Email Data Monetization: How to Sell Email Lists Compliantly & Successfully

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Lucy Kelly

Marketing Manager

Email Data Monetization: How to Sell Email Lists Compliantly & Successfully

Email remains one of the most important communication channels, in spite of the increasing number of new apps and social media platforms people use to talk to each other. There are set to be 4.73 billion email users by 2026. For marketing and sales people, this makes email a channel of untold opportunity when it comes to reaching a mass amount of prospective customers. Because of this, many businesses buy email lists segmented by demographics (in B2C) or role and industry (in B2B) to increase the likelihood of reaching the right prospect.

And so there’s business to be made in monetizing email lists. In fact, email address data is one of the most in-demand data categories; in 2023, Datarade Marketplace saw over 9,000 requests for email address data, both B2B and B2C. No wonder many companies are considering monetizing their email lists.

However, there are various compliance considerations you must be aware of before selling individuals’ contact data. And once you’re in the position to sell email lists, it’s crucial that your data products stand out in a crowded market. With an estimated 500 email data providers operating today (with more emerging all the time), monetizing your email lists effectively requires a solid marketing strategy.

Our guide to email data monetization explains each step that goes into selling email data. You’ll learn how to extract the maximum value from your email lists and generate revenue, whether you’re an established data provider or just beginning your data monetization journey. We’ll look at the following steps:

  1. Getting consent
  2. Assuring data quality
  3. Marketing your data

1. Get consent to process and share email addresses

Data processing and privacy regulations are making the data industry safer. Nonetheless, the stigma around buying email addresses from a third-party remains. To protect the privacy of the people in your email lists and to protect your brand, it’s essential that you get explicit consent to share email addresses to third parties.

If you’re selling in the EU, you’re bound by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means that any data monetization strategy must begin by respecting the rights of data subjects, which are explained here:

Source: Campaign Monitor

In the context of email data monetization, the ‘right to restriction of processing’ means you cannot sell email addresses from people who have exercised this right. If you’re sourcing email addresses via form capture, this means including a checkbox where users explicitly give you permission to store, process, and distribute their email address. You may worry that this negatively affects your conversion rates, but trust us: GDPR breaches can prove disastrous, with fines running into the billions, like Meta’s recent €1.2 billion. Getting a person’s consent to share their email address to paying customers means your data business is built on stable legal grounds.

2. Data quality assurance

An email address list is only valuable if all its data fields are filled with up-to-date, correct information. Any attempts to monetize poor quality, outdated email address data will likely prove unsuccessful. It’s crucial that you check the validity of your email address lists. You can do this with the help of tools like Zerobounce which ensure the deliverability of your emails and removing  obsolete, previously bounced email addresses.

Like any business, no customer buying data expects 100% perfection - unless you promise 100% perfection. That’s why it’s important to be honest and realistic about the data quality level you can guarantee. B2B email address data provider Salutary Data do this well by disclosing the minimum fill rate they can guarantee:

Source: Salutary Data

Salutary Data is a great example of email data monetization. They’re upfront about the quality they can deliver in their B2B contact data products and, as a result, have won loyal customers. The final stage of email data monetization is about how you can best communicate to these customers.

3. Marketing your data business

There are many email list providers and lead generation tools out there. To face this competition, you need to build a strong marketing strategy. This needn’t be daunting or time consuming. There are a number of data monetization platforms offering various solutions to data businesses, whether that’s helping data providers set up a compelling data catalog or increasing the provider’s visibility.

When it comes to turning your email lists into attractive data products, ThoughtSpot recommends communicating the value of your data product with a specific user in mind. Asking the following questions can help:

  • What value will the user get from using this product?
  • Why would a user want it?
  • What will a user accomplish with it?
  • Do I want to target a certain group of users with a specific solution (niche but potentially higher conversions and stickiness) or create a product with a broader potential market (larger pool of potential customers but vulnerable to competitors)?

In the context of selling email data, this could be packaging your products towards a specific user’s needs. For example, if you’re selling B2B email addresses, you can segment by company industry and job title to create products called ‘healthcare email list’ or ‘recruiter email list’. The value a user will get from your data product is the ability to contact the right stakeholders in their target areas faster via email. So efficiency and precision, all thanks to your email list.

The next step in marketing your email data products entails getting your products published on data marketplaces and sales channels. The most used data marketplaces, where you’re likely to be found by buyers, include Databricks Marketplace, Google Cloud Analytics Hub, and Datarade Marketplace. For some data marketplaces, it can take some time before your products are published, depending on how engineering-dependent the integration is. To speed up the time to get listed on data marketplaces, you can use platforms like Data Commerce Cloud which allow you to publish instantly on multiple marketplaces, with no engineering required.

Once you’re published on these sales channels, you should start receiving inbound leads from people wanting to buy your email data. And once you’ve made your first sale, you have officially monetized email data!

This guide was designed to equip you with the insights and tools needed to unlock the full potential of your email list. We hope you now understand strategies, techniques, and best practices for transforming your email database into a lucrative asset with data monetization.

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