Renting E-mail Web Marketing Newsletter Subscribers

Legitimate e-mail list brokers rent opt-in lists of both B2B and B2C audiences. These lists generally consist of magazine or e-zine subscribers, members of organizations, or people who participate in surveys and free offers in exchange for providing their e-mail addresses.

Do not use lists from friends or businesses whose users weren’t notified that their names could be sold, exchanged, or rented — or from disreputable brokers who offer names at a bargain rate. All you buy is trouble at a discount price.

Although a highly targeted rental list isn’t the best way to acquire new names, it’s still worth the search. Some brokers specialize in B2B versus B2C or in certain vertical industry segments. Technology professionals are particularly hard to reach by using rental lists.

The more targeted the list, the more you pay per address, just as with any other advertising audience. Estimate your costs at 25 cents per name on a B2B list, though prices might range from a nickel on a B2C list to 50 cents or more for a tightly drawn demographic such as wealthy residents who own dogs. You must usually rent a minimum number of names, depending on the source.

Rental lists generally have lower open and click-through rates than your own, highly prequalified list of names, so don’t be surprised if success rates are half those for your own list. List rental rates are falling, so it’s worth negotiating, especially after a first test mailing. Or, rent the list multiple times to bring down the price per name.

Run the numbers to be sure that your expected return will offset the cost of list rental and newsletter preparation. Because of the cost, you might want to perform A/B testing with your own list first to ensure that you're sending out the best possible newsletter.

If you use a free list, be sure to review the rules for allowable content. Some lists constrain the content or form of e-mail sent to members. Information about every list is available online. For more general information about how to select a mailing list, see Name-Finders.

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