Should You Rent an Email List?

Purchasing an email list to incorporate into your house mailing list is generally a bad idea for several reasons. Maybe recipients never wanted to hear from you in the first place. Or you might get reported for spam and your deliverability rate will suffer. But renting an email list can be a valuable experience if you ask the email list renter the right questions.


Will the provider supply you with a list of email addresses to send to?


If the answer is yes, you’re purchasing an email list. Run the other way! More likely than not, that list has been bombarded by countless businesses they never provided with permission in the first place. Under current regulations like CAN-SPAM in the US and GDPR in Europe, you can’t buy permission to email someone directly.


On the other hand, when the list renter asks you to hand over the content of your email and agrees to send the email to their list on your behalf, this is email list rental. With email list rental, the list renter has (supposedly…see the next point) obtained proper permission to send recipients messages from third parties of interest, and you’ll never see the email addresses you’re sending to.


Are the email addresses on the rental company’s list opt-ins?


Make sure the email list renter has previously asked their customers for permission to receive communications from third parties. Don’t be afraid to ask them where specifically on their website signup occurs. If you see the list has been collected openly and honestly, you’re on the right path.


Can recipients easily opt-out of these communications?


Ask the email list renter to show you what the footer of emails they send on behalf of third parties look like. It should clearly state who is sending the email, why they are on the list and how to easily unsubscribe. If all those elements are there, the renter’s list will be clean enough to use.


Who shows as the sender of the emails?


Email list rental companies should send from their own email address and name themselves as the sender alias (the sender name recipients see in their inbox), but beware, some don’t. When you receive an email from a sender you don’t know, what do you do? Delete it without reading or spam it, right? The email sender should always be the company that owns the list, in this case the list rental company. This ensures higher open rates and better deliverability.


Will the email list renter allow you to provide a suppression list?


A suppression list is an export of your own email database that have opted out from your emails or you do not wish to receive your emails, e.g. competitors. While you’re not legally obliged to provide a suppression list, it’s a good assumption that people who have unsubscribed from your list won’t want to hear from you via other lists either. So why pay to send to those recipients?


Does the renter offer list segmentation?


It may sound like a good deal when the renter offers to send your email to its entire list. After all, it’s their loss, right? Wrong, it’s yours too. Over time, by not segmenting their list to target only those segments interested in the content of the email, the renter is guilty of sending irrelevant messages. By the time you give their list a try, their recipients are likely to be tired of getting irrelevant messages. They’ve long since tuned out.


On the other hand, list renters that offer segmentation show they care about delivering messages their customers care about. And that will have a positive impact on your email’s performance.


Will your email’s performance be tracked?


While you can, and should, track on your end how many times your email is opened and how many clickthroughs and conversions you got, ask the email list renter if they also provide these statistics. Responsible renters will be able to provide stats, and it may ultimately save you some time when it comes to evaluating the results.


Do recipients really want to hear about your products?


List segmentation, mentioned above, helps ensure you’re reaching the right audience, but it’s also good to think about why recipients are on the list in the first place. If the list owner sells bicycles and you think your wraparound sunglasses would be of interest to the same audience, you may be right…but would that audience really expect to receive your email from the list owner? Perhaps not.


On the other hand, if the list owner is a trade publication or vertical industry portal, whose mission is to keep their audience informed of new products within the markets they cover, you’ll fare much better. Recipients will expect to hear about your products from the list owner.


Why not try a responsible email list renter?


XPRT’s mission is to connect buyers from an array of industries to the suppliers on our three online marketplaces, Environmental XPRT, Energy XPRT & Agriculture XPRT. We offer responsible email list rentals that meet all of the above standards. You can segment our opted-in list using our online tool to find out how many new customers you could reach by sending an email blast.

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