Beyond Spam: Email Marketing for Acquisition

Everyone has gotten them; incredible return penny stocks, wealthy Nigerians in a pinch or medicine promotions for men. This is partly why marketers don’t like sending out emails on third party lists. It feels wrong. But if renting opt-in premium publisher email lists is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

Because the truth is, given the right list, the ROI is incredible. See for instance the below table from emarketer; commercial e-mail has the best return among direct marketing tactics.


So how does this work?

Many publishers in the finance industry have email lists they use for sending out links to stories or even full on newsletters. And because when people sign up for such emails on the publishers’ website they agree to receive relevant third party emails in return, they often ‘rent out’ these lists to advertisers.

When you rent such an email list, you give the publisher your email design and they send it out to the users on their list, often with a little disclaimer at the top explaining why it is they are receiving this email. The advertiser never gets to see the email addresses so privacy is assured.

When we buy email lists, the list owners often tell us what the average ‘open rate’ and ‘click through rate’ is. This allows an advertiser to calculate how the list is going to perform and if the buy is worth it. To make this clearer, here is a made up scenario:

20,000 people receive the email

20% – 4000 open the email

7% – 280 click a link

10% – 28 convert to a lead

The payment model is similar to banners, you pay per thousand impressions or in this case per thousand email send outs (CPMs). The CPM for email lists goes from 20 to 120GBP and usually strongly depends on the performance of a list.

When deciding who to work with, often list owners will allow test buys of a smaller portion of the list. A word of warning; it’s very important to work with parties that have direct knowledge of the makeup of the email list as some parties will merge together huge lists from less than above board sources. The best way to do this, is to buy direct from publishers. In our industry that can be sites like Investopedia,, FXstreet and many others.

Working with an agency (like MGL) will allow you to use a large universe of lists that are proven performers at better prices. Ask us for a mediaplan if you are interested.

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