Picture this: Your email list isn’t growing as fast as you’d like, and you’ve been offered a phenomenal list of 10,000 client email addresses for a pretty low price. You could really use some new blood to market to. What’s the worst that can happen?

I’ll send them an incredible offer and worst case scenario they unsubscribe. No biggie, right?

While buying and selling mailing lists is not a new concept (it’s been going on in the snail mail world for decades), it’s becoming more and more popular in the digital world. My advice: Just don’t do it. First, it’s always unethical and sometimes illegal. Second, you’re not reaching your target audience that way. Who knows how those addresses were sourced. Half of those people may not even speak the same language as you. The other half likely signed up for some sort of freebie with an email address they use specifically for signing up for freebies. Purchased lists usually contain addresses that begin with names like justforcoupons or sweepstakesentries. No one even reads the emails that come to those addresses. You’re wasting your time and money.

Okay, I won’t buy lists. How about if I just make a list from publicly available email addresses? You put your email on your site – that makes it fair game!

The correct answer here is NO. Listing my email address on my website does not give you permission to add me to your list of people who may need coaching or new makeup or some super-duper cleaning product. I don’t want to sign up for your hair removal service, I don’t need your advice on how to become a billionaire in 20 minutes, and I certainly have no time for the 789 crowd funding emails that have landed in my inbox in the past ten minutes.

Fine. I still have a Facebook group. I’ll just add you to that instead.

Please, please, please…don’t just randomly add people to your Facebook groups without their permission, even if you are “friends.” If they want to be in them, they’ll ask.  Or you can ask them.  If you’re thinking about buying Facebook group followers…again…just no. All of the above is against Facebook’s TOS and quite frankly, a good way to lose fans. No one wants to be another notch on your Facebook belt. People respond to genuine marketing. Not scams.

The bottom line here is that if you want anyone to be interested in whatever it is you have to say or sell, then make it interesting, valuable, educational or inspiring. Do the legwork (that’s what virtual assistants are for!) and your lists and groups will grow organically, which is a more efficient way of using your time, resources, and connections.*

As always, thanks for reading.

Until next time,


* My phone is ringing. That must be you, calling to be hooked up with an assistant to help grow your list! Nice job, savvy entrepreneur.