Email Databases: Guide to Buying Directories, Lists and Databases of Italian Companies

Buying email lists from Online Databases...yes or no?

Did you know that when you send a list of contacts a campaign of Email Marketing or put them in a Email Marketing Automation their provenance...does it make a difference?

Let's take a step back: there are various ways to have email addresses acquired to which to send communications via a Email Marketing Softwarean initiative often called "list building": not by chance "List building" can be done in 2 main ways: optin lists and purchased lists.

Optin Lists or Purchased Lists? Pros and Cons

Optin lists

The most traditional method, "inbound", consists of acquiring the contact (name, email, phone number or other) of a person who fills out a form, for example to download an information resource (Case Study, Lead Generation with Webinars...) or for a more commercially advanced initiative, such as requesting a demo or a quote.

In this case the person fills out a contact form consenting to the processing of data (GDPR and cookie policy) for the purpose of sending the lead magnet (the information resource) and any promotional communications.

The generated list is named opt in list: contacts who have explicitly requested to receive communications from you in exchange for the aforementioned "magnet" (not coincidentally called Lead Magnet), consisting of Webinar registration, White Paper, often on an ad hoc page (Landing Page) to which they have come from Lead Generation with online advertising tools, or within a blog.

Advantages of optin lists

Optin lists have several advantages:

  • are consensual (even if purchased lists are consensual themselves);
  • have contacts who have intentionally agreed to receive communications from you, as such they should experience better engagement rates (opens, clicks, responses);
  • they are "fresh" contacts as such should have lower hard bounce and soft bounce rates, especially if you proceed with a registration with a double opt in and proceed with a validation of the list with an email cleaning and verification software;

Disadvantages of optin lists

  • Costs: unlike a purchased list, where you can acquire hundreds or thousands of profiled contacts with a cost that is often around hundreds of euros, acquiring emails with lead generation initiatives costs more. You have to consider the cost of consulting, software (i.e. Landing Page Builder as Elementor, Unbounce, Instapage, Landingi), online advertising with platforms such as Facebook Advertising (e.g. with Lead Ads), Google Ads (e.g. with the contact form extension), LinkedIn Ads (with Lead Gen Forms or Conversion campaigns);
  • timing: as mentioned above, the acquisition of the contact happens after the exchange of a Lead Magnet, such as a video, webinar, white paper, whose preparation is often at the expense of the company.

Purchased Lists

Then there is another one: buying lists. A more "outbound" method, close to the field of sales more than (digital) marketing, with some elements to consider: let's see which ones, starting from the advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of purchased lists

  • costs: let's do a rough estimate. Let's assume that a qualified lead (at least name and email address) costs (as a minimum) from 5 to 30 euros, you understand that acquiring a few thousand would cost much more than the average cost of the list purchased;
  • The most serious portals that perform these services declare their compliance with the GDPR and (a topic we will discuss shortly) some guarantees of quality terms (existing contacts, not duplicated...).

Disadvantages of purchased lists

  • are contacts who have not intentionally consented to receive by you of communications, as such they should experience lower engagement rates (opens, clicks, responses);
  • are contacts that could have higher hard bounce and soft bounce rates especially if you don't proceed with a double opt in registration and proceed with a list validation with an email cleaning and verification software;
  • are lists not accepted by all the ESPs seen above, if not in small part (Sendinblue for example accepts 300 email addresses purchased in the shared IP).

Let's try to understand then, costs aside, when it's worth it.

2 Cases in which to buy Email Databases, Lists, Lists and Databases of Italian companies

#1 Your target audience is super niche

While I prefer to acquire leads in the ways described above, buying qualified lists can, in my opinion, be useful in one case, which is when your Buyer Persona is niche, but really niche.

I'll tell you an anecdote: some time ago a client needed to reach prospects with a specific ATECO code. Yes, you got it right, that numerical code that marks the activity in the VAT number.

Well, as you'll intuit, there are no profiling options, which are methods that allow online advertising platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Advertising and LinkedIn Ads to intercept such a niche.

So in this case, a virtue of necessity.

#2 You have little budget

We've talked about this before: the cost of a contact on a list, no matter how expensive, will be less expensive than an inbound lead.

Be warned, however: if you adopt this "shortcut," know that it's not all sunshine and roses; there are many thorns. 

First limit of purchased email lists

Let's be clear: they are GDPR complaint contacts, validated...but still cold. When they will receive your email (if they will receive it, as we will see in the next lines) they will think: who is this?

In short, we're in the realm of cold emailing.

Cold contacts, far from being MQL or SQL, that you have to try to bring forward in the sales pipeline.

According to limit of purchased email lists

We were saying: if it comes to him!

Because you wouldn't think to buy a list of addresses from a database, enter it into an ESP (an email service provider, i.e. email marketing software) and click send would you? 😉

You can't: most ESPs prohibit posting to these lists.

The reasons? Although they are legitimate permission marketing campaigns, the reasons for these restrictions are exclusively technical and organizational of the platforms themselves, often worried that the sending generates high rates of complaints for spam, that the mail "bounce" (phenomenon called bounce), ruining the reputation of the sender that affects the fact that your newsletters reach their destination or not.

Not to mention engagement, i.e. the rate of opening, click and response: not expecting your email, not having explicitly requested it, it will be less natural to interact with the sender.


You can use other platforms, called outreach or sales automation, or even try them (if they allow it) but first "cleaning" the lists with special services: let's try to understand more.

4 operational tips before doing cold email marketing on a Database

Before you start sending emails to a purchased list I recommend you:

  • Acquire the list on quality sites;
  • validate the list: it means to understand, by means of special software, which mails still exist and could give problems of hard and soft bounce, that is to say to go back, having a negative impact on the deliverability and the reputation of your IP;
  • Choose a new sending email account and do a warm up of the account with a specific service;
  • Choose software that allows you to do cold emailing.

Have you purchased an email list from a business database and are considering email marketing? Contact me for a Email Marketing Consulting.

Want to learn more? Watch the video guide now the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing an Email Database.

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