- Waste of time and money
That should give you an idea of the general feeling towards buying and using marketing lists.
- Potentially zero returns
- His domain name being blacklisted
- His reputation being tarnished
Taking Steps To Protect Yourself As Much As Possible
- I set up a new domain name for the email delivery/reply to address
- I didn't include any links back to the clients website on the email itself
- I made the email as perfect as I could in terms of introductory tone and purpose
- I crafted a very useful e-Book to send along with the initial email
Source for above data
To give you an idea of just how terribly purchased lists usually perform, here's a screenshot taken from a conversation over on the Smart Insights website:
Dave Chaffey is a member of the team over there and he certainly knows his stuff. So, from this we can say that:
the average open rate for a purchased email list would be between 1% and 2%, with rates closer to 1% being more likely.
This figure seems to be validated by the information provided below too.
The best source of information I have for this comes from MailChimp and Omnivore, it's anti-abuse system.
Here's the information they provide:
The software I use doesn't show the Unsubscribe and SPAM rates in the overview screen, so I have to go into each segment to see. Rather than list 7 images here, here are the screenshots for the largest 2 segments:
As you can see, the unsubscribe rates actually aren't too bad. The average unsubscribe rate across the whole campaign was 0.63%.
To be honest, the click rates were the biggest let down for me, %-wise anyway. The only clickable link we had in the emails was for the e-Book, so at least we know all the clicks were people who chose to look at this.
As you can see from the overview screenshot above, the average click rate worked out to be a little over 0.15%. That is very, very low.
However, if we think that the campaign was sent out to 9209 people, that means that 138 people actually saw our e-Book.
And as we will see below, that figure means something.
This was the figure that surprised me the most. There were absolutely no SPAM reports for this campaign - zero. I'm waiting to see if this changes over the next few days or so - this could be down to slow/erroneous reporting by the software I used.
However, at the moment, we have a 0% SPAM/complaint rate on this campaign.
Part of me feels pretty unprofessional for coming to this conclusion, but in this instance, using a purchased email marketing list did work - without question. Here's why.
My client is a very small business (2 employees) who offer a very high value service. They do not need many clients n their books to be profitable. In this particular campaign, we saw the following:
- 460 people opened the emails (5.02% Open Rate)
- 138 people click the e-Book Link (0.015% Click Rate)
An important point to make here is that I think this campaign only worked because the client offers such a high value service. If the client needed high volume, this campaign would have been a flop. However, they only needed a handful of leads and this was easily delivered in the end.
So, I'd bear that in mind if you are considering such a campaign - do you think you will see a high enough return if your open and click through rates are as low as 5% and 0.015% respectively?
If the answer is yes, then go ahead and give it a shot, if the answer is no, it's probably not worth the risk.
Thanks for reading,
By Alan MacDougall
Got a nagging marketing question?
Ask me here.
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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy advice blog, written to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.