Should you use rented lists for B2B email marketing?

The issue of renting lists often comes up when a company is first embarking on email newsletter marketing and don’t have what they consider to be a ‘big enough’ list. It also comes up when a marketing department is feeling the pressure to build their mailing lists.

I call this the “Load and Send” syndrome. An urge to get perceived value from email marketing by gathering and sending to as many email addresses as possible. This is where it is important to understand Quality vs. Quantity. Buying in a QUANTITY of addresses may seem like a good move – bulking up your database – but it can turn out to simply be a scatter shot approach, or worse, damaging your brand name, getting a high level of complaints (and blocked from future delivery of your emails), plus land you on spam lists (because honeytrap email addresses on the rented list identifies you as a spammer to ISPs.)

Instead think QUALITY. By this I mean building your own list, and spending time and budget on gathering and using business intelligence on your subscribers so that you can send more timely, targeted and relevant emails. You will get much better results. The more you know about your list, the more relevant the information you can provide, and the better the results.

Build your own list and reap the benefits

If move away from the idea of renting and instead build your own in-house mailing lists, consider spending the money that would have gone to renting lists to reaching the right audience and having them opt-in to your own mailings. Ideas include pay-per-click search engine advertising, ensuring your sign up form appears everywhere: your website, in emails, in your contact form and on your social networks. Another idea, especially when you think along the line of email as a retention tool, is to contact your customers who have not yet provided an email address, and ask them if they would like to sign up to receive relevant emails from your company.

If you are interested in reading in more depth about 3rd party list rental, the DMA has issued a white paper around this topic:

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