While there are tempting reasons to purchase an email list, there are many issues you’ll come up against if you decide to do so. This is especially true for B2B leads. The recipients in a corporate environment are under a highly scrutinized list of standards and rules. 

Generally, sending spam-like emails is obviously going to harm your brand reputation if it’s going to the general public. In addition to harming your brand, it can also harm your email and domain reputation. This means that you may end up in spam even when sending regular emails to contacts you already know.

Emails are very well protected in businesses for fear of malware. They have an IT department that regulates everything going in or out in some way. Even if you respect the email sending limits, sending purchased emails to businesses is risky. 

They’ve developed many rules for their systems over the years to protect against spammers. One of these rules includes using a filtered system to catch any emails coming through before they even reach the recipient.

For these reasons and the following issues are why you should consider literally any other possible alternative to purchasing a list.

You never know what B2B leads you’re buying.

The first issue with buying B2B leads is that you have no idea if the data is correct. If you buy a list of emails, you have no way of knowing whether you’re getting what you paid for. Some lists could even contain randomly generated emails.

The unfortunate reality is that there are companies more than happy to send you a randomly generated list of emails – whether or not they’re real – just to make money. Even those companies that can provide some semblance of verification are likely hiding some aspect of the content.

These companies: 1. Could be selling you fake email addresses, 2. Are including people who may not be in your target market, and 3. Are providing you unwilling and unaware people not ready to receive an email about your service. 

The B2B leads database is likely not up to date.

Did you know that of an email list of 1,000 emails that 250 of them will be obsolete within a year? People change jobs, cancel or change their emails, or stop using them altogether. This means that for any list you get, you have no idea when the emails were collected. Thus, no idea if your purchase is even 75% worth the money right off the top.

If an email database is not updated (at least) each year, you’re automatically going to get at least 200 bounces. Sending emails to closed emails in high amounts puts you on an alert list. This will damage your sending reputation with email platforms like Outlook and Gmail. 

It doesn’t stop there. If the database is outdated there is a much higher likelihood of not receiving any replies either. Lower response rates in google also mean a lower threshold for sending emails. Once Gmail sees you sending more emails than you should be receiving, you go on a sort of ‘watch list’ in their system. 

Do this too much and you’re added as a blacklisted sender, never to be heard from again.

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The source of the B2B leads list is unknown. 

Next, there is a good chance that the information you’re buying is ‘scraped’ from the web. If that’s the case, though, you’re much better off finding your own B2B leads rather than relying on outdated emails. Check out the alternatives below for a few options!

A bought list could also have been pulled from the infamous ‘dark web’ containing stolen information! This data could be a result of hacking and, therefore, illegal. Not knowing the source of the data could ultimately pose a serious risk to you and your business.

Yet another issue with not knowing the source(s) is the data protection acts increasingly being produced and enacted. Currently, there are two: GDPR and CCPA. Your data likely contains emails going to Europe or California, so you are at risk of being reported and fined.

Regardless of the source, any recipient could also mark you as a spam/bulk sender (as is the case with each of these issues). Email platforms will then label you as spam and send your emails automatically to the bulk/spam folder. They may never even see the email as a result, especially if this happens numerous times.

Has the list been cleaned/verified? 

Even if you have a legitimate list, you may want to ensure your list is cleaned and verified. There are a number of tools that can help with this. However, with a bought list, you are not able to do this until after you’ve purchased. You may end up with as much as half (or less) of the amount you paid for.

You’ll also want to clean and validate your list through two different tools. The reason is that emails can be guessed. So the purchased list may end up having a number of emails attempting to go to the same person ([email protected], [email protected], etc). 

This is why LaGrowthMachine utilizes its own tools within the software: one to identify emails and one to validate/verify them. Not only will this prevent duplicates in your list, but it will protect your brand and sending reputation.

Cleaning your list will allow you to ensure that the emails are, at least, valid. Not validating will also result in a high bounce rate – which again, will harm your sending reputation. Once cleaned, though, you can send through your Gmail or Workspace account based on their sending rules.

Is your B2B leads list spammed? 

Corporate businesses have email filters, but so will your sending email provider (Workspace, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.). This is true for any other email providers you send to. If their systems learn that you’re sending thousands of emails to your B2B leads with content no one wants, they will make sure the intended recipient never sees it. They’ll believe you are sending malware/viruses. 

This goes the same for every other competitor who has bought this exact same list. These same filters can monitor if other people have sent these same emails numerous times. If it is determined you are trying to send to such a list, you’ll be blocked before the emails ever reach their inbox.

What this means is these people will already be receiving emails from your competitors and are much more likely to label you spam.

Does it contain honeypots? 

List providers also tend not to know (or don’t provide) whether an email – or number of emails – in their list are actually “honeypots”. If the email is no longer active, email providers will reconfigure inactive emails into a new database. 

This new database is only composed of emails that no one uses and includes those emails in pages listing emails/addresses. If someone sends an email to one of the emails in that database, to email providers this means they scraped the data and spammed people.

You’ll be damaging your own provider’s reputation by doing this. They will begin to monitor your account much more and could ban you from using their services at all.

In fact, most email providers strictly prohibit the use of purchased, unverified, or non-permission-based email lists. This is also among the rules of GDPR and CCPA permissions and is subject to fines if violated. 

Alternative #1 : SalesNavigator + LaGrowthMachine = ❤️ 

The first alternative instead of a purchased list is the combination of LinkedIn SalesNavigator (SN) and LaGrowthMachine (LGM). Using this combination will allow you to maintain a healthy database of current emails because LinkedIn is maintained by the users themselves. This makes your B2B leads outreach much more likely to reach real people and get responses. 

With SN, you’ll be able to create an in-depth search of specific people, titles, companies, etc that you want to email. With this list, you can then upload it into LGM to plan your outreach strategy. 

This process will return a few things in comparison with a purchased list:

  1. You’ll be able to create a multi-channel response workflow within LGM.
  2. Your emails are more likely to reach the recipient’s main inbox (and not in spam) because emails are validated through LGM before sending.
  3. You’ll receive a higher number of responses because you’ll be able to reach them where they are.
  4. Do all of this with high-quality lists that don’t get sent to spam and are all automated for you.

Then once you have a clean, healthy list, you can send them a custom targeted email using your strategy.

Alternative #2: WebScraper + any website you want to target 

Another good option to build a list of quality emails to send to is by using a Google Chrome or Firefox add-on called WebScraper. As a free tool, it can provide you with a manual way of looking for emails on specific websites. If you’d like to automate the process, you can also upgrade.

With this tool, you can use an easy interface to identify the type of information to pull from the website(s) and export it into an excel file. Since it’s manual, you’re also able to decide whether or not it’s a newer website to even bother scraping the data from. Older (looking) websites are much more likely to have old data as well.

This would be a great tool if you’re just looking to help you automatically find emails from certain companies’ web pages. It may also be helpful on directories for your target industry if there is a well-maintained one for your market. 

Alternative #3: Organic List Building

While we’re often in a hurry to do everything in our lives these days – from getting groceries to building a business – it’s rarely the best option. Being in a rush won’t get you the result you wanted for many reasons. Slow and steady *could* win you the race in some cases.

If you’re looking to build a B2B leads list all your own, there are several ways to get started:

  1. Add a signup form to your website and have emails ready to send them. You can usually link your email provider directly to it and send it automatically.
  2. Send to people you know first and ask for referrals to build your database.
  3. Advertise (paid or not) something you’re offering for free – AKA a lead magnet. Give them something of value to them in exchange for providing their email address. 

These methods will also ensure your database is kept current and you’re much more likely to receive responses directly when you personalize things this way. 

Choose Your Brand Over Temptations

Spend your money where you’ll get quality leads that actually get results. Don’t waste it on a company that tries to tempt you with data they’ve collected somewhere (anywhere) they just felt like and decided to sell it to you.

Nowadays, with regulations on emails and privacy on the rise, we would urge you to consider these – or another of your choosing of course – instead. Get your emails read by the right people in the right way and your business will see its reputation withstand!