into high-paying accounts, buying the list will have been worthwhile. New accounts might also be able to refer you to other contacts you didn’t know about, expanding your reach further.

2. Reduce Your Reliance on Existing Clients

It’s never good to be extremely reliant on just two or three clients. If one of those clients goes out of business or decides to buy from your competitor, it could hurt your company’s bottom line. When you buy a mailing list, you find new opportunities to diversify your client list. Not only does this process make you more money, but it also spreads your revenue out among more accounts. If one of those accounts falls through, it won’t hit your business quite so hard.

3. Skip the Research Process and Start Pitching Clients Right Away

Building a mailing list for a business is a noble task, but it’s also a time-consuming one. When you purchase email addresses, you get to skip the long research process and start pitching clients ASAP. This perk can be especially attractive if you are entering a new market and need to start turning a profit sooner rather than later.

4. Find Your Footing in a New Market Much Faster

Speaking of new markets, entering them is never easy. There are always pitfalls and growing pains that you need to go through before your business can become a powerhouse in a new niche or location. When you have a well-vetted list of business emails, that growing process needn’t last as long. Pitching clients sooner will allow you to land new clients faster—drastically reducing the liftoff time in a new market.

5. Drive More Sales and Growth

Ultimately, lead generation is all about money. You want contacts whose companies can benefit from having your product. Finding those people and knowing how to pitch them will win you new accounts and make your business a lot of money. A good B2B email database, then, is worth its weight in gold.

5 Reasons Not to Purchase Email Addresses

1. The List Is Out of Date or Low Quality

Sadly, there are a few providers that offer email lists for sale and give everyone else a bad name. These companies let their lists go out of date, or acquire contact data through questionable means. Obviously, the last thing you want is to pay good money for a useless email list. That kind of thing does happen, though, hence the need to tread carefully.

2. You Might Come Across as a Spammer

Some people do not like receiving unsolicited emails. B2B professionals whose contact information has been sold as part of an email database tend to be particularly sensitive about it. As such, you could come across less as a reputable company offering a high-quality product or service and more as a questionable spammer.

3. You Could Create Problems With Your Email Service Provider

If you tend to send out your B2B inquiries as bulk emails, you are probably using an email service provider such as MailChimp. If your emails are marked as spam enough times, your service provider will start to notice. The MailChimps of the internet don’t want to be associated with sending spam. If your emails start getting flagged by angry recipients, your service provider will probably close your account.

4. You Could Run Into a Poor Response Rate

Unsolicited emails are always going to get lower open rates and response rates than emails from recognized, trusted contacts. When a potential client gives you their contact information, they are expecting your email. When you buy their contact details, your email comes out of nowhere. Said another way, don’t expect to hear back from every contact on that small business mailing list you bought.

5. You Might End Up Doing Damage to Your Company’s Reputation

As mentioned previously, buying B2B email lists gets a bad rap. If one of your contacts suspects you of doing it, then, you could have a reputation problem on your hands. Not only can a bad interaction burn a bridge with a potential client, but negative news also spreads quickly online. If one of your contacts starts posting online about you sending unsolicited bulk emails, your brand is in trouble.

How to Avoid the Challenges of Email List Buying

The good news is that you don’t have to take the bad with the good when it comes to buying email marketing lists. By being smart about how you buy your lists and how you use them, you can eliminate most of the cons from the equation. Here are four strategies that will help you avoid the common mistakes of buying B2B lists:

1. Understand the Evolution of Email Marketing

In the old days of email marketing, people were more accustomed to being included in bulk message chains. Today, though, as email becomes more and more central to our lives, the average person wants to weed out as much irrelevant or unwanted communication as possible. As a result, the definition of “email spam” has widened and grown. Email marketers must walk a fine line to avoid the label of being part of the problem. That means less bulk sending, more personalization, and more email list segmentation. Your emails need to make your contact feel like you are talking to them directly, not to 100+ people like them. Segmenting your list into multiple categories or subsets will help you target and personalize more effectively.

2. Buy From a Reputable Vendor

Not all vendors that offer email lists for sale are reputable. You get what you pay for when it comes to data lists. Cheap lists from shady vendors are going to be mostly worthless to you. Do your homework to find a reputed vendor that stands behind its email lists. You might pay a little more, but your investment will also bear more fruit.

3. Buy a List Customized to Suit Your Geographic Region and Industry

The better the vendor, the more options they will give you regarding list customization. This factor is essential because you don’t want a list of contacts that have nothing to do with your market. Instead, look for lists that match the geography, industry, and product niche of what you are selling. If you are expanding to the UK, find a vendor that is selling business mailing lists for the UK.

4. Eliminate Spam Words From Your Emails/Subject Lines

When you send emails to people on your new email marketing list, you need to do everything you can to avoid coming across as spam. Cutting spam words from your email—especially the subject line—will help a lot. Words and phrases like “amazing,” “limited time only,” and “save big money” come across as spammy. There are lists of spam words online that you should look through when drafting your email marketing pitch.

Shameless Plug: Why You Should Use DemandScience

Our core selling point is our smart and live data. We aren’t one of those companies that concoct a list and then keeps selling it for years without any updates. We know how quickly contacts can change in the B2B world. Instead, we track individual contacts and update their information as they move from one job to the next. These live data updates mean that you spend less time chasing dead email addresses and more time talking to real people.

There are many perks to using Leadiro, and they all run contrary to what critics say about buying email databases. Instead of just showing names and email addresses, our lists provide detailed firmographic information. You can use these details for list segmentation and message personalization. Instead of selling you lists of contacts you already have. Meanwhile, we give buyers the option to “suppress” connections. This way, you only ever pay for new leads.

When you buy a list of business emails from DemandScience, you get something reliable, up-to-date, and complete. We know that what we do goes against the reputation of our industry. We are proud of that fact. We are also proud of all the B2B companies that we’ve helped reach the next level. If you are ready to take your business to the next level, click here to give DemandScience a try.

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