There are corporate companies in their thousands selling out peoples details every now and then. If buying these details had no way in the society, would there still be the business of selling emails? The answer is no.
While this is a relatively simple example, it still exemplifies the standard split-test for a majority of early stage startups. Sending out a test with four different variants to 1/8 of your subscribers doesn’t make much sense if you only have 300 people on your list!
Out-of-home direct marketing refers to a wide array of media designed to reach the consumer outside the home, including billboards, transit, bus shelters, bus benches, aerials, airports, in-flight, in-store, movies, college campus/high schools, hotels, shopping malls, sport facilities, stadiums, taxis—that contain a call-to-action for the customer to respond.
But… there is a different way to build a targeted opt-in email list. I’m talking about a subscription form on your website. Before you start with bulk email marketing, get your website up and running. Or, probably you already have a site where you advertise your products and services. Set up a subscription form somewhere on your web page and get others to sign up for your mailing lists. You can use this free newsletter plugin for wordpress to place a signup form on your WordPress blog. The beauty in this is that the list of emails will be confirmed, and your database will only contain the people who are interested in your offers. It’s not as quick and easy as generating or harvesting email addresses but it’s a more reliable way. You won’t send unsolicited emails as you have a proof that the recipient has subscribed himself to your mailing list.
“You may use the email address from your blog to send marketing emails, subject to the rules of CAN SPAM in any other situation. But be aware that the focus of any CAN SPAM compliance analysis starts at whether the ‘primary purpose’ of the message is commercial content.
Send an email asking subscribers what you can help with or what they’re most interested in these days. You can collect replies via surveys or by having people reply to you with their answers (if you can handle a decent volume of incoming mail, this is a nice personal touch that makes people feel appreciated).
Everyone hates to see the dreaded bounceback alert in their inbox. If you have snail-mail information to match an email address, send a postcard asking the contact to provide you with an updated email address so you can stay in touch. Consider rewarding them with a discount or freebie for taking the time to respond.
The definition of direct marketing is the business of selling products or services directly to the public, e.g. by mail order or telephone selling, rather than through retailers. This essentially means that the product / service owner and the customer are communicating directly, without an intermediate.
Once you have the amazing content, the next step is to ask for emails. People who adore your content will be primed to receive that content as often as you can create it, delivered straight to their inbox. It’s up to you to make sure they find your call-to-action (or, in this case, a call-to-subscribe). Make it obvious. Make it crystal clear.
1) Great how to information. Create checklists, forms, and detailed instructions for things that your prospects might want to know or use. This is something you should be doing no matter what, but using this information to attract email addresses is a proven winner. Hubspot is a great example of a company that produces tons of useful info.
And even if you do manage to get your emails deployed, odds are very good that your email will generate enough “this is spam” complaints to block your current and future emails at places such as AOL, Gmail, MSN/Hotmail, and Yahoo! If you have a consumer focus, the majority of the email addresses on your list are going to come from these service providers.
For example, in 1872, one of the pioneers of direct marketing, Aaron Montgomery, produced the first mail-order catalog for his business, in which he bought products directly from the source, and then resold them through a catalogue he sent directly to customers. Without a middlemen, i.e the general store, Ward was able to resell products at drastically lower prices.
Resource-style content such as white papers, eBooks, and infographics is made for promotion. While blog posts and traditional articles are a great way to reach out to people (“Hey, thought you might like this recent piece we did on…”), you can get a lot more mileage out of a broad set of evergreen resources.
With all that said, your signup form should be put at the place where it’s clearly visible, give a solid reason to subscribe, promise an irresistible offer that can take right away, and reassure them with the privacy statement.
Bottom-line, quality “opt-in” email addresses … with strong guarantees … cost a lot of money, usually 20+ cents per name. Very expensive but if you’ve a strong offer and a well priced product, then a quality email list will generate a positive ROI.
I don’t think that this name brand outlet meant to be marketing outlaws, but they were. For years, they were being illegal in their practices, and they very well could have ended up with a lawsuit (or worse). The good news in all of this is that they have since remedied the errors of their ways and added an unsubscribe option to their emails (but even so, it wasn’t a one-click dream).
“The lists were not cleaned and opt in like he said the (sic) would be and were full of spam traps and complainers. I lost my mail servers and because it was down for 4 days I lost revenue. I even lost my website because of complaints to my host.”
Segment your market (optional) – Ideally, break your market into tiny segments, large enough to collect statistically significant data, while small enough to balance your investment risks. Try testing two or more offer variations to see which one performs better on a small scale.
Reaching out to your customers is not easy and when you have access to Email Data Group’s B2B email lists you can connect with them effortlessly. We cater to small and large enterprises and our data team will help you in every step of marketing.
This is honestly one of the best articles I’ve read all year on increasing opt-in rates. And my attention span these days is quite brief. With such a busy schedule, I don’t have time to read junk. Thanks for the great tips!
Chad, you’re 110% right. Engagement is key and something most bloggers are “too busy” to take the time to do. I’m not sure what could be more important than engaging with your readers. That’s why I make it a top priority.

That’s the mindset many marketers find themselves in when they’re on the phone with a list-purchasing company: We need new people to email to feed our sales organization. Acting on that moment of desperation, however, can cause them more long-term (and short-term) harm than good.
In my experience, there are two types of software. Software that makes things complicated and software that makes things easy. Drip makes things easy. Especially if you want to automate your email marketing.
Find just the right email list targeted to virtually any business or consumer segment. With tons of email lists out there (and not all of them are reputable), we can help you identify the right email lists for your campaign. Submit your email list criteria and we’ll find the perfect list for you.
Awesome stuff, as always. I would just like to add one thing to improve conversions and build bigger list: use feature box. Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com talks a lot about that, and it works like charm.
Perhaps you’re a new company and don’t have a customer base. Maybe you have a service you’re sure that people will love… if only they heard about you. Whatever the reason, buying an email list seems like an easy, low cost way to grow your business. But, there are some serious consequences to purchasing. And there are real benefits to using an opt-in list!
If your email list is short, scant on information, full or errors and redundancies, or just not on-track with your targeting, that poor-quality data can be worse than having no data at all! Without a good email list, all your other digital marketing efforts are little more than wheel spinning.