Pardot Knowledge Base

How to Build Good Email Lists

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2017 | Print this Article

Before you can email your prospects using Pardot, you'll need to have a list of email addresses. You may think that purchasing a list is a good shortcut, but it's definitely not. This article will explain why purchasing lists is a bad idea, and what to do instead.

Bad Idea: Purchasing Lists

Don't buy lists. Not only is it against Pardot's Permission-based Marketing Policy, it's also a terrible idea for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Purchased lists are never as good as the seller says they are. If you had a great, opted-in list with engaged prospects and a low bounce rate, would you sell that list to other marketers? No, you wouldn't. You would jealously guard it. Purchased lists can have high bounce rates and spam traps, no matter how good the seller promises they are.
  2. Prospects on purchased lists don't know who you are, and they won't be engaged with your emails. If prospects have no idea who you are they are more likely to delete your emails, or worse, to report them as spam. This will tank your deliverability rate and ruin your sending reputation.
  3. You could end up on a blacklist. You don't want this to happen -- it will hurt your deliverability. If you want to know more about spam blacklists, check out our blog series on blacklisting.
  4. Spammers use purchased lists. When you send to a purchased list, you're sending unsolicited bulk emails -- which is the definition of spam. You're not a spammer are you? Then don't use purchased lists. No reputable ESPs allow it, and you'll run into trouble with The Pardot Email Reputation Team.

Purchased lists are a waste of money that will ruin your sending reputation, and will prevent your emails from reaching the inboxes of people who actually want to engage with your brand. So what's the alternative to purchasing lists? Building your own.

Good Idea: Building Your Own Lists

Building and maintaining clean, compliant email lists is well worth the effort. If you focus on building quality email lists, you'll enjoy better deliverability, higher prospect engagement, and better leads.

  1. Post compelling content on your website: Create blog posts and valuable marketing content, and encourage your readers to subscribe to updates. Use a clear call-to-action to direct readers to sign up for updates via a Pardot form.
  2. Leverage Pardot at events trade shows: Use Pardot at events and trade shows to get prospects to sign up for email newsletters or interests lists. See How to Use Pardot at Events and Trade Shows to get started.
  3. Use gated content on your website: Use forms to gate your webinars, white papers, case studies, and other content. Using Pardot forms to gate content turns visitors into known prospects and helps build quality email lists.
  4. Promote gated content on social media and your blog: Promote your gated content on your blog, and on social media using Social Posting.
  5. Make your emails sharable: Use the AddThis integration with Pardot to encourage subscribed readers to share your email content with other potential prospects.

No matter which methods you use to build your lists, we highly recommend using a confirmed opt-in process to make sure you only email interested, valid prospects. You can learn how to set up a confirmed opt-in process with Pardot in this article. Once you've built a great email list, you'll want to keep it clean! See our Database Hygiene FAQ for tips on keeping your list clean and fresh.

Need more? Start a conversation with other Pardot users in the Trailblazer Community