Eliseon's Marketing Wizards' Blog

How to Find, Research and Rent a Profitable Email List


How to Find, Research and Rent a Profitable Email List


You can make a lot of money with Email Marketing!

One of our clients recently asked us if email marketing really works, and if so, how to go about finding the perfect email list.

Here’s what we said…

Email marketing is a powerful way to get the word out on what you do, who you are and your unique offer. And, when the right email is sent to the right list, it can pay off – big time.

But there’s a few things you have to consider before jumping in to the email marketing game.

The first thing is to research, research and then research some more. And then when you’re done researching, research a bit more. Why? Because there are a LOT of crappy list brokers out there and even more really crappy lists. There’s a lot of lies to wade through and a lot of questions you need to ask before you choose any particular company or list.

We’ll go over those specific questions in a few minutes, but for now, let’s look at a few other key considerations to help you decide if this method is right for you:

  • The list owners will send the marketer’s offer to their subscribers.
  • The marketer pays a fee for this service, usually on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis.
  • Unlike direct mail or telemarketing, the marketer never sees the list.
  • Unlike inbound marketing, it’s all about producing a valuable offer, not about content.
  • List selection is the most important factor, followed by the offer (email, landing page, unique offer/gift/ethical bribe for lead generation) and the creative.

Never buy an email list!

We mention renting a list, because buying a list is never the best way to go (no matter how good you think having total control and access to that list sounds!)


Well, let’s look at this rationally for a minute….why would anyone willingly sell their entire list unless it was trash? Anybody with even a shred of business sense would know it’s far more profitable to rent a list than sell it, especially if you have a mailing list of subscribers happy to receive third party offers, and actually opened those emails that you sent and responded to them. So what on earth would posses you to part with that list of pure gold?

There are no decent email lists to buy, and every list available out there to buy has at least ONE of more of the following problems or issues, all of which can get you in SERIOUS trouble and/or cost you thousands of dollars:

  • Spam complaints
  • Spamhaus Listing
  • Blacklisted
  • Spamcop Listing
  • ISP or MSP ban
  • Spamtraps
  • Bounced emails by the thousands (old addresses)
  • Poor deliverability
  • Unsolicited (means nobody actually WANTS to hear about your offer)
  • Irrelevant and untargeted (how well is your offer targeted to dentists going to go over with homemakers, unemployed people and teenagers? Not well at all.)

    Learn how to rent a great email list

We could do a whole post on nothing but the dangers of a purchased list, but this will do for now. Just hear us out – don’t buy a list! EVER.

Now, on to what to look for when RENTING the perfect list….because that’s what you really want to know, after all!

Like we said earlier, research is the first and foremost thing when considering this marketing option, and that means finding the best list brokers (that are honest, trustworthy and easy to contact), going through each of their offered lists in the niche you are in, and asking a crap-load of questions about each one.

It takes time, effort and forethought, but we’ll make it easy for you by giving you the exact questions to ask:

  1. How exactly was this list compiled? Is it solely from a well-known publication or site, or compiled from sites on the web (sites belonging to the niche/market in question), directory listings, online/offline phone books, opt-in sites/landing pages, etc? Can you show proof of this in any way?
  2. How often has this list been mailed?
  3. When was the date of the last mailing and what were the results of the most recent campaign(s) – i.e. number of click-throughs, bounces, spam complaints, etc.?

    Rent a clean list!

  4. When was the list last cleaned of duplicates, bounces, dead emails, complaints, spamtraps, etc?
  5. What permission, if any, was asked of each person on the list? Are they all from voluntary and clearly explained opt-ins where the people were aware that they would be receiving emails from other companies?
  6. What anti-spam rules do you follow/comply with when compiling this list AND when sending out my email offer?
  7. Do you have any stats on the typical response rates from others who have rented this particular list?
  8. What email program do you use (Aweber, Mailchimp, etc) to send my email offer through, and are you whitelisted?
  9. How can I be sure my email is sent and gets through to every address on this list? Are there real-time tracking stats I can follow?
  10. Has anyone who has used this list, or you yourself as the rentor/mailer, been blacklisted, labeled as spam or had problems with any ISPs?
  11. How current is the list? When was it first created and when was the last address added to the list? Is it fresh?
  12. Have the addresses in this list been confirmed? Are they double opt-ins? If so, what percentage of the list is from double-optins?

    Double Opt-ins are BEST

  13. Do you offer a clear and visible removal process in the emails for the recipients?
  14. How targeted is this list? Is it only people in “such-and-such market” and no one else?

If you ask these questions, you’ll automatically whittle down the amount of crappy list brokers as most won’t even bother. The ones that do respond, take the time to thank them and then do as much research as you can to see if they are telling the truth.

Once you narrow down your choices and find the list that feels right to you (and matches your budget and niche), then you need to find out what their minimum purchase amount is, so you can do a test run. Do NOT jump in with a large order until you’ve tested a small batch first. If you don’t get a response from the test, you won’t get a response if you double or triple the amount.

You also want to do a small test run in order to see how your offer pulls. You will most likely need to tweak your offer, landing page, email, etc. as you go (as it’s rare that it’s a perfect home-run right off the bat – every good marketer and business owner knows this), so by starting small you can see what works and what doesn’t, before you sink a lot of dough into it.

Here’s a little hint: if you have a personal connection to your market/niche, such as one of our clients who is a chiropractor and is reaching out to other chiropractors for his mailing, then you have an advantage….you can do a test run of the offer by getting the most recent and updated list of alumni from the specialty schools you attended – and reach out to the other alumni as one of them. You’ll have an immediate “in” and connection/bond with them, as well as instant trust, and you can start testing your offer in small batches at very minimal costs (with the help of a professional mailing system manager – you don’t want to do this willy nilly!)

In the next post we’ll go into your offer, landing page and other important aspects of email marketing. But for now, this should be a great start!










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