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How to Sell Email Lists & Contacts From Your WordPress Site

Last Updated: April 7, 2020

Email lists and contact information have value, which is why you might be looking for how to sell email lists online. You might have a collection of high-value leads/contacts that are useful by themselves or you could just have a large list of segmented subscribers.

Either way, people will be willing to pay for that information, which gives you another way to monetize your website and/or standalone email lists.

You could sell:

  • Individual contacts for high-value leads.
  • Collections of leads, like all the therapists in New York City.
  • Lists of opt-in email subscribers for Internet marketing or digital marketing uses.

In this post, you’ll learn how to sell email lists for all those scenarios using WordPress and WooCommerce Product Table. That is, you’ll learn how to create your own online store where you can:

  • Sell individual contact lists like the example below Visitors can check a box for all the contacts they want to purchase and then check out.
  • Sell complete email lists For example, one list of “Therapists in New York City” and another of “Therapists in Los Angeles”.

Case study: How to sell email lists as individual contacts

Example of how to sell email lists online

To give you an idea of how to sell email lists online, let’s look at a real-world example:

TV Production Contacts offers an interactive directory of individual contacts within the TV production industry. Visitors can see important information, like a contact’s TV credits, social media information, and company. Then, shoppers can purchase individual contacts that they’re interested in.

To create the shoppable contact list, TV Production Contacts uses WooCommerce Product Table.

TV Production Contacts has put in the leg work to create a searchable database of 2,500+ accurate contacts, so visitors are happy to pay a little money to save time and avoid having to dig around themselves.

What you need to sell email lists online with WordPress

Before we get to the tutorial, let’s go over what you need to sell emails online:

Your email list

The first thing that you need to sell email lists is…your email list itself!

That’s a little obvious, but there are some important things to consider in how you build your email list.

First, if you’re creating an individual contact list of potential customers or small business owners like the TV Production Contacts example above, you might need to manually gather these contacts.

If you’re going this approach, it’s important that you’re not selling them to bulk emailers who will send them automatic unsolicited emails, as that would violate the United States CAN-SPAM Act and other anti-spam acts. Here, you’re basically putting in the legwork for sales teams or other individuals to manually reach out to each contact.

On the other hand, if you want to sell larger lists, it’s important that your lists are opt-in. Again, people do not want to buy lists that are not opt-in because of the danger of being labeled a spammer and/or the fear of sending unsolicited email.

To help you grow your email list and enforce opt-in protocols, you can use an email marketing service like Mailchimp or Aweber. There are also a number of WordPress email opt-in plugins that can help you grow your list from your website or landing page.

WooCommerce and WooCommerce Product Table

To use your WordPress site to sell email lists, you need to add eCommerce support to WordPress, which you can do with the WooCommerce plugin.

However, by itself, WooCommerce is not optimized to sell email lists online. To fix that, you need to add WooCommerce Product Table, which lets you display your WooCommerce products in a table layout, just like the TV Production Contacts case study you saw above.

You can control exactly what information shows up in your table to create a shopping experience that’s optimized for the specific email lists/contacts that you’re selling.

WooCommerce Product Table
The best plugin to sell email lists with WordPress.

How to sell email lists online with WordPress: Two scenarios

Below, we’ll show you two different scenarios that you can use to sell email lists online:

  1. Sell individual contacts.
  2. Sell separate lists that contain multiple contacts each.

The basic process is the same for each, but there are a few important differences in approach.

To get started, we’ll assume that you’ve already set up a basic WordPress site, installed WooCommerce, and run the WooCommerce setup wizard to set up credit card payment gateways and other basic settings.

If you haven’t yet, we recommend Kinsta for hosting and you can follow this tutorial to configure WooCommerce.

1. Add emails/lists as WooCommerce products

To get started, you need to add each email/list as a separate WooCommerce product by going to Products → Add New.

This step is where you make the choice between selling individual contacts and selling separate lists:

  • If you’re selling individual contacts, add each contact as its own product.
  • If you’re selling lists, add each list as its own product.

Here’s what a product for an individual contact might look like:

Individual products

If you want to mimic the approach that you saw with TV Production Contacts, you can use categories, tags, and custom fields to add extra information about each contact, like phone numbers, social media information, industry, etc.

Here’s what a product for an entire list might look like:

Sell email list online product

For a list, you might want to add extra information for details like:

  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Open rates
  • Deliverability
  • Email campaign conversion rates
  • Whether it’s an opt-in list or not
  • Current email service provider
  • Email newsletter frequency

You can either add this information in the product description or use custom fields.

If you want to automatically deliver purchased lists, you can also mark the product as Downloadable. Then, you can upload a CSV file with the list of emails. For individual contacts, you could just include a single record in the CSV:

Add downloadeable emails to sell lists online

If you want more control, you can also manually email the contact details after someone makes a purchase.

To finish things out, repeat the process for all of the contacts/lists that you want to sell.

If you have thousands of contacts and don’t want to add them manually, you can use Product CSV Import Suite to bulk import contacts from a CSV.

2. Create front-end interface with WooCommerce Product Table

Once you’ve added all your contacts/lists as WooCommerce products, you’re ready to create the front-end shopping experience to sell email lists.

To do that, install and activate the WooCommerce Product Table plugin.

Then, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product tables to configure the plugin’s settings.

In the Table content settings, you can control what information displays in your table. For example, if you added custom fields for a contact or list, you can include details from those custom fields in your tables:

Configure columns

In the Add to cart column, you can control important details about how visitors can purchase email lists.

If you’re selling individual contacts, you’ll want to set the Add to cart button drop-down equal to Button and checkbox so that visitors can select multiple contacts at the same time:

Add checkmarks to sell email lists online

Finally, use the Table controls section to add any necessary filters and search boxes. If you have a lot of contacts/lists, you’ll want to include filters so that shoppers can find what they’re looking for:

Configure filters and search

3. Add shortcode to display product table

Finally, add the [product_table] shortcode wherever you want your email list table to appear.

You can either add a single shortcode for all your email lists/contacts. Or, you can use modifiers to only include certain emails and create different tables for different categories/tags.

Here’s an example of what it might look like to sell individual contacts:

Example of selling individual emails online

Start selling contacts and emails

With WordPress and WooCommerce Product Table, it’s easy to sell emails online.

You can either sell individual contacts or entire lists of contacts. Either way, your shoppers will get an easy-to-browse table layout where they can find what they’re looking for.

By making it easy for shoppers to find the right email(s), you can boost your chances of a sale.

To start selling email lists with WordPress, purchase WooCommerce Product Table today.

WooCommerce Product Table
The best plugin to sell email lists with WordPress.

Colin Newcomer

Colin Newcomer is a freelance WordPress writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing and WordPress. You can hire him to write for your website.

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