Trade Magazine Opt-in Lists Are Dead, Aren't They?

Trade Magazine Opt-in Lists Are Dead, Aren't They?

Lists have been a consistent source of "names" for B2B marketers for a long time. Logic was that is a person subscribed to a VoIP magazine then she must be a qualified buyer or some sort of an influencer. Also if she has opted into received the magazine then she knowingly has opted in to receive messages from a number of other businesses that she may not even know of. Guess what, both these assumptions were wrong all these years and they will be (more) wrong going into the future.

Like everything, there are some exceptions but the truth is a large number of people subscribe to trade magazine for FREE by simply filling out a form and barely read them. If you charged $1 for the subscription, a majority of them may not even fill out the forms. Secondly, the opt-in in much magazine subscription forms is not evident at all to the end user. So even if we assume that a particular user wanted to seriously subscribe to a trade magazine, we cannot be sure at all that she is ready to receive messages from other business hawking their products and services.   

More importantly, in today's world of permission marketing, it's just a waste of time to use someone else's opt-in list to send your messages. Magazine subscriber lists are a good source of the cheap bulk list of names but you must carefully determine if they can deliver any value to you whatsoever even if they just cost a few hundred dollars. For B2B marketing magazine lists are dead because: 

  • The subscribers may not be your specific decision makers or buyers
  • The subscribers may have already moved on from the companies they worked at when they subscribed to the magazine
  • The subscribers tolerate 3rd party emails being sent to them only because they get the magazine for free and not because they want to be marketed to
Opt-in lists are critical but they can be only valuable when you build them internally via your own websites. Ardath Albee has a good post on how you can do this. Also, I believe traditional trade magazine subscription lists will be replaced by the new generation online trade communities like or Times of Virtualization

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