When it comes to email marketing, deliverability is king. If your messages are not making it into the inbox, they are not being opened and your products/newsletter/information are not being seen. The best way to ensure your messages are being delivered to the inbox is to abide by permission-based email marketing rules. In short, only send email messages to those who have organically (signed-up, opted-in) requested to receive information from you.
Why Grow Email Lists Organically?
As mentioned above, the most important lesson I’ve learned while working the previous 10 years in email marketing, is that an organically grown email list is key to high inbox deliverability.
Sending to a purchased, rented or harvested (collected online) list can do irreversible damage to your sender reputation, making it difficult or even impossible to do email marketing in the future. Having the patience to organically grow your lists will be highly beneficial to the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Remember that email list growth is a marathon, not a sprint.
Organic vs SPAM
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AOL, GMAIL, Yahoo etc., monitor subscriber engagement and how their end users are ultimately utilizing their email messages. Behaviors like opening, deleting or marking as SPAM, all play a critical role in defining the end user’s sender reputation. After a sender score is set, a filtering algorithm is applied and future messages from that sender are either more likely or less likely to make it into the inbox.
Sending a message to a purchased or harvested list is likely to return a higher level of negative feedback because the end user has not requested to receive that information. Purchased lists also often have “SPAM Traps” and high bounces hidden within them. A SPAM Trap is essentially an email address that has been setup to catch Spammers that have repeatedly abused email marketing services. Hitting a SPAM trap is extremely detrimental to a sender reputation, can lead to your domain being black listed and is almost impossible to recover.
Most reputable Email Service Providers will require a quick list vetting and test send process to ensure the hygiene of their client’s lists. This action protects both the email service provider and their clients from bad senders coming on board and negatively affecting sender pools.
Organically Grown Lists Will Have Better Results
Ultimately, most marketing decisions are going to boil down to return on investment and results. While purchasing a list may seem like a promising idea and a quick fix to getting your brand recognized, the long term affects to your sender reputation are not worth it. Statistics show that lists grown organically yield far higher opens and click through rates than purchased lists as the end users are interested in the products or services being offered. An organically grown list will be a more engaged list as the subscribers have made an investment, be it a previous purchase or an opt-in to receive your messages. The more positive involvement your subscribers have in your messages, the better your sender reputation will be and over time the better return on investment you’ll see.