Mailerlite* offers a fully featured free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers and Drip* offers a free plan for up to 100 subscribers. Mailerlite is great for simplicity and Drip is best if you need advanced automation.
If the list is small (say, under 100,000 records), maybe you could do this. Maybe not. But you have to be aware of the fact that sending a high quantity of promotional email out using your own email server could very well put your ability to send regular business email at risk.
And let’s say I implement your “content upgrade” strategy on a particular post, by including an opt-in form at the end of the post. If people sign up via that opt-in form, they will get a beautiful PDF file that summarizes that post.
I bought a computer that did automated calling in the 90s for about $ 7000 and the result was a disaster. Probably not even .001 % ROI. Its been a while and I was considering buying an email list but after reading your comments, I will not do this. What about fax blasting? Is that an option?

When you’re out in the world at a tradeshow, business meeting or other public forum, use your smartphone to collect email addresses. And be sure to include an email opt-in with your business’ mobile app. If you offer the app for free download through your website, “charge” users the “price” of their email address in order to download the app.
4) Access. Create a membership level for information and community that starts with registering. This can be done with membership software like WishListMember or even through a WordPress plugin that reveals additional content to registered users.
To get some insight into the legal issues of buying or renting lists, we consulted with R. Daniel Faust, an attorney at House, Reynolds, and Faust LLP in Indianapolis and posed the question to him. On the subject of whether it’s illegal to buy/rent lists, Faust states:
I always Validate the Email Data first on all my lists, get all the data. You have to wash your email contacts first so you are compliant with Can Spam (#1) as well as to avoid IP Bans, blacklisting, bounce backs.
I am a scientist. My e-mail has been drawn from publicly-available sites related to science. My name and e-mail is being sold as part of a 7 Million+ e-mail list to biomedical companies and anyone who wants to buy targeted lists. I NEVER gave permission to use my name and e-mail and in fact requested that my name be removed. The company continues to make profits by selling my name + 6.999 million others. I don’t care what country you are from, this is UNETHICAL and ILLEGAL (in my eyes). Of course, who as the money to try and persecute such crooks? Worse yet, if I live in South Africa and the company is selling from India, how can US laws affect or cover me? These guys work across transnational borders because they know that they can operate across international borders online, without any regulation (unless they operate from the US, perhaps). So no fear, no penalties, no recrimination, no fines, just sickening profits from unjust and unfair and illegal marketing methods. Because frauds all abuse innocents.
Really good article. When you start out it’s definitely tempting to buy an email list, but I’m glad that I didn’t do it with my business. I hate when I receive an unsolicited email from a company that I’m not familiar with. I imagine that most people probably feel the same way.
A marketing program will also teach you how to acquire and interpret meaningful data, including how to obtain and analyze marketing lists. By applying the right analytical and statistical tools, you’ll be able to target a direct marketing campaign in order to increase the rate of response, and consequently, the return on investment.
Having more options increased engagement, but FEWER people actually made a choice and purchased a jar of jam! So if people who are overwhelmed with choices often opt to do nothing, what is a marketer to do?
REALLY GETTING THE LIST YOU REQUESTED: Is this really an affluent email list? Is this really an email list of seniors? One way to verify your email list is with a basic Demographic Enhancement Report. Send us a random sample of your email list, and we’ll provide you with a detail Demographic Report ($199) … which will show the age, income, gender, net worth, and other demographic profile of your list. Of course other analytical vendors provide the same report.
Select contacts. Hover your mouse over a contact’s profile picture (or their first initial if they don’t have a picture), then click the checkbox that appears below your cursor and repeat this process for each contact you want to add.
Email addresses are processed to verify deliverability, and IP addresses are checked for legitimacy. We follow all CAN-SPAM laws and suppress opt-outs in compliance with the CAN-SPAM guidelines established for business data.
I agree with the subject matter and disagree to some extent. Yes, it is true that; buying email lists is not ideal because with email marketing, the marketer is expected to have acquired a list through the rightful source and or format. What i mean is that; the person to be emailed must have given their consent to receive updates and or news which means by signing up.
They have made it easy to forward to a friend, and they have included the subscribe option. However, I do think one thing is missing. They aren’t really making it clear what the subscriber will receive – why should they subscribe?
You have lots of options to test here: including a freebie, adding social proof to your opt-in form, creating a “long” form as found on places like QuickSprout, or keeping things relatively minimal, as we do on the Help Scout blog.
Harvesting emails and selling them can get you in a world of trouble. CAN SPAM specifically states that it is illegal to sell and buy email addresses. It is, however, legal to rent a list, but that’s still considered sketchy.
You may append telephone numbers to your mailing list by selecting Mail with Telemarketing Follow-up. You can purchase a telemarketing file that includes only the contact name and phone number without confirmed addresses. Mail-only files do not contain phone numbers.
Do you really need their postal address, job title, date of birth and telephone number? If you don’t really need all that data, don’t ask for it. People are understandably nervous when the form asks for too much personal information.
In other words, don’t send emails that look/sound like spam, and you should be able to steer clear of all spam filters. Most importantly, always set up a double opt-in email list to protect yourself and your subscribers.
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that there were MANY email addresses in the list that started with admin@, advertise@, customerservice@, and webmaster@. These “role-based” email addresses may be valid, but they are certainly not opted in. In fact, there were 284 email addresses that started with “info@,” which is a clear giveaway that this is not an opt-in list.
That is very effective, as it has increased their sign up eleven times! ELEVEN. And as mentioned before, the subscribers you collect when they are in the process of buying are more relevant than any other leads.
The key is to really get your staff on board. Otherwise, you won’t succeed. Convince them that it will add value for the customers and it will shine through when they ask the customers for their email addresses. A nice way to make the staff extra keen is to have competitions between the different stores – who collects the most emails?
Those people don’t know who you are; either they don’t know anything about your products or services. At best they will delete your email, at worse they will hit “Report Spam” button on it. A certain amount of spam complaints and… voila, your account with an ESP is shut down.
Great post Brian. As someone that has stupidly not concentrated on building my list till recently I found this post invaluable to get my list building on the right track. Thank you for this informative and easily understandable post. Bookmarked and shared.
Yes, thousands of contacts are a credit card swipe away, but your email marketing program — a critical part of a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy — will seriously suffer. Curious why buying email lists is a legitimate email marketer’s kiss of death? Read on. Plus, we’ll give you a list of squeaky-clean and effective ways to build your email marketing list in lieu of list buying.
I want a refund! What about refunds? This question reminds me of another victim who bought a 60,000 name boat email list for just $950. A steal! So he thought. A week later his transmission company locked his account … before they even email blasted the list. Transmission company informed that their email cleansing service classified the list as a low quality list … and quality email transmission companies will NOT touch a low quality list … since doing so would damage their reputation with servers (AOL, Gmail, etc). Anyway, the victim called the email list seller for a refund, but after receiving voicemail too many times to tally … he gave up.
Resource-style content such as white papers, eBooks, and infographics is made for promotion. While blog posts and traditional articles are a great way to reach out to people (“Hey, thought you might like this recent piece we did on…”), you can get a lot more mileage out of a broad set of evergreen resources.
We wrote a post awhile back about email list building, and in the course of writing that post, we got the Christmas morning jitters. We wanted to try every single idea we could. And so we did. And wouldn’t you know it, the ideas worked! I’m really happy to share with you our experience from an […]
A better way to grow your email list is through confirmed opt-in, which ensures that the people you are sending emails to want your emails. This also means you will get less unsubscribes. To learn about more effective ways to grow your list, download our free Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing!
Use a reactivation campaign to gauge whether non-responsive subscribers are still reading (just not clicking through or tracking open rates), or if they’ve truly decided to opt out. An example from MarketingProfs is shown here. The language you choose can play a big role in how successful these campaigns are, so be sure to split-test a few versions to maximize response.
I don’t think that this name brand outlet meant to be marketing outlaws, but they were. For years, they were being illegal in their practices, and they very well could have ended up with a lawsuit (or worse). The good news in all of this is that they have since remedied the errors of their ways and added an unsubscribe option to their emails (but even so, it wasn’t a one-click dream).
A naked signup form is not the best marketing tool. To entice your potential subscribers, provide them with a solid reason to give you their email address. If the reader sees a clear benefit, they’ll be more likely to subscribe.
Over the years direct marketing has developed a bad reputation for cluttering up people’s mail boxes with junk mail or generating spam in email inboxes. Many companies engage in opt-in or permission marketing, which limits their mailing or emailing to only those willing to receive it. Companies select communication channels they consider most effective for a particular market. For instance, a new gym may find more success distributing flyers, while a new grocery store prefers to mail promotional coupons to the residents of nearby neighborhoods.
Time of Day Timing is heavily dependent on location, industry, and the type of subscribers who are on your list—there is no ‘right’ answer for which hour of the day is best—but you can come close by testing it via your broadcasts!