Avoid the Awful Shortcut of Buying Email Lists at Any Cost!


Buying email lists for bulk email marketing sounds easy process, right? Are you planning to do so? But remember that following shortcuts is not always a good trick. It may turn your email marketing effort into a real nightmare.

A marketer can gather email addresses in two ways. Such as creating an organic one by themself or buying readymade email lists from someone else or any third-party sources. But do not forget that already-made things often turn out to be unworthy. 

Perhaps, your company is new, small, or a new startup. You might think, – ‘why don’t I buy email lists for the first email marketing campaign only.’ There is a common phrase – “First impression is the last impression.” So, don’t break your brand reputation like this at the beginning of your journey.

What are the problems with buying email lists?

Here are some absolute problems that you will face when you may prepare to buy email lists –

Email list quality issue

Any email list you purchase may include some incorrect or invalid email addresses. Furthermore, there is no way to understand if the purchased email list has outdated email addresses. The email list provider source could claim to be delivering an updated and secured email list to you. Do not fall into their trap by seeing their lucrative ads. The list is likely to contain many inactive emails if it is older than two or three years. And you will never know how old the list is; at least, the email list provider may not tell you honestly.

Furthermore, making personalized emails for your potential target customers with the purchased email list is quite difficult. If you buy an email list, you know almost nothing about the list’s address demographic. Ultimately you are ready to send messages to strangers. And strangers cannot be your potential customers at all. There is a massive chance that strangers (email receivers) ignore your email directly as they don’t know you. Therefore, you will send a generalized email campaign to the stranger’s email address. And as a result, your entire effort will become worthless sooner than later.

Another worrying fact is the high probability of hacker cyber attacks. When you buy an unsolicited email list, cybercriminals’ email addresses may exist in that email list too. They can easily hack your system and collect sensitive information. That is why you should always cross-check, update and verify your email list, even if you have it organically. So, do not underestimate this security threat at all.

Lastly, buying an email list is the wrong way to spend money and effort. A purchased email list does not contain valid email address data. Consequently, if you buy an email list, you will not get any return on your investment (ROI) in the long run. Your entire investment in purchasing email lists will be pointless and fruitless in the end.

Affect the overall email marketing KPIs

Your email marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) will be affected if you purchase an email list for bulk email marketing. Email marketing KPIs contain a couple of crucial elements. Such as email bounce rate, delivery rate, open rate, click-through rate (CTR), spam rate, bounce rate, and so on. So a purchased email list is enough to decrease all KPIs scores drastically. Therefore, you must create your email list with appropriate research and segmentation to raise all the KPIs components.

Legality issues

In terms of email marketing, there are a few laws that you need to maintain. Moreover, countries have different rules and regulations regarding email marketing. And buying email lists is illegal and prohibited when the approach is sending unsolicited bulk emails. Unsolicited bulk emailing refers to emailing mass people without knowing them or their consent. It increases the spam and complaint rate rapidly. Therefore, most countries prohibit these acts and sometimes ban these users.

The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) Act states that a business must need a correct email opt-in option to collect the customer’s email address. Similarly, the US CAN-SPAM Act states that there must be an email opt-out option (to unsubscribe the email) in every email the receiver gets. Because they strongly discourage any unsolicited bulk email activities. Aside from these acts, many other countries have restricted unsolicited bulk email practices.

Therefore, you must uphold the regulations mentioned above. You should consider every direction carefully to build a reputed brand image. So, create your custom organic email list rather than buying email lists from third parties.

Obligations from ESPs

Last but not least, all the renowned ESPs (Email Service Providers) do not allow sending any unsolicited bulk email activities. All the ESPs will strictly follow the country’s laws on email marketing. Besides, they highly encourage email marketers to avoid spam attempts. Therefore, the ESPs apply a zero-tolerance policy and consider all unsolicited bulk emails as spam emails.

You cannot use Amazon SES to send unsolicited bulk emails or other types of messages, promotions, ads, or newsletters.

Amazon SES policy

Moreover, Amazon may investigate any suspected users in violation of this policy. And freeze, remove, or temporarily disable access to any user content that violates this policy.

Alternative ways of buying email lists

To ensure a good future for your business, you have no other choice rather than create and grow a custom email list. To market your solution, you have to start with a smart move. Building your email lists will help you target your potential customers personally. Here are three significant ways that you need to follow:

  • Use opt-in form
  • Collect email addresses from social media
  • Collect email addresses offline

1Use Opt-In form

Opt-In form (sign-up form) is a popular way to collect email addresses. There are two ways to the Opt-In process – Single Opt-In and Double Opt-In. Both have different pros and cons. However, using the Opt-In form is a must. You should use the Opt-In form on your website or landing page. Moreover, you can combine your website or landing page’s CTA button with an Opt-In sign-up process. An Opt-In form is an effective way to get the email address of your potential target customers.

An example of an Opt-In form by Leadpages
Source: Leadpages – An example of an Opt-In form after clicking the action.

However, the Double Opt-In process is considerably more practical. Here your customer gives you permission in a two steps process. Moreover, it is a legitimate process because you are not collecting your subscriber’s email address hiddenly, as in the Single Opt-In process. Thus, you can gain customer trust that you are not doing anything without letting them know. And, you will meet higher engagement and better results since your subscribers willingly permit you.

2Collect email addresses from social media

You can not depend only on your website or landing page to collect and grow your email list. Many people might not visit your website or landing page at all. Therefore, you can use social media to gather your potential customer’s email addresses and create a buyer’s persona. Linkedin (especially), Facebook, and Twitter are the top three social media platforms to reach out to your potential customers.

An example of a social media campaign of the Headspace brand by Sprout Social
Source: Sprout Social – An example of a social media campaign of the Headspace brand.

Then what could be the source of collecting their email address on those vast social media servers? The answer is – “Your competitor.” You can visit competitors’ social media pages and groups to reach out to potential customers. Then you should create your own buyer persona according to your research and required analysis. After that, you may complete and run social media ads, tutorials, or campaigns to target your potential customers. After a certain period, you can get a lot of responses from the audience. And you have to use the Double Opt-In process in your social media campaign. Remember, you must make a social media campaign according to the buyer’s persona to get valid email addresses.

Tips: Include any social proof, whether written or visual — against your social media effort. It will psychologically create acceptance and trust regarding your content. As a result, the chance of responding to your social media post will increase.

3Collect email addresses offline

Collecting email addresses offline is a bit challenging process but also a very effective one. Here you have to target some offline events, gatherings, trade shows, trade fairs, etc. You should target events related to your brand and brand messages. You can arrange a set-up in a corner where people can see your activities and come to you willingly for sign-up registration. But providing incentives, gifts, or special registration offers can catch many people’s attention. Thus the public may voluntarily register for your services.

Suppose you have a small business where you sell ‘mobile accessories.’ So, to find out your potential customer, you may visit an “IT Expo” fair. You can get many tech people’s attention there if you’re collecting information with a technical approach in a diversified way from others.


Collecting and growing an email list might take time and effort as well. It is correct; you will get a lot of email addresses, data, and information quickly if you buy email lists. But remember, bigger is not always better. You must maintain the quality of your email list rather than focusing on the quantity. So, instead of taking the shortcut, go for the Opt-in process and the two other approaches mentioned earlier. The MailBluster team also strongly advises you to use the Double Opt-In process. 

So, grow your email list naturally. If you consider developing an organic email list, you will eventually see a significant investment return (ROI) over time. Therefore, stay away from the shortcut of buying email lists from solicited buyers.


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