Last Updated: April 28, 2023

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Email List Rental Overview

Email is a powerful form of marketing, whether you’re trying to advertise a new product, promote a sale or offer discounts to loyal customers. Email marketing is cheaper and more effective than direct mail.

When you rent an email list, a third-party list broker will send the marketing email on your behalf. You never actually see the list, and the list is only used one time. You’ll have to reach customers with a single email, so make sure your message is attention getting.

The greatest advantage to a rented email list is that the people receiving the emails have “opted in,” meaning they’ve agreed to receive periodic emails on certain subjects. This is the ethical way to send bulk mailings, and you’ll get a better response rate, too.

Cost of Renting an Email List

Rented email lists can range in price from 10 cents to $1 per contact. In most cases, budget anywhere from 25 cents to 60 cents. The more targeted your list, the more expensive it will be.

Some email marketing companies offer their services for a monthly fee. They charge anywhere from $15 to several hundred per month, depending on the size of the email list. With these plans, you can usually send an unlimited number of emails per month.

Renting an Email List Pros

  • Better response rate - Because rented lists target consumers who have opted to receive promotional emails, you’re likely to get a better response to the marketing campaign. Consumers are less likely to view you as a spammer.
  • Lower upfront cost - Renting an email list is typically less expensive upfront than buying one. This is largely because you only get to use the list once.

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Renting an Email List Cons

  • Long-term costs - If you’re sending out frequent email marketing messages, renting a list each time can get expensive.
  • Lack of ownership - With a rented list, you only get one shot to reach potential customers. You don’t actually own the list of email addresses and you never get to see it.

Buying an Email List Overview

When you buy an email list, the list is yours to keep. You can send emails to the entire list as often as you’d like. Or, you can divide the list and send emails only to certain people at certain times. How you use the list is completely up to you.

However, you need to be very careful when purchasing an email list. In some cases, these lists are compiled without consumer permission. Not only does this lead to lower response rates; it’s illegal. You risk being labeled as a spammer and, worst case, having your website shut down. Never purchase a list without proof that the email addresses were obtained with permission.

Cost of Buying an Email List

A good quality email list will cost at least 20 cents per contact. In most cases, budget closer to 50 cents to 75 cents per contact. Be wary of deals that seem to good to be true - chances are, you’ll be purchasing a list full of bad, outdated or unethically-obtained email addresses.

Buying an Email List Pros

  • Complete control - Buying an email list gives you complete control of your email marketing efforts. You decide how often to send emails and who receives them.
  • Long-term costs - Because you can reuse the email addresses, buying a list is often less expensive in the long run.

Buying an Email List Cons

  • Spam risk - Again, some companies that sell email lists have obtained the emails illegally or unethically. Never buy an email list unless the seller can demonstrate its permission strategy.
  • Lower response rates - The quality of purchased email lists is usually inferior to rented lists. You’re more likely to find old, outdated or unethically-obtained email addresses, leading to lower response rates.

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