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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Williams

4 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy an Email List

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Are you thinking about buying email lists for your business? Getting 10,000 new contacts instantly does sound enticing but is it worth it? My grandma used to always say that “quilters never cut corners.” As the quilters of our products and services, we should all remember to never cut corners like buying email lists. Here are four reasons why:

1. You Can’t Trust the Quality of the List

Unfortunately, the people who sell email lists are not the most honest. They will tell you many claims about the lists, but there’s a high chance that these lists come with problems like:

  • Email addresses that are not your actual target audience

  • Missing or incomplete data (e.g., wrong names)

  • Out-of-date information (e.g., email addresses that don’t exist or are abandoned)

  • Email addresses illegally harvested from the internet (e.g., people who never consented to be on any email list, which is against the CAN-SPAM Act)

So if you buy these email lists, you risk purchasing a worthless list of email contacts that never wanted to be on any list. You could also be subject to penalties of up to $46,517 for each separate email you send.

2. You Can Damage Your Brand Reputation

Sending emails to people who didn’t agree to be on your email list can label you as a spammer. That’s the worst thing to happen because your emails go directly to people’s spam folders. If you have an email account, you know that you never read spam emails or trust a business in the spam folder. So why should your customers read spam emails and trust a company in the spam folder? Don’t be that business!

3. You’ll Have Poor Email Metrics

Sending unsolicited emails can negatively affect your email metrics. Average open rates are around 20 – 25% for healthy, targeted lists. Lists that you purchase are likely to have far lower open rates. As discussed previously, spamming is the worst thing that can happen. Your email deliverability rate (your ability to land emails in the inbox) will be severely affected. If you get flagged as spam by an email client, your email IP will also get flagged. In the worst-case scenario, your IP can get blacklisted.

4. You’ll Be Denied Access to Email Service Providers

The best email service providers (ESP) don’t allow the use of purchased lists on their servers. ESPs don’t want to enable spammers or promote spammy activity, so they require you to opt-in to all email contacts. If not, you could be subjected to having your account suspended.


Buying Email List Alternatives

The grass isn’t always greener. When building your email lists, you should strive for quality over quantity. It might take you longer to grow your list, but you’ll have more engaged contacts that’ll improve your email performance and revenue. Here are some great alternatives:

Provide Value in the Form of Content

Content is king. Give your target audience something of value, whether it is a blog post, case study, courses, podcasts, or any other media that provides actionable tips or advice. In return, ask for their consent to email them.

Use Email Sign-Up Forms

One of the easiest ways to grow an email list is with a simple sign-up form on your homepage or landing pages. If you want to qualify your contact list, require a double opt-in on these forms. In this case, immediately after someone fills out the form, you should have an auto-response email asking them to confirm their email address. The people who remain on your list are more likely to be engaged with your future emails.

Leverage Social Media

Use social media and create ads to collect email addresses for your email lists. This method is excellent because you can use their robust targeting features to put your email sign-up form in front of your ideal audience instead of waiting for them to come to your site to sign up.

Collect Email Addresses at Events and Trade Shows

There’s nothing wrong with collecting email addresses the old-fashioned way. Next time you are at a trade show or networking event, put out an email sign-up sheet and a pen. You might be surprised at how many people provide their information, especially if you offer an incentive.


Never buy an email list. It’s not worth the money, time, or hassle. Build your email list of potential customers eager to hear from you. Contact MMortal Marketing to help you build your email list today.


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