Should You Buy an Email Database for Your Business?

Digital Marketing

Buying an email database - should you?Editor's Update  05/07/2020: 
Looking to learn how to build an email database? There are many ways to build an email database and grow your customer lists. Email marketing is a cost-effective and high-impact marketing channel, but if your customer database is lacking in numbers or full of errors, your marketing efforts can be redundant. Ways to grow your email database include:

  • optimising website opt-ins
  • ramp up direct mail offers
  • invite customers to join an exclusive club
  • build blog content 
  • encourage forwarding
  • go mobile
  • leverage social media platforms

Read on to learn whether you should purchase an email database.


Expanding a business’ client list can often be hard for starting businesses. Some businesses do hard work and slowly grow their network, while others take the easier path and purchase or rent e-mail lists.

What is an email database?

An email database is a list of email addresses that businesses can purchase. Let’s look at some benefits of purchasing an e-mail database.

Advantages of an email database

First, email lists add more names to the database that a business can send to. Businesses no longer have to personally ask for customer email addresses because they already have a directory to send emails to. since acquiring emails can be an expensive task in itself, buying a high quality e-mail database can actually save you time and money.

Second, there is the perception that the more e-mails sent, the higher the chance of gaining customers. If a business can send at least 10,000 emails, there is a big possibility that some of those e-mails will generate sales, even if it's only just a small percentage.

Disadvantages of an email database 

There are some BUTS when it comes to purchasing email databases, and that is most emails you send to this database will be considered a "cold email". Much like a "cold call" these recipients usually read the email with slight annoyance, as it is considered unsolicited.

Your emails are more likely to end up in the junk mail or spam category and recipients are less likely to open emails from an unknown source due to internet security issues.

To really maximise the database you'll need to get really good at converting unsolicited emails, which is a great skill to have but can be quite challenging.

Another point to consider is spamming and privacy laws. Make sure you purchase the database from a reputable source and ask them what you are permitted and not permitted to do. 

There are certain e-mail providers such as Mailchimp that monitor e-mails that are often considered as spam and will remove lists that have incredibly high unsubscribe rates. Violating this can cause the service provider to block the business from delivering any other messages. For businesses in Australia, they are under the SPAM Act. Under the SPAM act, penalties can reach up to $1 million.

If your business becomes marked as a spammer, your existing customers will suffer from not being able to receive your emails in their inbox because you've been marked as a spammer, the people behind the email addresses you rented whose inbox is now flooded with spam, the ISP's and ESP's who spend untold thousands, maybe even millions on maintaining deliverability to ensure that your emails get through and that SPAM doesn't.

Should you purchase an email database?

When it comes to renting or buying a list, make sure you know why you are buying the list and what you are using it for. Rather, focus your time and efforts on organically growing your list by increasing opt-ins on your site with a prominent newsletter sign-up. Spend money on other means to increase traffic to your site such as SEO and PPC and capture and enrapture your visitors pushing them into the sales funnel via an incentivised newsletter to deliver useful and desirable information. Maintain your communication with those users and bring them back by keeping them satisfied. They become loyal to your brand and the entire process builds and build.

Organic growth is not only the safest, but it's the cheapest and most effective way to get highly qualified users into your sales funnel. Whatever you do, don't become a spammer. The damage you can do to your brand and your reputation can be expensive and timely to undo.


Wendy Huang

Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

I am passionate about helping businesses get online with their own blog or website in just a simple 4 minutes.


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