I’m guessing you get your fair share of spam emails every day. Not just the ’embarassing’ kind of spam emails—offering you dubious ‘enhancements’ or interesting ‘relationship’ advice—but also more the ‘ethical kind’ of spam… emails from other companies offering you their products and services.
B2B emails from companies you’ve never heard of aren’t—to my knowledge—illegal.
But I’m sure you’ll agree… they’re bloody annoying.
It takes time to read, process and delete all of those unsolicited emails.
And even if you have a personal assistant (virtual or otherwise) to do it for you, you’re still paying for their time to delete them.
Which is why I admit I get a tad frustrated at my seminars when I get asked the inevitable question.
And it nearly always happens.
I’ll have just given a presentation on email marketing, during which I recommend the audience do not buy lists of people’s (stranger’s) email addresses, due to the problems that can arrive from that.
I explain how buying lists of email addresses and ‘blasting out’ emails to thousands of complete strangers will get you labelled as a ‘spammer’ — someone who sends Junk email — and that the activity also puts you in serious risk of breaching your Internet Service Provider’s Terms Of Service.
I also explain to my audience that not sending spam is a good way to…
Minimise Death Threats!
One of my old clients actually had a death threat left on his company answerphone late one night – from a chap who was extremely upset he’d received an unsolicited email.
Anyway when my email marketing presentation comes to an end, I have almost every single time had more than one person come up to me and ask…
“Ed, I’ve just been offered the chance to buy a list of 100,000 e-mail addresses — but this is different to what you were talking about because they’re fully ‘opted-in’… so that means I’m okay to buy the list and use it right… right?”
I understand the question, and the reason for the tinge of hope in their voice.
After all, some of these lists of email addresses are less than $100 for 100,000 names and email addresses. So it sounds like an amazing opportunity doesn’t it.
Just buy a large list of ‘opt-in’ emails, ‘blast’ out your sales message… and watch the money roll in, right?
Well, no actually!
Because the people on that list may have “opted-in” to something, and given permission to a person or organisation to email them … but not to the person buying the list of email addresses.
And that’s the absolutely critical distinction.
When someone opts-in they’re giving a specific company or organisation permission to email them.
I frequently opt-in to other companies email newsletters and give them permission to email me when I buy their products, because I’m interested in what they have to say or sell.
However, what I am definitely not doing, when I opt-in to those company communications, is saying “You can give my email to anyone and they now have the right to email me”.
And no, I never give any other company permission to sell my data to any third party. (I always untick the check boxes if I’m ever asked the question.)
In an ideal world we’d all be able to buy a list of one million email addresses and email them freely and build our businesses effortlessly.
But of course (and thankfully) it’s not that easy.
If it was, our inboxes would be so full of unsolicited emails it would render email useless as a means of communication.
Buying email lists is bad for you and for the people on those lists.
However, if you take the time to implement ethical list building tactics, and implement systems that encourage customers and clients and prospects to give you permission to email them… it can literally be a game changer for your business.
And if you’re wondering – ConvertKit is one of the best resources you can use to build a big list of people who actually want you to send them emails.
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