Pass on the E-Mail List Rentals

You’re looking for an inexpensive way to prospect, and you realize that e-mail is cheap. Does that mean you should rent e-mail lists?

No, says Hew Griffiths, director of marketing, e-mail service provider Campaigner. Griffiths strongly recommends against list rentals, even if the customer profile is a duplicate of your own, and it has nothing to do with the price or the quality of the names.

It’s all about the reputation you may get by e-mailing your message to a bunch of strangers.

“Marketers should look in the mirror,” Griffiths said during a Webinar called Integrate Your Online and Offline Initiatives with E-mail Marketing. “If you received an e-mail that you never once signed up for, you have no idea who the sender is, how would you feel?”

Probably mad enough to mark the e-mail as spam, which will only damage your reputation as an e-mail marketer, he said.

“Sending a message to someone who has not asked to receive messages from you can be very damaging,” Griffiths said. “If your message reaches a certain threshold of complaints, your future e-mails are likely to be blocked. So it is not worth the risk.”

So how should you get your pertinent e-mail marketing message across to strangers?

Griffiths suggests advertising in an e-newsletter that has a similar customer profile to yours. Your message will reach those inboxes, and the ones with an interest will respond, Griffiths said.

Call it co-mailing for the digital age.