Why Sending to Purchased Data is Discouraged

You’ve just started your business, invented a new product or decided to revamp your entire marketing strategy. Only, you don’t have an audience; the number of Twitter followers? Zero. Facebook ‘likes’? Well, you’ve got three of those, but one of them is your mum. Clearly, email is the answer! Why? Because you’ve been told by the company across the road from you that they are sending to purchased data.  Yes, they managed to buy a great big list of subscribers for a couple of hundred quid, and they’re getting incredible results from it already.


Time for a reality check.

Unfortunately, they’re probably lying, and while we’re sure they’re perfectly nice people with good business intentions, they’ve been led up a rather troubling path if they believe purchasing an email subscriber list is a good way to go about a marketing strategy.

If you’re thinking about buying a list of email addresses to use for marketing purposes – stop! Make yourself your favourite hot beverage and settle down to read the following reasons it’s one of the worst decisions you’ll make this week.

Have we laid this on thick enough so far?

Good stuff.

No expert worth their salt recommends it

As you can probably tell from the intro to this blog post, we’re not the sort of marketing company that will recommend you buy an email list. And we join countless reputable experts who will say the exact same thing.

Chances are, you’ll have ended up on this page after a Google search to find out if what you’re planning to do is a good idea. We can almost guarantee that you have several pages in today’s browsing history that contain advice very similar advice to ours:

Don’t start sending to purchased data.

Marketing often divides opinion; few experts share the exact same views on how a campaign should be conducted or analysed; and that’s cool. It keeps us all on our toes and provides some fantastic opportunity for debate. There’s one thing we do agree on, however, and it’s that you should never buy an email marketing list.  As Campaign Monitor point out, it is a huge no-no.

But what if you go against that advice and plonk down several hundred pounds on a list of email addresses?

You’ll have no idea what the quality is like

How was the list assembled? Did the contacts opt-in? Or, did they arrive having been gently nurtured as brand advocates?

Clearly, the answer to the latter is “no”, because they have no idea what brand it is they’re advocating if their address is being put on sale to the entire world.

No matter how legitimately great and well-meaning the seller of the list might look, they simply can’t be trusted. They’ll make all sorts of claims about how brilliant the list is and how every single person on it absolutely wants to be emailed by you, but the truth is rather different.

The emails could be out-of-date, fabricated of illegally harvested from a data breach.


You’ll become one of those really annoying spammers

Ugh. Don’t you hate people and businesses who spam your email inbox? Think about how often you curse as you angrily throw their irrelevant, salesy waffle into the trash.

Now, imagine if you were the spammer. You really don’t want to be that company, do you?

No one likes receiving unsolicited emails. They’re annoying. Unexpected (in the worst way possible).  More importantly, they give people every right to hit the ‘spam’ button.

If that happens to you, your business might be penalised by internet service providers (ISPs), or blocked entirely from ever sending an email again. And even if that doesn’t happen, the people who judge you to be a spammer will hold that impression of your company for an awfully long time.  Are you still considering sending to purchased data?

Because there is more.

Your email marketing tool won’t like you any more

You love your email marketing tool, don’t you? For quite a while now, you’ve developed something of a bond and you can’t really imagine life without one another.

Unfortunately, one sure-fire way to damage that bond and drive a wedge in-between your affections is to upload (or attempt to upload) a dodgy email marketing list.

Your email marketing tool doesn’t like these lists – trust us. Do you really want to damage this wonderful, burgeoning relationship?

To get an idea of how email marketing tools feel about having purchased data crammed into their system, you can read mailingmanager’s anti-spam policy.

You’re joining loads of other people with the same list

Hey, guess what – you’re not the only company to throw caution to the wind and buy this particular email marketing list.  Loads of others have also done the exact same thing.  Many others in the same industry as you have probably started sending to purchased data.

If the list has been particularly popular (for instance, it might be very cheap), the people contained within may already have been hit with a barrage of emails, and you’ll simply be adding to an inbox pile that is making them increasingly angry.

That isn’t the best way to start building a relationship with a potential customer, is it?

The response rate will be rubbish

Yeah, that company across the road might be telling you sending to purchased data works wonders, but they’re either lying or haven’t looked at the analytics properly.

Remember – these people haven’t agreed to receive emails from you. Which means if they do (apart from the fact you’ll be breaking every GDPR law known to man), they’re highly unlikely to open or engage with the message.

Imagine buying this list, spending a significant amount of time on a brilliant campaign, only to find that the eventual send results in absolutely nothing.

Why let a bad email list ruin a great email marketing campaign?

You could face BIG fines when sending to purchased data

Fines for neglecting the GDPR’s stringent rules around personal data are hefty.

These particular fines are often classed as “business killers.”

That is how big they are!

We’ll just leave you with that thought.

Wrapping up

If you’ve purchased an email marketing list in the past, don’t feel too disheartened or as though you’re a bad business person, because you’re not. You were likely misled by some very clever marketing tactics.

The takeaway today is about as simple as they come, and although we’ve made it abundantly clear that sending to a purchased data list is a bad idea, it’s worth repeating: just… don’t.