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Mar

12

2016

How to Use a Purchased Email List and Still Be Ethical About It

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Ahhh... the siren song of the purchased email list. It seems so easy, so sensible and so logical. After all, what's not to like about spending a little bit of money to get thousands of "targeted" email addresses and then blasting your message to them?

First, it might be a good idea to review HubSpot's article titled "Why Buying Email Lists Is Always a Bad Idea (And How to Build Yours for Free)". After that, you will probably be a little more wary of purchasing lists.

So is it a dead-end? Is all hope lost? Have your dreams of a quick and easy way to scale your message been crushed?

Not so fast! As Joey from Friends would say, "there's gotta be a better way!"

The better way is not to use email at all. Instead, use the power of Facebook custom audiences.

Some of you may already know that Facebook allows you to create special groups in your advertising account called "audiences." The audiences can be made up of people who have visited your website and even grouped by specific pages they have visited.

There is another way to build custom audiences, however. You can upload a list of email addresses. When you do this, Facebook matches the email addresses against it's user database and finds (as much as possible) the Facebook users that go with them. It won't get all of them, but in our experience it gets to about 60% of them, which is not bad.

Once this is done, you can run a sponsored campaign that targets these users. The campaign can be run for as long as you want (and it can expand your reach as much as you want) based on your budget.

Better yet, you can also create a lookalike audience in order to expand your reach to similar users... something you can't do with an email campaign.

So what should your campaign look like? Rather than being tempted to blast out sales ad that tried to get someone to buy, try promoting a download, a video or a webcast. Then you will start to build a list of people that have some interest in what you do and then you can email them because they've opted in.

Bottom line: don't buy lists and email them, but if you do buy lists... start with a custom audience and build loyalty (and permission) from there. This ensure that you will remain ethical, legal and effective in your email marketing.

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