How much do email lists cost?
An email marketing list can cost between $100 and $600 CPM (cost per mille, the price for 1000 email addresses).
The price of an email list depends on the quality of the emails and the type of person that is on the list. Here are some factors that affect the cost of an email list:

  • A consumer list costs between $100 and $400 per thousand emails (CPM)
  • A business list costs $600 to $1000+ per thousand emails (CPM)
  • List prices vary based on who is on the list. An email list that is more targeted is more expensive. Business to business email lists are more expensive that consumer email lists.
  • When you buy an email list, you typically only purchase a single use
  • Reminder: CPM stands for “cost per mille,” or cost per 1000 emails

This is one of the most common questions that we hear from individuals who are new to email marketing: where can I buy an email marketing list and how much will it cost?
Buying an email list is expensive—a campaign sent to a purchased email list can cost thousands of dollars. It’s just not cost effective to send email blasts to a list that isn’t yours.
That’s expensive. So…
Does paying for an email list even make sense?

Is it a good idea to buy an email list?

No, it is not a good idea to buy an email list. Buying an email list is expensive, and results in low quality leads. It can also get your emails marked as spam and lower the reputation of your company.
Still, a lot of people do buy email lists. Why do people buy email lists if purchased lists don’t work?
The common assumption is that the sequence of an email marketing campaign goes something like this:

  1. Develop a pitch
  2. Buy a supposedly “opt-in” mailing list (yeah right) from a list broker
  3. Send the pitch out to that list
  4. Watch the sales roll in!

Every year thousands of companies follow this ill-conceived plan and fail miserably, because it simply is not an effective marketing strategy. And then from that point on, they assume that email marketing simply doesn’t work, or at least doesn’t work for their product.
But email marketing can be extraordinarily effective if you use a more sensible approach to planning your email campaigns.

Is it legal to buy email lists?

Regulations like CAN-SPAM and GDPR may affect people who buy or sell email lists. Under regulations, there are sometimes differences between purchasing email addresses and renting lists. Any time you want to buy contact information, proceed with extreme caution.
(Note: this doesn’t constitute legal advice. But you should definitely check the regulations that affect your country and company before buying an email list. And then probably don’t buy the list anyway, because it’s bad marketing).
Personally, I wouldn’t purchase an email list at any cost (yes, that includes renting email lists, even if the broker claims it’s an opt-in list).
It’s not hard to find web sites or “email marketing services” that let you buy lists. You can buy millions of email addresses from web scrapers and spam brokers, but it’ll end up costing you more than it makes you.
If it makes you any money at all, which would surprise me.
I’ll ask you this question: when was the last time you received an unsolicited email that resulted in your doing business with that seller?
More likely, the fact that you received an unsolicited email made you less likely to ever deal with that company. The email tarnished their reputation.
In your mind, and the minds of all the other millions of email recipients of their spam, the company that sent you the unsolicited email is now on the same level as the Nigerian princes who keep offering you a percentage of their untold millions.
The only reason you should ever buy an email marketing list and send your own marketing information out to it is if you feel like spending money to damage your own reputation.

What to do instead of buying an email list

Instead of buying an email list, build your own email list of opted-in, qualified leads. People who have opted in to your email list are interested in what you have to say—and they are much more likely to engage with your emails.
And, because they signed up on their own, you aren’t going to ruin your reputation.
We’ve written plenty of content to help you build up your own email list (and, of course, you can always try our email marketing software for free). Here are some resources to help you out:

Design an attractive email marketing subscription form, place it prominently on your web pages, and offer a compelling incentive for signing up.
That’s how to succeed in email marketing.