Buying a List Should Not be on Your List

February 15, 2010


In searching for keywords that people use when seeking information about email newsletters, I made a rather disturbing discovery. The No. 1 term searched for was “email lists.” Apparently, last month more people searched for information on purchasing a list of email addresses than newsletter design, writing, deliverability or email marketing combined. And the news only gets worse. Nine of the top 20 search terms related to email newsletters had the word “list” in them. It became quite obvious to me (I’m quick that way) that some marketers are more interested in getting their message to as many people as possible than crafting whatever the message actually is.

New messageNot to be a negative Nellie, but this is not a good indicator of sound judgment – much less knowledge of spam laws. Sending an email newsletter about your company to clients, (qualified) prospects and other legitimate contacts should be about building relationships with those who have given you permission to communicate with them.

It is about delivering content created specifically for that audience. It is about building loyalty. Sending email newsletters to a list gathered by a third party based on demographics is an absolute waste of time and money. Even if it gets past the spam filters, few recipients welcome unexpected email from someone they don’t know.

That is no way to begin a business relationship. Be patient and gather your email addresses the old-fashioned way. Ask for them. Then you will have a list of recipients who should actually be anxious to hear from you. And that is a good thing.



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