Spamming vs opt-in email marketing – three reasons to say no to buying lists

The money is in the list.

If you have ever given the digital marketing thing a thought, you must have come across this phrase. Be it any form of marketing, unless you have an audience to market to, your campaign is like shouting in an empty auditorium. Wider the audience target, better it works. But the bigger question is, how do you get the audience?

Most of the entrepreneurs I meet during my assignments have more or less a similar marketing strategy in mind. They are open to strategize social marketing, content creation etc., but for email marketing, instructions are very clear i.e. buy a list and start sending newsletters. Sometimes, it’s really hard to make them understand that this is spamming, not marketing.

Fortunately, social marketing is already optimized for permission-based marketing. Audience would subscribe to your channel only if they want to hear from you. On the contrary, when it comes to email marketing, you can send your newsletter to not just hundreds or thousands, but millions of users with a click of a button. You can abuse this feature the way you wish, but does that work? What if you stop spamming, and start seeking permission to send newsletters? Which of the two is better? These are some questions we would be addressing in this post.

Spamming vs. opt-in email marketing


Spamming is when you send a commercial email to the people without seeking their permission. Sending emails to family, friends or colleagues is ok, but when you send mails to an email list you have obtained by scraping or purchased from an agency, you’re spamming. Opt-in email marketing is when you send commercial emails to people who have signed up to receive it from you. The only apparent difference here is permission, which might sound silly, but makes a huge, huge and HUGE difference.

1. Reputation – Gives you authenticity

Spamming is not Marketing

Users have now started taking spam a bit too seriously. Some even consider it a breach to their privacy. By sending bulk mails without permission, you are not just earning a bad name for your brand, but also losing out a chance to reach customers through subscription-based model. Some users take the next step and hit the spam button. Not all will do this, but even a handful of such reporting can get your domain and IP address blacklisted.

2. Better ROI

The Money is in the list.. only in an Opt-in List

Popular email service providers like Gmail and Hotmail are smart enough to filter out spammy emails. Your newsletter will most probably end-up finding a place in the spam folder. Not only ISP, but Email Service Providers like SpoonTalk  will also block your account if you are found spamming.  On the other hand, newsletters sent to subscribed consumers have proved to deliver a better conversion ratio. You get a better return with regards to the money invested in the marketing campaign.

3. Better participation from audience

100 engaged audience are better than a million bots

Subscribed consumers pay more attention to your message. They revert back with queries, forward it to friends and share interesting content on social sites, giving you some free word of mouth publicity. At the end of the day, you get a healthy community of active audience, providing a robust base for your business.


According to reports, less than 20 percent of a bulk email campaign could actually make it to the inbox. Worse, most of the recipients are actually not interested in your product. With permission-based marketing, you talk to people who are interested in the you, your business, your story.

So, stop spamming and start building an opt-in list today. It takes time, but with a few small tricks you can boost the sign-ups to your campaign. We will discuss them in upcoming posts, stay tuned!


  1. […] know building a permission-based list is more profitable than the ones you obtain by scraping or buying from agencies, but on the downside, it’s a time […]