Why is Purchasing Email Lists a Bad Idea?

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Why you should never buy an email list and how to grow your brand’s email list

Are you looking to buy an email list? Please stop and read this article before you do so. Purchasing an email list may seem a quick and easy way to generate some business. Still, in most cases, it is a waste of your marketing budget and could damage your brand reputation.

We are all looking for quick wins. Sometimes, these shortcuts can be very effective in saving your business time and money. This principle applies to new businesses or established brands, and it is often the main reason companies look to buy an email list.

An email list usually consists of email addresses and other relevant data such as company or organization name, address, phone number, etc. It is probably not difficult to find an email list for sale in your target industry.

As email marketing can be effective in promoting your brand and driving sales, surely buying an email list with a relevant audience is an excellent idea to generate a quick return on investment (ROI)? Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

In this article, we will share some of the reasons why you should never purchase an email list and look at alternative methods to grow your own email list.

You will violate data protection laws

Many email marketers are now legally obliged to grant recipients the choice to opt-out of emails they do not wish to receive. Your subscribers must be able to do this easily within the email message.

However, even if you add an opt-out option to your email campaign, this is not sufficient to comply with the law. Under the GDPR and PDPA, you are required to have explicit consent from your contacts to email them. In the cases when you purchase an email list, the people on the list clearly haven’t been given this option, which makes your company non-compliant with data protection laws before you even begin. Emailing people who have not opted in to your newsletters can damage your brand reputation, and not complying with these laws also comes with heavy fines for businesses.

The list is likely to be ineffective

If the list is for sale, it is likely that the email addresses have already been used many times or are simply not effective for email marketing purposes.

It is possible that at one point in time, the email list may have been valuable but consider how many times the list has likely been used if it’s for sale. Think about why the company is selling the list if it is so valuable? Building an effective email list takes time and resources, so why would a business sell such a valuable asset?

Here are some alternative methods to grow your email list sustainably:

Set up lead generation campaigns

Lead generation campaigns can be an excellent way to quickly grow your email list in a targeted and compliant manner. Lead generation is the acquisition process of attracting potential new customers, which is then followed up by attempting to convert them into purchasing your product or services.

New leads can be generated by creating impactful marketing campaigns that include attractive calls to action (CTAs).

Here are some tactics to consider that can be applied to a lead generation campaign:

  • Share blog posts that offer educational content
  • Run special promotions directly via social media or other PPC advertising that directs to a landing page

One of the key success factors in lead generation is A/B testing or split testing to see what works best for your audience. Your brand should identify creative ways to build campaigns that engage your audience and attract them to your offer.

Demonstrate thought leadership

By creating and sharing valuable, thought-provoking content that showcases your thought leadership in your field, your brand creates the opportunity to build trust and recognition with your target audience.

To be a thought leader, your brand needs to offer value by creating informative content such as podcasts, webinars, listicles, and other blog posts that support your target audience in their quest to be educated about a topic they are interested in.


Email newsletters continue to be one of the most powerful yet simple ways to engage with your customers and target audiences, which can support the growth of your brand. The tips offered in this article will support your business to extract increased value from your email marketing, increasing brand trust and reputation, identifying new opportunities, and leading to more sales.

If you have any questions about creating irresistible newsletter campaigns and email marketing in general, please feel free to contact our expert team at info@relevantaudience.com for more information.

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