You'll often see terms like opt-in, permission based, signups and subscribed. When used properly, they all mean that the email list is comprised of people who:
There are many vendors out there who sell lists or rent them (though renting means that the list seller maintains ownership and control of the email list). These are collections of email addresses that the vendors sell to any business or individual who can pay the fees. Your email list is considered to be a purchased or shared list if it’s provided to you by a third party, like an email list vendor or affiliate. There's a few ways that vendors build these non opt-in email lists.
One common method is something you've likely come across. Think about those flashing banner ads you see across the web. They say things like "Congratulations, you've won a free iPad". Or "You're our 1 millionth visitor, click to claim your prize!"
If you were to click on that banner, you'd wade through survey questions where they ask about age, income and collect other info relevant to placing you into categories that they can then offer as "targeted" options for marketers. They also collect your email address.
Another collection method happens when list vendors buy emails lists from industry trade shows (or other events) where people give their info during the registration process. This is not the same thing as folks who signed up with you, directly, at your trade show booth! This is where list vendors purchase the entire registration list, from the trade show, itself.
Online consumer surveys can often be a source of email addresses. The web surfer may be asked to fill out a survey and enter their email address to receive deals that they'll find interesting.
If you sign up for something and the terms include words like "Sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you'll like," your email address is likely being collected for a shared or sold list. A subset of this method is called co-registration. This is where you sign up at a website, but that website also automatically, or nearly automatically, signs you up for other Websites. They try to legitimize this by informing you of the additional subscriptions, or providing boxes to uncheck. This is a situation where it's not the subscriber’s intention to sign up for the material they will be receiving.
The least salubrious method of creating these lists is email harvesting. This is when the vendors use bots to crawl the web and collect email addresses from websites, forums and comment sections. Sometimes, low wage and long suffering people are paid to manually grab email addresses off websites. Not very nice!
Opt-in email lists for sale are lists of contacts that have agreed to receive emails from third party senders.
No. There's no such thing as an opt-in list for sale!
The fact is, email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don't consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in, at all. They call it unsolicited bulk/commercial email. If the people you're emailing did not directly sign up with you (and only you!) then it's considered unsolicited.
Well, that's easy enough to answer. There's a big downside to purchasing an email list rather than growing it yourself. Here are 5 reasons it's not a good idea to buy an email list:
There's a few things you can do to grow your email list in a positive way without resorting to buying a list.
One of the most effective ways of growing your list is to use the signup forms on your website. Adding the Facebook signup form to your business page and also sharing the signup form link on other social networks like Twitter yield great results.
Tap into your existing customer base to grow your email list and offer special deals exclusively in your email newsletters. Ask customers to sign up each time they purchase something and offer incentives if they spread the word.
Stay active on social channels and make sure to share your newsletters wherever you can. This expands the reach of your newsletters and encourages sign-ups.
Don't give up! Growing a healthy email list takes time but the rewards are worth it!
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