Purchasing Email Databases

We don’t have a database available internally to communicate with our prospects. Where do you recommend we purchase an email database?

By Jennifer Manocchio

We highly recommend not purchasing an email list. Most reputable companies like magazines and trade associations do not sell their lists because of spam laws. Be leery of any company that does sell lists because you have no idea where that list came from and if the people on it opted-in.

In the end, you will still be liable for potentially spamming the contacts on that list. Additionally, it could create a major issue with the email system you are using. If recipients mark the email as spam or even worse, call and complain, your IT department will spend hours getting your IP address off black lists, or the email distribution service you are using (like iContact, Constant Contact, JangoMail, etc.) will not allow you to send any more emails.

The best approach is to begin building your own email list internally. You can do this many ways. For example, develop a sign-up form on your web site and advertising/campaign landing pages, gather contact information at trade/consumer shows, hold contests and if you sell product online, add an opt-in for email communication in your checkout process.

In the meantime, “rent” lists from reputable companies like magazines and associations. When you “rent” a list, you send your email message to the company and it distributes the email communication from its server. You will never actually see the names on the list.

When renting lists ensure it is a quality list and that the supplier is following CAN-SPAM Act. Ask the supplier how the list is developed, if all the recipients have opted-in, how often it updates the list and how often the list receives email messages from their company/clients. Also, ask if it is possible to test the list with a small group of contacts prior to committing to renting the list. This will help you gauge the expected response rate.

Finally, when sending email communication to rented lists focus on driving recipients to a landing page on your web site to sign up for special offers, a newsletter, etc. This will help you build your own list. Be sure that process includes an opt-in and that the person signing up has a clear understanding of how often and what you will be emailing them. This process will certainly take time, but it will create a healthy list, be more cost-effective and should produce better response rates in the end.

Need support with your email marketing campaign, contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.

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