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13 Reasons To NEVER Buy An Email List

Does it ever make sense to be buying email lists for Financial Advisors?

I get it, you need more qualified prospects to add into your email list. You would like to have more prospects raising their hand after receiving your email every week, however, the price of an email list comes with some big risks if you decide to take this email marketing shortcut…

Let me explain.

The Pros and Cons to Buying Email Lists

I was personally suckered into buying an email list a couple of years ago. Here were the reasons that I bought the list (probably the same reasons many of you have considered buying email lists as financial advisors):

  • It wasn’t very expensive for a so called “targeted email list”
  • The company selling the email list promised that these prospects had opted in to “something”, so it wasn’t really spamming (I never should have believed that one)
  • That 90% of the emails were guaranteed to not bounce (Meaning that 90% of the emails were legit and still in use. This should have been another red flag)
  • I justified the transaction by telling myself that if I just received one new client from this big list then it would pay for itself real quick. And that would have been true, but I didn’t figure in the other BIG CONS that come with buying email lists for financial advisors…

Pros of buying email lists:

  1. Cheap
  2. There could be a couple of diamonds in the rough
  3. Usually just converting one new client could pay for the entire list
  4. More people potentially see your message

Cons of buying email lists (aka the 13 Reasons to NEVER Buy an Email List):

  1. You are officially a SPAMMER
  2. You are practically guaranteed to receive complaints
  3. You could end up alienating a legit prospect who might have found you organically, or been referred to you in the future
  4. You don’t like receiving spam emails, what makes you think anyone else will?
  5. It is rare that you will ever find a list of qualified prospects. Why? Because if they were that qualified, why would anyone give them away or sell them? If you naturally built up a real list of qualified prospects that you were making money from and had a relationship with, would you ever sell them? Of course not! And especially not for pennies on the dollar.
  6. If if you get reported too many times as a spammer, your IP address could be black-listed
  7. Your entire email server could be black-listed, which means your emails (and other people in your office with your email domain) no longer make it to your client’s inboxes. The only fix to this is a lot of time, or to get an entire new email address which is a huge pain
  8. You could be fined tens of thousands of dollars if someone takes the issue high enough and proves that they never opted-in to your email list
  9. Your reputation could be tarnished if someone decides to make an example of you and blog about you, spreads your name around, reports you, etc
  10. You could end up spamming a hacker who gets so ticked off he/she hacks your site and shuts it down  (this has happened to a lot of people surprisingly as hackers are always looking for their next victim, and spammers quickly make their way to the top of the list)
  11. With a larger list of emails, your email service is going to charge you more money (so this get expensive as you buy big lists)
  12. Not to mention, none of the legit email service providers (like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Aweber, etc) will allow you to upload lists like this. They will know it is a bought list immediately and you could get banned from all of the companies as they do have a shared black-list of clients
  13. Rarely does anyone ever make any money or convert a SINGLE client from a bought list



I have yet to see it work successfully, and it typically does much more damage than anything else. And if this long list of Cons doesn’t scare you, then there is no saving you…you spammer!

buying email lists for financial advisorsThe Exception for Financial Advisors Buying Email Lists

There is one exception that I wanted to point out to email lists, and that is RENTING email lists. This is not only an acceptable way to market, but it can be quite profitable as well. This is where you pay a legit company (like NYTimes, Forbes, AARP, etc) to rent a portion of their list. Of course you don’t actually get to see their list, as none of these companies are dumb enough to give out their valuable email list.

However, they will take your message and send it out to their list on your behalf. And since it comes from the actual company (like NYTimes, Forbes, etc) the prospect is more likely to open it as they have opted in to receive their emails, and trust the company that it is coming from.

The only downside is that this option is not cheap in most cases. It helps to find a company in smaller niche that has a very responsive list.

Solutions to Replace Buying Email Lists for Financial Advisors

So what is the solution to buying email lists?

It’s pretty simple, do it the right way…organically (aka naturally).

However, there are a few legit things that you can be doing to speed up the process.

  • LinkedIn – Did you know that you can extract the emails from your entire list of LinkedIn connections? In just a few clicks, you can have your entire LinkedIn email list in your grasp. Simply click the “Connections” button towards the top of your LinkedIn home page, and then look for the “Advanced Settings” icon towards the right hand side at the top. Click on the Export Connections to Excel. So if you have a big network, you already have the beginnings of a great list that might want to hear from you. Make sure to scrub it for connections that you might not want to email (like a competitor, etc)
  • Landing Pages – The most effective way to start creating new emails is to throw up a landing page with a great headline and a valuable free widget (report, whitepaper, video, etc) that you can give the visitor in return for their information. Here is a really powerful case study on landing pages.


In conclusion, do NOT ever buy email lists. It just isn’t worth your reputation being ruined, the potential to have your IP addressed black-listed, your entire email server being marked as SPAM, or even getting a huge fine.

Always ask yourself, do you enjoy getting spam emails from some random person? Even if the headline of the spam email interests you, you still don’t enjoy the non-solicited email. No one likes spam mail and no one likes to spammers! Don’t stoop to that level.

Build your list the right way (and the most profitable way)…organically by always adding value.


P.S. – If you want to see how to do email marketing like a pro, check out this video on email marketing

P.P.S. – If you enjoyed this blog, the nicest thing you could do is share it using the social media buttons on the left. And if you have any stories about buying an email list, we would love to hear them in the comment section below.



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Fernando Godinez

Fernando Godinez is the CEO of Advisor Internet Marketing. He’s been the architect behind some of the top financial advisors online presence in the country and help them triple their practice through online lead generation. Over the past few years he has been responsible for generating over 500k leads through online marketing and lead generation campaigns for independent financial advisors.

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