Why you should never purchase mailing lists

Why you should never purchase mailing lists

When you closely observe all the successful businesses today, they owe it to their homegrown marketing strategies and their relationship with customers. Though the medium, model, and scale of all successful businesses vary, there is a common attribute that all of them share. Yes, it's the loyal customer base. Though we use technology to whip up fancy marketing channels and tools, it is customers who drive a business.

This takes us to the question, "How long will it take to build a loyal customer base?". We know it can't be built overnight—it will definitely take a while, even if you follow the right strategy. Some marketers, in search of quick results, may choose to purchase mailing lists to quickly bulk up their customer base. However, this move will bring repercussions on a wider scale.

Purchased mailing lists are bad for your business as they will damage the reputation of your sender domain and IP address. They will also seriously affect inbox placement and prevent you from achieving your conversion goals. Let's dive deep and learn more on why using purchased mailing lists is a bad idea.

Violation of CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and other laws

Laws and regulations like GDPR, CAN-SPAM, etc. have been deployed to monitor commercial and transactional email activity. Also, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other similar acts have given consumers the right to know about their personal information a business collects and how it is used and shared. When marketers purchase mailing lists and send emails without getting consent, they violate these laws. Violating these laws may earn a negative reputation for the business and lead to legal issues.

Account and campaign suspension

Purchased mailing lists will contain inactive and invalid email addresses, spam traps, and email addresses of people who may not need the products/services offered by your business. When you send emails to purchased mailing lists, your emails will bounce, likely receiving spam markings and complaints.

At Zoho Campaigns, we have defined threshold values for spam and bounce rate and mentioned it in our terms of use. When the spam or bounce rate of a campaign exceeds the threshold value, we will temporarily suspend campaign sending for the user. Also, when a campaign receives a lot of unsubscribes, we will temporarily suspend campaign sending for the user.

Anti-spam complaints

When you send emails to purchased mailing lists, some recipients may report it to anti-spam services like Spamhauss, SpamCop, etc. These anti-spam services will inform the email marketing service providers through which the emails were sent. At Zoho Campaigns, we take anti-spam complaints seriously and take stringent actions against the user.

High email bounce

As mentioned earlier, mailing lists that are sold will contain a lot of invalid email addresses. When you send emails to these mailing lists, they will definitely bounce. When a lot of your emails bounce, it will incur a negative reputation for the sender domain and IP address. Also high bounce rates will get you into the bad books of mailbox providers and anti-spam services. If your email campaigns have a high bounce rate, mailbox providers may not offer inbox placement for your future campaigns.

Spam markings

Purchased lists not only have invalid email addresses but also email addresses of people who have neither opted to receive your emails nor are planning to use your business/service. When you send emails to those mailing lists, recipients might mark your emails as spam. When your campaign receives a lot of spam markings, the reputation of your sender domain and IP address will get tarnished.

Spam trap hits

Mailbox providers and anti-spam services use spam traps to identify marketers who implement unhygienic sending practices. Spam traps are email addresses that may look real, but are not used for any type of communication. There are three types of spam traps.

Pristine spam traps

Mailbox providers and anti-spam services create email addresses and embed them in public websites. These email addresses can never be used to send and receive emails. These specially designed email addresses are used to identify spammers and marketers with poor mailing list-building practices.

Recycled spam traps

Mailbox providers may use expired email addresses of their users as spam traps.

Emails with typos

Email addresses with typos like "john@gmali.com", "Patricia@yaho.com" may also be used as spam traps. Though these spam traps aren't as severe as pristine and recycled spam traps, sending emails to such email addresses over a period may earn a negative reputation from mailbox providers and anti-spam services.

Purchased mailing lists will have a lot of these spam traps. When marketers send emails to purchased mailing lists, it will get them into the bad books of mailbox providers and anti-spam services. The sender domain and IP address will earn a negative reputation and may even get blacklisted.

IP address and sender domain will get blacklisted

Mailbox providers and anti-spam services consider spam trap hits, high bounce rate, and spam markings to be negative signals. If your campaigns receive spam trap hits, spam markings, and have a high bounce rate over a period, mailbox providers and anti-spam services might blacklist your sender domain and IP address.

Poor conversions

An email campaign will be considered successful only if recipients open your email, click the links in them, and purchase your product/service. The last thing marketers would want is their emails being left unopened. If you send emails to purchased mailing lists, most of your emails may remain unopened. When recipients don't open your emails, you won't be able to hit your conversion goals. Using purchased mailing lists will definitely lay waste to the effort you put into crafting the campaign.

Tips to grow your mailing list

So what are your options to increase the size of your mailing list without purchasing one? You can organically grow your mailing list by using the double-opt-in technique. The double-opt-in technique is a two-step process where you first collect the email addresses of potential leads and send an email asking them if they are interested in receiving your emails. This will ensure that only interested contacts enter your mailing list. Using signup forms, organizing events, and running social media campaigns can help you grow your mailing list effectively.

Marketers must understand that it is the quality of their mailing lists—not their size—that determines the performance of their campaigns. An organically grown customer base that may look smaller in size is more potent than a huge customer base that's built by purchasing mailing lists. The only way to build a loyal customer base is by growing your mailing lists organically. Though it takes some time, an organically built customer base will give you magical results, whereas purchased mailing lists will only dent your chances of hitting your conversion goals.

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