Abandon all hope ye who enter here looking for an easy solution.

Creating an engaged audience takes time, effort and nurturing. Let us breakdown for you the 6 biggest threats in buying databases for your email marketing campaigns:

  1. LEGAL ISSUES. Opt-in contacts are industry and legal standards for commercial emails. Basically, when a user explicitly authorizes external companies to send him email, it becomes opt-in. The problem is, these contacts became opt-in for the entity who generated them, not for the one who buys it. Aside from legal aspects, opt-in databases are a strong indicator of the conversion potential.
  2. DELIVERABILITY. This concept affects spammers like holy water affects demons. It’s the Kryptonite of purchased mailing lists, like garlic to vampires, like… I think you got it by now. The point is, when you blast a purchased mailing list, bounce rates and failed delivery status will jump through the roof, you will be caught in spam traps, get blacklisted, eventually damaging your IP and Domains reputation and compromising all future deliverability. Yes, all of it: Even ESP’s will froze your account and enquire you about the legitimacy of your contacts.
  3. CONVERSION POTENTIAL. Most of purchased mailing lists are filled with old, deactivated, obsolete contacts. You get no access to fundamental aspects such as where the contacts were generated and how long ago. New users are active users and this has a direct impact on the conversion potential. Plus, none of the contacts in an acquired mailing list has shown any interest, in any way, on your business.
  4. BRAND AWARENESS. Building a brand is a lot like being a dad. You must make the baby, which is normally the coolest part for beginners, then once it’s out, you must feed it, make it big and strong, so it can go out to the world and matter. Don’t let your kid take the easy road and don’t feed him fast-food. Creating a brand is challenging enough, don’t make your job harder by associating it with bad industry practices.
  5. DON’T BE THAT GUY. Whenever I have a family meeting, my Uncle Phil insists in isolating a family member so he can start telling stories that no one really wants to know. He brags about how his parrots talk to him, and how their feathers are all soft and white… Bottom line, don’t be the Email Marketing Uncle Phil! Email is a personal contact and you can either be very welcome or very intrusive. If people didn’t sign up to hear about you, they probably don’t want to hear about you… at least not right now.
  6. JUST DON’T. Think about it for a sec. If the database is out there, you won’t be the only one purchasing it. Plus, even if you do everything right (which is not the case…), other people will be using these contacts in many ways, burning the, already small, conversion potential.

Be part of the solution and choose Quality over Quantity. As appealing as it might seem, as marketers and managers, we are dealing with enough market pollution, while fighting to keep the standards alive and well. Don’t believe in pushing your message, but pulling your audience towards you, engaging them, taking care of their interests and needs.

Creating a database takes action, effort, strategic planning and nurturing. However, the advantages of doing so are overwhelming.