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What you need to know about email lists

By CCIWA Editor 

When it comes to acquiring a list of emails to which you can promote your business, you can buy a list or create your own. But there are some rules:

Buying mail lists  

There are many businesses that supply email lists. While it can be a time-effective option, purchasing a mail list carries a number of risks:  

The Spam Act prohibits use of lists that have been created using address-harvesting software. The Australian Communications and Media Authority provides a guide on buying marketing lists. The onus is on the sender to comply with this requirement.  

It's important to understand that if you purchase a list, it’s for one-off use. For most businesses this means using that one email to entice people to subscribe to their newsletter.   

Users generally only trust emails from sources they’ve actively subscribed to. Receiving emails via a third party can be regarded as intrusive and annoying. And this can reflect badly on the business’ reputation.  

Creating your own mail list  

Sending emails only to those who have explicitly subscribed to your service is good for both your customers and your business.   

However, you have to be aware of a number of requirements under the Spam Act when developing your own customer database, including:  

  • You must have a record of all instances where consent has been given, including who gave the permission, when, where and how.  

For more information about consent, please visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s website.  


Generally, people will only hand over their details as part of some type of transaction. Some websites, for example, ask for contact details before valuable information (such as a report/white page) or an app can be downloaded.

Web users will also provide their contact details to enter a competition.  

A common approach to gathering email addresses and contact details is through subscription forms or pop-up windows on your website.

The trick is getting people to your website in the first place. So search engine optimisation, online marketing and content marketing is important.   

You can also provide opportunities on Facebook and Twitter posts to subscription to newsletters.  

When it comes to acquiring a list of emails to which you can promote your business, you can buy a list or create your own.

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