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What questions you should ask a list owner, when renting a mailing list

If your online business is rapidly growing and you've tasted the first victory of running a successful bulk e-mail marketing campaign, the first question you ask yourself is how and where do I get more e-mails. While gathering addresses yourself provides a number of advantages it may be too slow. One of the way to get additional e-mail addresses without spending too much money is to rent a mailing list. But as the experience of may online marketers has shown this task may be more difficult than you imagine.

So there are some critical question you have to ask a list owner before making a decision to rent a list.

  • How and where were these e-mails collected? Are they opt-in (meaning the users have given up their addresses voluntarily) or not? Marketing professionals know that opt-in lists greatly outperform opt-out lists. They have lower opt-out rates, have fewer complaints and delivery issues, and guarantee you lack of any legal problems.

  • How often do the subscribers on the list receive offers from other marketers? List fatigue quickly kills performance. A frequency cap, which is a limit to how many marketers use a given list, can ensure lists aren't overmailed. If a list manager can't provide the details on mailing frequency, look elsewhere for another company that offers lists.

  • Are new names added to the list regularly? How promptly are the unsubscribes removed from the list? Frequent uploads of new names and instant suppression of unsubscribes are a must for any modern e-marketer. You do not want your brand to be associated with spammers by those who unsubscribed but still receive your mailings before their request is processed.

  • What do the message headers, footers and the sender line look like? The headers and footers should clearly explain why the recipient is receiving your promotional offer and provide adequate instructions for updating a profile or unsubscribing. Grabbing attention in a cluttered inbox requires an easily recognized sender line because recipients often delete or ignore messages that arrive from any unfamiliar source.

  • What is the target audience of the list, if there is any? Were recipients selected because of specific areas of interest? Running a successful marketing campaign means being able to select appropriate demographics. Before making a purchasing decision you may want to use limited, untargeted mailings as a control to measure effectiveness of targeted list you are about to buy.

Relevant links:

    • Article about buying and renting mailing lists
    • Making the effective bulk email campaing

Next week: How long should be your message?
Prev week: Prospective Markets for E-Marketing

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