Email Marketing: Staying the Course in the Face of Temptation

spamTemptation arises from an attraction so strong that it overcomes the restraints of conscience or better judgment (Merriam Webster).

In today’s complex and competitive world of digital marketing, email marketing presents just this type of temptation to marketers striving to deliver fast and furious results to their organizations. Email is something every CEO can understand and it sounds so simple: We buy a list (those list brokers are so enticing!), upload it to our email marketing system or CRM, and start “communicating” via e-blasts to our newfound prospects.  

Unfortunately, this ever-so-tempting way of doing email marketing is met with an equal set of short- and long-term repercussions.

Why Buying Lists is a Bad Idea:

1. You’re spamming.

Spam means “unsolicited bulk email.” So if you’re sending people mass email without their permission, you’re spamming. It really doesn’t matter if the list provider tells you their list is “opt-in” because the fact is, the people on the list really haven’t opted in to receive messages from you. And you’re not going to fool them into thinking they have. Think about your own inbox and how little you appreciate getting emails from companies you don’t know.  It’s unrealistic to think that your message is so awesome that people will overlook the fact that they did not invite you into their mailbox.

2. Reputable email marketing vendors don’t allow it.

If you’ve ever uploaded a list to MailChimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact, or any of the numerous other reputable email marketing or marketing automation providers you will find clear warnings that purchased, rented, or third-party lists of email addresses are prohibited. Why? Purchased lists are likely to elicit spam complaints, bounces, unsubscribes, and other negative reactions. That’s because, as mentioned in #1, it’s likely that what you’re doing is considered spam and when you spam you hurt the deliverability and reputation of everyone else on the email marketer’s shared IP address. A few bad apples spoil the whole barrel.

3. Your list will be dirty.

In the vast majority of cases, brokered lists simply are not high quality lists. Often, the very list you’re purchasing is overcooked. It has already been used and abused by other companies so the people on it are likely overburdened with email. Also, these lists are notorious for having false or out-of-use addresses. Keep in mind, also, list providers tend to be very liberal about what qualifies as a “targeted list” in order to boost the numbers. It’s much more impressive for them to claim they have 100,000 targeted names on a list, rather than just a few thousand.

4. People won’t like you.

“…purchasing a mailing list from a source that claims to hold thousands of email addresses relevant to your business could be the death of your credibility.” – Forbes

Getting email from a company you’ve never heard of, or lack a connection to, is annoying.  When you affiliate your brand with these techniques you harm your credibility in more ways than one.  First, you’re more likely to be blocked and reported as spam by the recipients. Second, your brand can suffer as people begin to associate your brand with “irritating.”  

 5. Your deliverability will suffer.

Referring back to reason #3, a dirty email list is guaranteed to cause deliverability problems. Meaning, your emails won’t even get through to their desired recipient. Silverpop describes it this way: “Dirty mailing lists hurt your deliverability because ISPs will filter or block senders who mail repeat­edly to “bad” addresses, either based on their own observations or via reports from real-time block lists (RBLs) who list names and IP addresses from senders they suspect of spamming.”

6. You can do better!

A hundred perfectly qualified, engaged people who actually want to hear from you is better than a thousand prospects who may or may not care about what you have to say. There is a better way to do this. And once you experience the value of delivering quality content to the leads you’ve earned, we’re betting you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and your results.  


Let us help you design an inbound marketing and email strategy that your customers and prospects will appreciate. Request a consultation.

About the Author

Cristi is president and founder of Spark Inbound Marketing, an inbound marketing agency dedicated to high quality content creation and smart strategies to help companies attract more visitors and leads.

{ no comments }

You can be the first to comment!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.