Financial MarketingIFA MarketingMarketing for IFAs

Should IFA Marketing Use Purchased Email Lists?

By March 9, 2017 No Comments

Be honest. You’ve almost certainly thought about it.

If I buy a list of thousands of email addresses and send out one massive marketing shot, surely someone is bound to bite?

Our brains tend to convince us of this when large figures like this are involved. After all, isn’t it just a numbers game? At least 1 response from a list of 30,000 is virtually guaranteed, right?

Email marketing shortcuts like this are attractive. No doubt. The above becomes even more alluring, however, when you hear that you can zero-in on your target market as well. Some typical vendor claims include:

“You can define your email list so it only contains homeowners over 55 years old…”

“You want local clients? Great. We can target your own specific geographical area…”

“The list only comprises high-net worth individuals, and those with a private pension.”

And so on.

The problem is, the data almost never meets your expectations. Here are some of the big problems when purchasing emails for your IFA marketing campaigns:

#1 List Quality

In fairness, there are some okay vendors out there. However, realistically you’re going to come across a lot of dodgy ones as well. More often than not:

  • The names are wrong
  • Their address, age or other demographic details are incorrect
  • Their email or contact information was illegally harvested.

Suddenly, those 30,000 emails don’t look so good when you consider a huge bulk of them (perhaps the majority) aren’t even accurate. It’s not great either that it could land you in legal trouble.

#2 Spam Traps – Beware

Often, people end up on an email list because they purchased something online. As they made their transaction, they then forgot to un-tick a little box saying something to this effect:

“You permit us to share your information with related companies, who would like to send offers which may interest you.”

How many of us fail to notice these boxes on check-out? Probably all of us. We then hate it when these companies start emailing us with their offers.

“How did you get my email?” We cry. “Why am I receiving this? I didn’t ask for it!”

Off it then goes into the spam folder.

So what? You may be thinking. Surely that’s just part of IFA marketing? Some people will be interested. Other will not, and will bin your message. How does that hurt my brand?

Well, you will likely end up in trouble with your email service provider, who may ban your account if they receive too many complaints.

I once used an ESP solution where all it took was 2 spam complaints per 1000 recipients to get you banned. That’s how strict they can be.


#3 You’re Not Alone

I once heard a proverb which said: “There is nothing new under the sun.” Wise words in the context of emails and IFA marketing.

The reality is, others have had the same idea as you. Dozens of companies will be buying the same data and emailing the same people.

The result? Buyer fatigue and recipient indifference/weariness.

We all respond in this way when we are bombarded with unwanted advertising. Eventually, we “switch off” and become more immune to the torrent of messages. Especially when it comes via the same medium (i.e. our inbox).

So not only are your recipients mostly out of date/incorrect. Even the “viable” ones are not particularly disposed to hearing what you have to say.

#4 Damaged Reputation

If there is one solid rule in IFA marketing, it is this:

Financial firms thrive or die based on their perceived credibility, trustworthiness and competence. Any form of IFA marketing which threatens this should be discarded. Anything which elevates it should be embraced.

Do you want to wake up tomorrow with five Google reviews, saying something to this effect:

“Emailed me when I hadn’t given them my contact details!”

“Stop emailing me! Not interested!”

Do you want to see similar comments all over LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter?

Nope. Me neither.

#5 Everyone Agrees With Me

Might sound a bit arrogant, but I think it’s worth saying. Do a quick Google search and try to find just one reputable author who recommends buying email lists for marketing purposes.

If you actually find one, please message me.

Actually, don’t. But I would be interested to see it.

What’s the Alternative?

Well, fortunately there are better ways to build an email list for your IFA marketing. It will take longer to get the list you need, but consider the following:

Would you rather have 30,000 worthless contacts straight away, or 100 decent ones over the course of a few months?

Quality always beats quantity in this marketing game.

It might be the other way around in other industries. But with IFA marketing, this is where I would put my money down.

Every time.


Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at MarketingAdviser, an agency specialising in marketing for financial services – and especially for financial advisers. Along with our sister company, CreativeAdviser, we also provide bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients.

Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: