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8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Email Leads

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Email Leads

Marketers and savvy business owners know that email marketing is one of the leading ways to sell your goods and services. According to, email marketing has an incredibly high return on investment at $40 for every $1 that’s spent. Building your email marketing list with organic leads should be a priority. However, how you go about building that list is something that you need to seriously consider. You should never purchase paid leads or email lists despite email being one of your best lead sources – here’s 8 key reasons why.

Email Paid Leads

1. First and Foremost: You’ll be in Violation of CAN-SPAM Laws

The CAN-SPAM Act  Laws also known as CASL (in Canada) lay out how you can and cannot contact people via email for commercial purposes. The law says that you have to get permission directly from the contact before communicating with them. For example, this means that before you can send a prospective customer a newsletter via email, they have to sign up for your newsletter list. Simply signing them up without their permission and then sending them an email is in violation of this law. If you don’t comply with this law, you can be fined thousands of dollars per email sent. Kind of a serious point to pay attention to!

2. You Won’t Reach Your Overarching Marketing Goals

The first question you should ask yourself is, “What am I trying to accomplish with this email list?” If the answer is something like “get more sales” or “drive traffic to my blog,” you need to determine how – or if – paid email lists will even help you. Paying for leads doesn’t mean you’re collecting email addresses of people who are actually interested in your product or service. Though these people may say that they’re fine with receiving information from affiliated companies, they don’t necessarily want or care about information from your company. In essence, these paid leads are likely not even your ideal client–meaning they will not result in a solid conversion.

3. Email Service/Automation Providers Hate Them

Most email service providers (ESP) and email marketing automation services (Infusionsoft, HubSpot, Constant Contact, AWeber, & MailChimp to name a few) state right in their terms of use that you cannot use paid leads or email addresses from people who don’t give you permission to contact them. If the ESP catches on to what you’re doing, they could shut you down completely. Why? When you send to low quality leads, the delivery rate is affected because many of those email addresses will have a low score. This lowers the overall rates for the ESP, which hurts all their client, which they obviously don’t want.

4. Uh Oh… You May Be Caught By a Spam Trap

There are some email addresses out there that are specifically designed to catch spam. If you have one of those email addresses on your email lists because they were part of a paid list, and then you send an email to that address, it will identify your email address as spam. This means that your IP address’ reputation can be ruined, which can take years to rebuild, if you ever do.

5. Your Engagement Rate Will Take a Hit

Engagement rate is the most important statistic when it comes to email campaigns. If the number of subscribers goes up, but those subscribers are from paid lists instead of people who truly want your content, your engagement rate will plummet. It’s always better to have fewer subscribers with higher engagement than more subscribers with a low rate of engagement. When it comes to email marketing, quality trumps quantity.

6. It’s Impossible to Confirm the Validity of Paid Leads

When you purchase an email list, it’s nearly impossible to determine if the email addresses included on it are legit. You don’t know if they’re relevant to your business, or if they’re even valid or active at all. This can result in everything from unopened emails to bounced emails, all of which will drag down your statistics.

There’s practically no way to confirm the validity of all the paid leads you’ll get when you purchase an email list, and even if you could research each and every one, it’s a complete waste of your resources. Let’s get something straight here; people on this purchased or rented email list (you just acquired) don’t even know you, and they’ve likely never heard of your business. So when they start receiving emails from you – do you know what could happen? Uh Oh – They mark you as “Spam”,  because they don’t know who you are and/or they don’t remember opting in to receive any communications from your business.

7. Paying for Leads is Costly

Paying for an email list isn’t cheap. Providers who sell email marketing lists know how valuable their product is and how desperate the purchaser may be. Even if they have emailed lists full of crappy subscribers, the demand for subscribers is still so high that they can set a high price tag. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll never get out of a paid list what you put into it, though.

Your marketing budget is better spent on things like hiring a quality content writer, promoting your services on social media and investing in Google Ads. Encourage people to signup for your mailing list this way instead of wasting money on subscribers who don’t want to be there in the first place.

8. There’s a Reason Why Experts Don’t Recommend It

If you ever hear a marketer talk about how to build an email list, you’ll notice that their tactics vary greatly from another marketer’s. You could talk to 20 specialists and find that they each use different tactics and techniques to build their email list. However, the one common denominator you’ll find is that not one of them will suggest paying for leads. In an industry where there are all types of solutions that will work, it’s notable that the one thing everyone agrees on is that you should never, ever pay for email addresses.

Don’t fall into the trap that far too many marketers and business owners have by paying for email leads. You could seriously set your business back or, worse yet, destroy your online reputation. Organic leads may take more time to cultivate, but it’s a better long-term solution. Not to mention, you’ll be communicating with people that are interested in your information, and/or products and services.

To learn more about how to grow your business with content strategies, contact us regarding our content marketing certification.

About the Author

George Gill is the founder of GILL Solutions. He lives in Peterborough Canada, and is an avid learner, passionate trainer and speaker. For over 20+ years, he's helped businesses implement growth strategies and systems to consistently out perform their expectations. Measurement is always key!

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