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.
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.
Whenever an offer is made, all the commitments to be fulfilled by the marketer, the operator and the consumer should be made clear to consumers, either directly or by reference to sales conditions available to them at the time of the offer.
Layout Especially important for HTML emailers, we found out this lesson ourselves when we saw better newsletter engagement from going from 3 calls to action in one broadcast down to only one. Those selling a variety of products (a la eCommerce) will also want to closely experiment with this variable.
Great post as usual Brian. Already on top of most of these tips…but had no clue about the single-option aversion study. Definitely going to be something to test. Will definitely share this around because this post is a must-read.
“It could be, and it is good practice to avoid being either the seller/lessor or buyer/lessee of email lists. Either the buyer or seller of an email list can be liable for a CAN SPAM violation if he, she, or it transmits emails to those addresses and he, she, or it knew or should have known by implication that:
No matter what purpose you are purchasing this email list for, you will find multiple vendors in the market to offer you this business database. But the truth is said, most of them will lack the guarantee of providing authentic and accurate business contact data.
That e-book or buying guide you created to establish thought leadership in your industry can also help build your email list. When visitors to your website request a free download, ask them to complete your opt-in form in order to download.
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.
This is amazing stuff! Thank you so much. I’ve learned so much in the last hour. I have a question for you. You use Aweber as your email service right? What do you use to make such nice looking sign-up forms/popups on various areas/pages of your site? Is it LeadPages? I find that Awebers sign-up forms are not very good.
(function(){“use strict”;function s(e){return”function”==typeof e||”object”==typeof e&&null!==e}function a(e){return”function”==typeof e}function u(e){X=e}function l(e){G=e}function c(){return function(){r.nextTick(p)}}function f(){var e=0,n=new ne(p),t=document.createTextNode(“”);return n.observe(t,{characterData:!0}),function(){t.data=e=++e%2}}function d(){var e=new MessageChannel;return e.port1.onmessage=p,function(){e.port2.postMessage(0)}}function h(){return function(){setTimeout(p,1)}}function p(){for(var e=0;et.length)&&(n=t.length),n-=e.length;var r=t.indexOf(e,n);return-1!==r&&r===n}),String.prototype.startsWith||(String.prototype.startsWith=function(e,n){return n=n||0,this.substr(n,e.length)===e}),String.prototype.trim||(String.prototype.trim=function(){return this.replace(/^[\s\uFEFF\xA0]+|[\s\uFEFF\xA0]+$/g,””)}),String.prototype.includes||(String.prototype.includes=function(e,n){“use strict”;return”number”!=typeof n&&(n=0),!(n+e.length>this.length)&&-1!==this.indexOf(e,n)})},”./shared/require-global.js”:function(e,n,t){e.exports=t(“./shared/require-shim.js”)},”./shared/require-shim.js”:function(e,n,t){var r=(this.window,function(e){if(!r.hasModule(e)){var n=new Error(‘Cannot find module “‘+e+'”‘);throw n.code=”MODULE_NOT_FOUND”,n}return t(“./”+e+”.js”)});r.loadChunk=function(e){return”main”==e?t.e(“main”).then(function(e){t(“./main.js”)}.bind(null,t))[“catch”](t.oe):”dev”==e?Promise.all([t.e(“main”),t.e(“dev”)]).then(function(e){t(“./shared/dev.js”)}.bind(null,t))[“catch”](t.oe):”internal”==e?Promise.all([t.e(“main”),t.e(“internal”),t.e(“qtext2”),t.e(“dev”)]).then(function(e){t(“./internal.js”)}.bind(null,t))[“catch”](t.oe):”ads_manager”==e?Promise.all([t.e(“main”),t.e(“ads_manager”)]).then(function(e){undefined,undefined,undefined,undefined,undefined,undefined,undefined,undefined,undefined}.bind(null,t))[“catch”](t.oe):”content_widgets”==e?Promise.all([t.e(“main”),t.e(“content_widgets”)]).then(function(e){t(“./content_widgets.iframe.js”)}.bind(null,t))[“catch”](t.oe):void 0},r.whenReady=function(e,n){Promise.all(window.webpackChunks.map(function(e){return r.loadChunk(e)})).then(function(){n()})},r.prefetchAll=function(){t(“./settings.js”);Promise.all([t.e(“main”),t.e(“qtext2”)]).then(function(){}.bind(null,t))[“catch”](t.oe)},r.hasModule=function(e){return!!window.NODE_JS||t.m.hasOwnProperty(“./”+e+”.js”)},r.execAll=function(){var e=Object.keys(t.m);try{for(var n=0;n=c?n():document.fonts.load(l(o,'”‘+o.family+'”‘),a).then(function(n){1<=n.length?e():setTimeout(t,25)},function(){n()})}t()});var w=new Promise(function(e,n){u=setTimeout(n,c)});Promise.race([w,m]).then(function(){clearTimeout(u),e(o)},function(){n(o)})}else t(function(){function t(){var n;(n=-1!=y&&-1!=v||-1!=y&&-1!=g||-1!=v&&-1!=g)&&((n=y!=v&&y!=g&&v!=g)||(null===f&&(n=/AppleWebKit\/([0-9]+)(?:\.([0-9]+))/.exec(window.navigator.userAgent),f=!!n&&(536>parseInt(n[1],10)||536===parseInt(n[1],10)&&11>=parseInt(n[2],10))),n=f&&(y==b&&v==b&&g==b||y==x&&v==x&&g==x||y==j&&v==j&&g==j)),n=!n),n&&(null!==_.parentNode&&_.parentNode.removeChild(_),clearTimeout(u),e(o))}function d(){if((new Date).getTime()-h>=c)null!==_.parentNode&&_.parentNode.removeChild(_),n(o);else{var e=document.hidden;!0!==e&&void 0!==e||(y=p.a.offsetWidth,v=m.a.offsetWidth,g=w.a.offsetWidth,t()),u=setTimeout(d,50)}}var p=new r(a),m=new r(a),w=new r(a),y=-1,v=-1,g=-1,b=-1,x=-1,j=-1,_=document.createElement(“div”);_.dir=”ltr”,i(p,l(o,”sans-serif”)),i(m,l(o,”serif”)),i(w,l(o,”monospace”)),_.appendChild(p.a),_.appendChild(m.a),_.appendChild(w.a),document.body.appendChild(_),b=p.a.offsetWidth,x=m.a.offsetWidth,j=w.a.offsetWidth,d(),s(p,function(e){y=e,t()}),i(p,l(o,'”‘+o.family+'”,sans-serif’)),s(m,function(e){v=e,t()}),i(m,l(o,'”‘+o.family+'”,serif’)),s(w,function(e){g=e,t()}),i(w,l(o,'”‘+o.family+'”,monospace’))})})},void 0!==e?e.exports=a:(window.FontFaceObserver=a,window.FontFaceObserver.prototype.load=a.prototype.load)}()},”./third_party/tracekit.js”:function(e,n){/**
ONE SECRET TO EMAIL SUCCESS: The myth is that you need tens of thousands of email addresses for email success. Truth of the matter is that you need quality email addresses … not quantity. FACT: 5,000 carefully targeted quality email addresses will generate more responses that 100,000 low quality email addresses.
Free List Check by FreshAddress is a free email hygiene tool that helps marketers quickly asses the health of their email lists.  The process is fast, easy, free, and 100% secure. Input an email list and within minutes, we’ll notify you if it contains any warning signs of:
In other words, for just over $1,000, this vendor purports to be able to send out 15 million fully opted-in, segmented emails. That’s less than 7 cents per thousand emails – and you’ll own the list afterwards.
In the midst of your “junk” mail, one particular piece catches your eye, one advertising a techno gadget you’ve had your eye on for a while. And there’s a sale on it—all you have to do is enter the following code on the website…
I’ve seen one vendor who claims to have 300 million fully opted-in email addresses available (segmentable by just about every category you can think of), and their price to buy this data is only $400 for 1 million email addresses – and only $1,000 for 15 million!
Daily deal sites can be useful for retail or local service businesses. Offer your discount (daily deal) through the site for a limited time and ask anyone who wants to grab the deal to provide their email address in exchange.
Given how speculative that rule is, it is a good practice to avoid purchasing email lists altogether. If you must sell an email list, you should probably rely on the ‘opt-in’ approach for creating such a list. ‘Opting in’ is express consent (preferably written) to a ‘clear and conspicuous’ request to share the consenting party’s email with others in order that they may send commercial email or to send the consenting party commercial email again after he or she has opted out at an earlier time.”
I always Validate the Email Data first on all my lists, get all the data. You have to wash your email contacts first so you are compliant with Can Spam (#1) as well as to avoid IP Bans, blacklisting, bounce backs.
Body Copy There is never a time that copy isn’t important on the web, and it’s no exception for email marketing. Getting people to read your emails is quite a feat, but split-testing how you craft your copy can go a long way in teaching what sort of persuasive writing works best with your audience.
Having a list of email addresses can be very beneficial for your business. It offers the opportunity to send those people email newsletters informing them about your products, services, special offers, and other stuff which can be a great way for you to increase your sales.
In this tough economy, I understand how marketers are looking for a low cost way to reach their prospects, and unfortunately some are willing to risk $400 to give a low cost email list a try. However, if there’s a willingness to take that risk, then my only recommendation is to DEMAND some type of guarantee. If a list supplier is not willing to provide some type of “money-back” guarantee – then I highly recommend that a list is NOT purchased. Literally, the dollars might as well be flushed down the toilet.
List fatigue is also a concern. If you’re buying a list from a trade show, keep in mind that the other vendors at the trade show, and even businesses elsewhere who bought the list, are also emailing these recipients. By the time you reach the recipients’ inboxes, those readers are going to be exhausted by the barrage of unsolicited commercial email they’ve been receiving.
You promote your new gated assets by blogging about subject matters related to the content assets you’ve created, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.
Having toiled in the trenches of direct marketing for nearly 25 years, we’re eager to share what has helped us design award-winning lead generation campaigns for clients across various verticals. No matter what you sell, direct marketing is a proven method for generating more customers and increasing revenue without breaking the bank.
Like anything, though, this tactic bears testing. In addition to our popover signup form, we’ve also been experimenting with a signup form in our HelloBar (the orange bar at the top of the site). Here are the two different versions, along with the stats so far:
The fact is, email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don’t consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in, at all. They call it unsolicited bulk/commercial email. If the people you’re emailing did not directly sign up with you (and only you!) then it’s considered unsolicited.
It’s tempting to collect as much information on a user as possible right away, but adding too many fields to your landing pages and lead-capturing forms can actually scare people off. Reduce the length of your forms to just two to three fields — you can collect more information from them once you start a conversation.
I love the fact that my mass emails can be highly personalized and still look like regular emails, vs. emails from Constant Contact etc. I can also go into the HTML code and tweak things if they are not right. We use Amazon Web Service SES which is very affordable. A great product for those who have reasonable computer skills to set everything up.
Excellent post as always Brian. You mentioned a downloadable eBook, How to Get 25,000 Visitors Per Month after subscribing. I may have lost that email. Would it be possible for you to post the download link here please? I’d love to have a read of that e-book. Thanks in advance.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means we may get a commission if you make a purchase. Our opinions are our own and we only share what we believe you’ll find helpful. You won’t pay anything extra but it helps us support the running of this website and continue to publish helpful content. Thank you!
It’s what separates Amazon’s laser-focused “here’s that exact product you looked at on our website — and 10 others like it” emails from the countless untargeted, low-response generating “batch and blast” style emails that so many other businesses send.
‘Commercial content’ advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose. Therefore, your blog or newsletter—if transmitted—is probably commercial content and subject to opt-out and disclosure requirements. The safest practice when using your blog to corral email addresses is the use of ‘opt in’ provisions, briefly discussed above.”
Regrettably, the world of email marketing lists can be a very confusing place. On the one side, you have the legitimate, super-pristine — but usually somewhat expensive — opt-in email list brokers. And the key word here is “legitimate,” for these brokers offer genuine opt-in email addresses.
I agree with the subject matter and disagree to some extent. Yes, it is true that; buying email lists is not ideal because with email marketing, the marketer is expected to have acquired a list through the rightful source and or format. What i mean is that; the person to be emailed must have given their consent to receive updates and or news which means by signing up.
I have literally built a multi-million dollar business on the strength of my email list. Ninety percent of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority—and asset.

That is very effective, as it has increased their sign up eleven times! ELEVEN. And as mentioned before, the subscribers you collect when they are in the process of buying are more relevant than any other leads.
Your blog provides a great way to build a personal relationship with customers and prospects — and to gather their email addresses. Consistently end blogs with a call to action that encourages readers to sign up for your email messages. Require blog visitors to provide an email list in order to leave comments, and set it up so that they have to actively opt out if they don’t want their email address included on your mailing list.
But, let met tell a bit of my story. I’ve ran an online store before, and got 11k email list of customers, but it’s on my database. And I’ve lost the business, and start to be an Internet Marketer. Can I input it on my Aweber?
Take Social, you can leverage Social channels such as Facebook and Twitter to deploy campaigns (you no longer have to be a coded / programmer), there are wizard-based tools for doing this to create Apps that are publishing directly to these channels. When people respond to your App (e.g. Photo Contest, Refer-A-Friend for incentive, etc.) they opt-in to direct communications and provide an email address and address (or whatever it is you customise that you wish to capture). These people are then immediately available for your direct marketing campaigns.
Promote content on your Facebook Timeline that your followers can sign up to access. Be sure to add social sharing buttons to the landing pages and thank-you pages you send them to so you encourage your leads to share those offers with their own networks.
2. The information contained is captured in a consistent form which you have control over – easier to integrate back into your customer database or tie to existing customers leveraging social channels (did you know that before? doubtful)
I thoroughly enjoyed the post. It is a lot to absorb at once but I will be reviewing the information later and take the appropriate actions necessary. It was an opener for me on the very many and simple strategies existing to help with traffic and interactions. I love your site and have signed up for your newsletters