I periodically hear of people who want to buy a list for email purposes. Personally I believe people will do better if they grow their own list. They know where it comes from and that it is genuine. And for Virtual Assistants I feel it’s important to grow their own lists. But I appreciate for some industries it doesn’t work that way and they need to purchase existing lists.
If you are planning to grow your own list then it’s important to make it easy for people to subscribe via a blog or newsletter, or both. And when you do email clients or others invite them to subscribe. Or send them a sample post or newsletter and invite them to subscribe. Make it clear to them you haven’t added them but would welcome their subscription. I have both a computer database and an online database. They used to be the same when they first began but are now very different. Everyone I’ve had contact with are on my computer database. But only those who want to be on my subscription list are on the online database. It will take time to grow – it’s not an overnight thing.
For those who need to buy a list, how can they be sure that list is 100% genuine? I have often received emails from Australian businesses that I’ve not subscribed to and when I respond and ask how I got on their list, any of the following can occur:
1. No response at all.
2. Response to tell me I can unsubscribe any time.
3. They purchased a list and I was on it.
4. Occasionally a smart aleck response.
I know I can unsubscribe, if they have a link to let me do that, but it doesn’t tell me how I got on there in the first place. Of those who say they purchased a list I ask them who from. I like to try and find out who it is that’s selling my email address without my permission. I also remind them of the anti-spam act in our country and the importance of their adhering to it.
Sometimes it’s because they have taken over another company that I was subscribed to, but they never explain that in the email that is sent out to the newly acquired list. How am I (or any other recipient) to know that Company A has sold to Company B? I challenge people about this and have received apologies and a recognition that they didn’t do the right thing.
And then there are those who just outright spam and do not honour the unsubscribe requests. Tiger Airways has gotten into trouble for this and it was an expensive action on their part.
I encourage you to protect your lists, be careful how you use them, don’t abuse them and honour any requests for unsubscribing. Make it easy for people to unsubscribe – don’t make them have to login before unsubscribing (as I’ve had to do with some). And to protect some from being subscribed to lists without their knowledge, use double opt-in features so that new subscribers have to confirm they want to subscribe. Use systems that help you to manage your email list and abide by the rules relating to email.