How to Use Paid Lists in Email Marketing


The money is in the list. Despite Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, email is still the best way to reach users.

For this reason, list building remains one of the most critical aspects of your online business.

If you are starting from nothing or if you want to grow your list rapidly, this can seem like a daunting task. You have to drive traffic to your site and entice visitors with a lead magnet. Unless you are well known, it can be a long and drawn-out process.

Consider using paid lists to speed things up.

Paid lists allow you to add contacts and build your list quickly. However, they are a double-edged sword. If you use them correctly, they will be a boon to your business. If you misuse them, they will spell doom.

In this blog post, you will learn how to use paid lists to increase the size of your list, without getting into trouble with users and ISPs.

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What is a paid list?

A paid list is a list of contacts with their personal information, such as email, phone number—and even address—that you have purchased from a source. You have never contacted these people before, and they have not permitted you to use their personal information. Potentially, they’ve given another company access to use their information, but you have not received explicit consent from them to do the same. 

Paid lists come from a provider that has researched the contacts and grouped them. Contacts can be arranged by any number of attributes: demographics, shared interests, common geographic location, industries, job titles, company size, and more. The quality and the segmentation of the leads depends on the provider of the list.

Most of the time, a paid list contains cold leads. These, again, are leads that you are reaching out to proactively. They have not signed up for anything, and they’re not currently on your list. They are people that you have determined as potential leads or potential customers for your products or services.

How to work with paid lists

Using paid lists can be very beneficial to a business, provided you do it appropriately. First and foremost, you need permission from the email owner. You can’t ask for forgiveness after the fact.

In general, you are not allowed to import paid lists into email marketing software. You would be violating the terms and conditions if you bought an email list and put the addresses into ActiveCampaign, for example, without the email owner’s permission.

The same is true if you scour the Web to gather email addresses of people who might be interested in your products or services. You need the owners’ permission before you add them to your marketing campaigns.

If you violate your email marketing software’s terms and conditions, the platform operators can shut down your account. Furthermore, you can also wreck your email deliverability by generating many spam complaints from the people you contact without permission. 

Finally, you can fall into honeypots or other similar traps set up to catch spammers. To use third-party lists effectively, you should understand the various pitfalls of sending emails to a paid list, and how to avoid them.

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Reach out to paid lists using different software

If you do not have permission to reach out to people how do you contact them without breaking the rules?

The good news is that different software platforms allow you to use paid lists. These platforms are set up specifically for people who are using paid lists. 

One such platform is Lemlist. You can import your paid list or your cold contacts into Lemlist. Then you can create an automation that will reach out to the contacts and send a sequence of emails. This approach is acceptable because you’re not doing it from your main email marketing platform, so you will not affect your overall deliverability.

Now that you have a list of contacts and a method to reach out to them, it’s time to get them into your funnel.

How to add emails from paid lists in ActiveCampaign or other email marketing software

You don’t need to depend on a different email delivery platform every time you want to reach out to people on your paid lists. At some point, you want to move them into your regular email platform so you can treat them like any other lead.

That’s where email automation comes in.

In the initial automation, invite people to opt into one of your offers. This is similar to running a welcome sequence through your email campaign software. All of the techniques to increase clickthrough rates apply as well. 

One approach you can use, for example, is to introduce yourself in the first email message. Let people know what you do, why you do it, and where they can find out more information about you. You can also invite them to opt in to receive one of your lead magnets, like a video series, a webinar, a PDF download, or even to schedule a consultation with you. 

Once they’ve opted into one of those freebies, the opt-in will put them into your main email marketing program, like ActiveCampaign. From there, you can include them in your main welcome sequence and other offer automations. 

If they don’t opt in after that first email, send a follow-up. At this point, you can offer some of your best content or send a follow-up email with your initial offer. 

Regardless, if someone does not opt-in after a few attempts, don’t bother them anymore. They likely are not the right target for your offers.

If they do opt in, you have added a new contact into your main funnels and your main automations, and you now have explicit consent to contact them. 

Note: always confirm in your email marketing platform’s Terms of Use if it’s ok to use a paid list.

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Now it’s your turn!

Now that you know how to use paid lists to grow your list try it out and share your results in the comments below.

If you have any other strategies that you have been using successfully, drop them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them! 

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