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Personal Email vs Business Email Addresses in Marketing

We love this question because people can get really passionate about it. Healthy debate is always welcomed over here! But in all seriousness it’s actually a really good question. Should you use personal email addresses in your email marketing, lead gen and sales efforts or only focus on contacts that have business email addresses? Personal emails are going to be defined as those who have email endings such as @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc. While business email addresses are typically those with the domain name of their company website.

We’ll break down the arguments for both and let you decide which is best for your business.


The Pros for Using Personal Email and Business Email Addresses

Let’s start with the arguments FOR marketing and selling to contacts that have personal email addresses and business email addresses.

Pros: Contacts with Personal Email Addresses

  • No corporate filters or quarantines (different from spam algorithms)
  • The email has a 99% chance of being seen (hits inbox and typically phone)
  • Is a direct line to the individual (not all business emails are managed by the intended recipient)


Pros: Contacts with Business Email Addresses

  • There is a professional sentiment and may be looked at more favorably
  • Typically high deliverability (typically fewer spam traps & hopefully no quarantines)
  • Confirms they work at the business and likely hold the position you think they do


The biggest pro for both personal and business email addresses is that… You Can Get Into Their Inbox! We understand there are differences in the way we all perceive messages between our different inboxes, but the reality is you still need to get in front of the contact. So something is always better than nothing.


The Cons for Using Personal Email and Business Email Addresses

Information on the Sub Head that supports the benefit / value of the blog topic.

Cons: Contacts with Personal Email Addresses

  • Email deliverability can suffer (sometimes spam algorithms are tough to beat)
  • A percentage of people view it inappropriate for a business to email them personally
  • You can’t always be sure if the email is for the intended recipient


Cons: Contacts with Business Email Addresses

  • Corporate IT filters can quarantine emails that are from outside of the domain
  • Many professionals use email for existing working relationships (vendors get in the way)
  • If that person leaves the company, you’ve lost that email address forever
  • Some corporate email addresses are generic such as info@ or contact@ and these will many times be very inefficient in getting in front of that contact. Granted the business is doing themselves a disservice, but the fact is they are doing it so you need to account for it.


Again with both email address types you can never really know how a recipient will react to your message. Their perception of how work should get done and who should be emailing them where is dictated by more variables than just which inbox your message gets into.


How Do People Give Up Their Email Addresses Online?

This is the most important factor as to whether or not a personal or business email address should be used in regards to marketing to that contact or prospect. We’re listed a few common scenarios below and can speak to what works best for most cases.


Prospect Fills Out a Form

In this scenario a prospect visited your website and intentionally filled out a form on your website to either download something, access something or contact you. 

This is an active engagement from the prospect and regardless of what type of email address they shared, the fact is they shared it and they should be receptive to follow up using that address.


The Email Address is Purchased From a List

There are different ways to acquire contact information and purchasing a list is one of them. To be honest we don’t recommend buying email lists. Why?

Because under this condition the contact is cold and again regardless of whether the email address is personal or business, the contact never engaged with you and in most cases will treat you as a spammer.


The Email Address is Acquired Post Contact

In this scenario you’re confident the contact has engaged with the business in some way whether that be a trade show, visiting your website, had an in person conversation, etc.

And you subsequently get their email address either by asking for it, finding it online, guessing it (and getting it right), etc.

You’ll find people are fairly receptive to this as well because they have some level of familiarity with you prior to the contact. They didn’t necessarily ask for anything, but they do know who you / your company is, so it feels less spammy to them.

It really doesn’t matter if the email address is personal or business in this case.


If you Google whether or not you should use personal email addresses in your sales and marketing there are a handful of good articles that have done research on this and found that there are some slight pros and cons but it doesn’t really matter in most cases.

Plus as we’ve evolved online through the use of social media the integration of personal into our professional lives has overlapped significantly making personal email addresses more and more prominent in marketing and sales.


So in theory there is no one answer to which email address type you should use in your lead generation and sales efforts, but the fact is that you should be reaching out to contacts and nurturing them to a sale. In our opinion everything is fair game and as long as you are persistent, creative and relevant you’ll be able to grow regardless of an email address being personal or business.