Renting a third-party email marketing list is not always a good idea. Most places you look, you'll find that experts advise against it—here at Winbox, we’ve cautioned against using a mailing list that you haven't created through your own, organic customer acquisition process.
The reasons are myriad. Many third-party mailing lists are out of date, using old information, leading to dead emails or customers who won't remember what they signed up for. Many don't use legitimate subscription techniques, acquiring emails from dubious sources where the customers did not opt in and their info has been sold on.
When you use an unreliable mailing list, not only is it likely to be a waste of money, but you could be singled out as a spammer. So is there ever a good reason to rent a third-party mailing list?
In the end, all of the problems listed above have to do with using an unreliable source—a seller who can't be trusted, who hasn't vetted their own mailing list and whose means of acquiring their lists probably aren't entirely above board.
But in theory, it's possible to find trusted, reliable sellers. Essentially, any of the demands you would normally make of your own mailing list, in order to ensure its quality and not to be guilty of spamming, can be made of those who sell them.
For instance, the mailing list should be targeted and if it’s not, there’s very little point in renting. The advice still stands that you should always try to build your own email lists, but if you do go for the renting option, you’ll only see results if you can ensure that your content is relevant to the recipients. If you’re sending emails to someone who hasn’t specifically signed up for them, you have to work a lot harder to grab their attention and get any kind of decent result.
At the very least, the seller should be able to provide a mailing list according to a specific demographic or area of interest, and the more specific, the better. Similarly, it shouldn't contain emails which aren't likely to be owned by specific individuals, such as generic company-style info@ and contact@ addresses.
Even if you trust the seller, you will always need to do your own vetting. To ensure that the list is clean, and that there are no dead or junk emails, you need to be able to scrub the list yourself before using it. A good provider will be able to tell you how often list data is cleaned and updated, but you should do your own checks as well. You can use validation tools such as BriteVerify that will root out junk emails.
Even a reputable seller should never be totally relied upon, and nor should purchasing a mailing list ever be viewed as the be all and end all of your marketing strategy. Keep an eye on your campaigns, do frequent A/B testing, and don't expect amazing results.
As with anything, the key is careful moderation. Renting a third-party mailing list from a reputable seller is conceivably beneficial, but should always be done with thorough checks and in the context of diligent list cultivation.
For more help with generating a quality mailing list and creating an effective email marketing campaign, contact Marc @ Winbox. Start generating leads for your campaigns with packages starting from £199.