List Rental Is NOT Evil in Email Marketing
Frequently maligned and often misunderstood, email list rental is a widely accepted marketing practice that can provide a potent ROI, if you know what to look for and respect the inbox. If you’re unfamiliar or unimpressed with renting an email list here’s the lowdown on the benefits as well as its key differentiating factors and considerations.
Know the difference
Unfortunately legitimate email list rental opportunities have been tarnished by the practices of less-than-stellar providers…be they list compilers, email addresses sellers, or bald-faced liars. None of which are likely to help a marketer’s ROI. Why should it? The email recipients have no relationship with the organization that possesses their email address, and sends your offer.
In my 12 years in email marketing I found that the best opportunities often lie in renting true subscriber lists. That is, branded email lists that are derived from publications, services, or products that the recipient knows, and values.
How it works & key considerations
- 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 content.
- List selection is the most important factor, followed by the offer and the creative.
For many marketers email list rental is a consistent means of growing their own subscriber lists, packing their pipelines and of course, making sales directly. Here are a few benefits:
- Value of association (with the list owner)
- Low cost of acquisition (compare to other direct channels)
- It’s quick (test results and make adjustments in days, not weeks)
- Better deliverability (Compared to complied and purchased lists)
For list owners
List owners come in many flavors such as retailers, event producers, associations, traditional publishers, and bloggers. All of which can find considerable value in email list rental too, albeit of a different sort.
- Revenue ($1-2 per subscriber, per year is a good rule of thumb)
- Control (what, when, who)
- Easy (no sales, marketing, billing – if you work with a Professional List Management Company).
- Hygiene (weed out hard bounces more frequently)
Case in point
Going beyond selecting the right lists, wise marketers are no longer taking the “BUY MY STUFF” approach. Instead list rental campaigns are getting more creative, take a look at this campaign from Surfline and Rip Curl. It’s a great example of how publishers can provide their subscribers with direct access complimentary products, services, or offers, and win their hearts in the process.
The future of email list rental
Email deliverability will continue to be a challenge for marketers who use complied or purchased email lists. In fact, “challenge” is probably too light of a description. And that’s a good thing because it frees up inboxs for more relevant email communications. Besides improved deliverability, legitimate email list rental provides marketers with the opportunity to earn new customers at a fair price, all while respecting the inboxes and mindshare of the list owner’s subscribers. But be wary, the list rental universe is often a dodgy one. Wise marketers and list owners alike should look first to companies that specialize in email lists that originate (and are mailed) from branded and respectable sources.
Takeaway: Email list rental is not in itself evil but, can certainly be bad if done the wrong way. Make sure you do your homework and ask the right questions. A little local knowledge can certainly help you out — speak to the right people becuase a little expert insight goes a long way.
About the author:
As CEO of Indiemark, a full-service email marketing agency, Scott brings more than 12 years of strategic, creative, and technical email marketing expertise to clients seeking to maximize this ROI-rich channel. As a leader in the email industry, Indiemark provides a full array of email marketing services to leading brands looking to retain and monetize existing customers, acquire new customers and subscribers, and create passive revenue streams. Scott can be reached at email@example.com or (407) 614-5952.