When it comes to email marketing, you may have heard that renting or buying email lists is always a bad idea. In the early days of email marketing that was true—recipients were quick to flag emails they weren’t expecting as spam.

But much has changed in the world of email marketing—building lists have become more sophisticated and people expect to receive marketing emails. Today renting or buying lists an accepted practice that makes sense in your overall marketing strategy.

Opt in Lists

Your own house list will always get the best response for you because people have opted into it. But sometimes you need to extend your reach. After all, it’s safe to assume there are a lot of people interested in what you have to offer; they just haven’t met you yet.

Opt-in email marketing lists

Expanding your email campaign with a list you purchase or rent is a good way to build your email list and get in front of people who don’t know you.

Because the recipients don’t expect an email from you, these lists do have lower average response rates than the opt-in list you’ve built organically over time. However, those prospects you do capture have the potential to become loyal customers. Overall, email marketing can be more cost-effective than traditional direct mail marketing.

Buying an Email List

When you purchase a list, you will own it. That means you can use it as often as you want, making it great for multiple touch campaigns. These lists are typically less expensive than rented lists, primarily because you can’t always target them as narrowly as you’d like (and therefore you will likely have names on the list that aren’t ideal prospects).

Renting an Email List

When you rent a list, you are doing just that—renting the list for a one time use. However, since rental lists usually come from trade publications or other highly targeted sources, chances are you’ll reach a larger portion of your ideal audience. Rental lists tend to cost more than purchased list. So rental lists are good for specific promotions that you plan to do just a few times during the year.

Note that most companies will deploy the list for you, so you never get the emails. If that option won’t work for your campaign, buying a list may be the way to go.

Whether buying or renting an email list, it’s important to work with a reputable email list broker who will ensure that you get permission-based list, regardless of whether you’re buying it or renting. So all you need to do is develop an irresistible offer that nobody on the list can refuse.

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