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What to Do With Email Marketing Lists

September 04 2014

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If you're wondering what to do with a purchased email list, the answer is don't use it or upload the email addresses into your real estate contact management system!

Purchased email lists are illegal in Canada under the new CASL legislation. In the U.S. it is legal but those who do it quickly realize they've made a mistake. Why? It just doesn't help you. In fact, it could do more harm than good. When you send unsolicited emails to people who have nothing to do with you, you're likely annoying a whole lot of folks, causing them to quickly hit the delete button or, worse, block you.

Historical training data from Omnivore, MailChimp's anti-abuse system, showed that engagement (opens and clicks), suffers dramatically with purchased email lists. Unsubscribes and complaints on the other hand, dramatically increase.

Email lists are not usually high quality. The email addresses on the list have probably been over-emailed (or, dare I say, spammed) by others who have purchased that list.

As well, purchased lists are often scraped from other websites and are not opt-in. This means that you're emailing people who never agreed to get correspondence in the first place – from anyone!

You also don't want to be reported as a spam or junk mail sender. If you are, emails coming from you will probably automatically bounce.

According to Hubspot'sHubspot's Corey Eridon, "Did you know that there are organizations dedicated to combating email SPAM? Thank goodness, right? They set up a little thing called a honeypot, which is a planted email address that, when harvested and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer.

"Similarly, things called SPAM traps can be created to identify spammy activity; they are set up when an email address yields a hard bounce because it is old or no longer valid but still receives consistent traffic. Fishy, eh? As a result, the email turns into a SPAM trap that stops returning the hard bounce notice, and instead accepts the message and reports the sender as a spammer."

If you're flagged as a spam sender, it can take years to increase your sender score and reestablish the reputation of your IP (and your reputation for that matter).

And have I mentioned the inaccurate and out-of-date data also many times inherent in purchased email lists, despite being promised the contrary? That's right. And a database filled with inaccurate data is a nightmare from a "staying organized" perspective, when you're forced to separate out the good data from the bad and compare the results of your campaigns. Now you have to sort out who actually has agreed to get your emails and who you hasn't. Not a fun task!

You may have heard that earlier this year, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown rented his email listScott Brown rented his email list to a partner who then spammed his email subscribers. This incident almost certainly greatly diminished his trust and credibility in the eyes of some of his most loyal supporters. Buying or renting an email list is simply a bad idea. It's worth the time and extra effort it takes to build your database with opt-in subscribers; people who've come in contact with you at some point and who are actually open to getting your emails and hearing from you.

Do you have any email list horror stories? Questions for us? Please share by leaving a comment below!

To view the original article, visit the IXACT Contact blogIXACT Contact blog.