Sudheer Kiran

Sudheer Kiran

Digital Marketing Consultant

Buying Email Lists? Do’s & Don’ts and Mistakes to Avoid

In this overcrowded marketplace, reaching your targeted prospects is more harder than ever. Data is the most crucial aspect of any marketing campaign these days.

Your first-party data is the most valuable marketing asset. I always recommend the first-party data for marketing campaigns because all your contacts already know about you and your business.

Yes, BUT…

  • What if you just started your business and wanted to reach targeted prospects?
  • What if you don’t have the enough first-party data which was built from your website or events
  • What if you want to expand your business and want to reach more people?

Should you wait till you built your opt-in list and do the marketing campaign?

Nope, You Can Buy Third-Party Email Lists for your Email Marketing Campaigns

Every business is in the business to make money, And no business can wait for 6 months or 1 year to built first-party data and then do their marketing campaigns. This is why third-party data vendors like Hoovers, Thomson Data, ExperianInfoUSA have become million dollars companies.

Data is the King, but the quality of your data will decide if you can rule or not. 

Here is the list of Do’s and Don’ts of purchasing email lists.

Do’s of Buying Email Lists

    • 1. Reputable Data Vendors

Do your research and find a reputable list vendor for your email list needs. Don’t just jump for more contacts or for cheap price. If saving few dollars can tempt you then you’ll ended up by buying crap and then you’ll get a crap out of it.

    • 2. Get a custom list rather than a pre-packaged list

Never buy a pre-packaged list which was already built and kept it for a while. Always opt for real-time list building services. And, be specific with your selects like geography, demographics and other targeted titles.

    • 3. Clean your list

No one can guarantee your contacts will be the same from the day you bought it. Companies might close, positions may change, people might leave. So, you need to clean your list at least once in a quarter.

    • 4. Segment Your List

Do segment your list based on geography, gender or position. This is up to you to choose on what parameters you want to segment your list based on the nature of your business. For B2C businesses, I recommend for geographic segmentation and run the campaign at the right time. For B2B businesses, I recommend for demographic segmentation and run different campains for different selects.

    • 5. Sender Authentication

Choose the right service provider to send your email campaign. Most of the email marketing service providers do not accept any third-party data to do the campaigns using their servers. I recommend to do it from your own servers which are not blacklisted anywhere.

    • 6. Subject Line and Body of your email

Subject line and body of your email plays a vital role for any email marketing campaigns. Do follow the email marketing best practices and avoid spam words from subject lines and body of your email.

    • 7. A/B Testing

Test your campaigns for multiple times with internal teams or with a specific geography and choose the best version to do the final email blast.

    • 8. Time of Sending

The time of sending an email also impacts the performance of your marketing campaign. So, be specific and send your campaigns at the right time to the right audience.

Don’ts of Buying Email Lists

    • 1. DON’T purchase generic email aliases

Never buy any generic email addresses like gmail, yahoo, aol,..etc; They always end up reaching wrong persons. Always ask for business email addresses to reach the right person.

    • 2. DON’T rent an email list

Renting an email list is not always a bad idea, but you need to comprise for the quality of your list. You will not be having total control on your list and different companies can use the same list.

    • 3. DON’T buy a pre-packaged list

Pre-packaged list is a list which was already built and kept it for a while. Here also you need to compromise for the quality and deliverability of the list. I only recommend for pre-packaged list if you don’t have enough time and you’re really hurry to do the campaign.

    • 4. DON’T purchase lists too often

Purchasing email lists very often will effect on the reputation of your brand. Invest on other marketing channels like SEO, PPC, Social Media and start building your brand value and try to expand the reach of your business.

    • 5. DON’T overestimate the performance of a purchased list

Purchasing an email list for your marketing campaigns is the quickest and easiest way to reach your targeted prospects. Don’t overestimate the performance of a purchased email list because your contacts don’t know who you’re with your first marketing message.


I’m sure that all marketing experts and marketing agencies who are recommending not to buy email lists are the ones who have already bought and run their marketing campaigns in initial days. Not only because it is the only way to quickly reach your targeted prospects but also cost effective. You can always buy third-party data, but you need choose the right list vendor and follow the best email marketing practices to boost your email response rates.

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