Sending marketing messages through email or email marketing is one of the most widely used direct-marketing methods. One reason for email marketing’s popularity is that it is relatively inexpensive to design, test, and send an email message. It also allows marketers to deliver messages around the clock, and to accurately measure responses.
Really good article. When you start out it’s definitely tempting to buy an email list, but I’m glad that I didn’t do it with my business. I hate when I receive an unsolicited email from a company that I’m not familiar with. I imagine that most people probably feel the same way.
Day of the Week As with hour of the day, it’s hard to come by best practices for timing in this regard. For some lists, weekends will be amazing, and for others they will be so dead you could swear you just saw a tumbleweed roll by. The answer again here is to test it and see which day(s) work for you.
Your tip about CTA’s really hit the spot. I’ve been noticing that some of our competitors are using wordy yet highly specific buttons like ‘Get My Free Consultation Now!’ or ‘See Other Works From ____’. I was skeptic at first, but reading your logic behind it, it makes sense. I’m looking forward to implementing this on my own sites. Thank you, Brian.
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.
There really isn’t a shortcut to building a list. It takes time and effort but there might be one alternative. Buy a web property that has a trusted list and continue from there. It’s really a off-line strategy of acquisition but it works online too.
In analyzing the websites and techniques of some of these awesome email list builders, a certain formula started to emerge. If I could boil down the process of building a massive email list to just the most basic parts, I think it would look like this:
This is a brilliant B2B lead generation tool that grabs corporate email addresses of your ideal customers in real time i.e. they do not store data. I’ve jumped into the beta (currently in closed beta so recommend you request access) and the team are doing a great job. This tool finds really accurate data. It’s incredibly intuitive. Very fast. I could go on.
Fortunately, there are options for popups, as the strategy covers a wide variety of different implementations. I’m throwing all these under the umbrella of “popup.” Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any favorites you’ve used or seen.

Thanks for the warning re ESPs, spam traps & spam treatments Crystal. That’s a shame. Who puts the Spam trap in there & I wonder what they’re trying to achieve? The clients I have already picked up with this purchased list may save our business. As mentioned, at $250-$500 per lead through our SEO campaign, this lead acquisition rate was unsustainable. In brief, this would not be a business. But at $13.75 per lead through the purchased cold email list, those are metrics which make a profitable business. I wonder why anyone would try to block this efficiency with Spam traps? Thanks for your time to help.
I’ve found giveaways are a good way to build up your email list. This gives incentives for people to willing give you their email in exchange for a chance at winning something. Also searching forums related to your niche is a good way to find people who are interested in what you are selling.
I use this in conjunction with Yesware (but have also used Outreach and ToutApp) which is an email automation tool which helps automate cold outbound emails and follow ups (using the email addresses you grab from Sales Umbrella). You’ll spend virtually no time at all sending cold outbound emails and absolutely no time in sending cold follow up emails as it is all automated. So you can imagine the time saving vs. a manual email process!
The best way to reassure the subscriber is with the link to your privacy policy page. But you can also add a line like “We will not share your email address with any third party” below the signup form to remove their doubts right now.
So, building up lists of emails is a task you must put some effort behind in order to kick your email marketing efforts into gear. The problem is nobody really wants more email, particularly spam from unknown sources. When I talk about buying email lists, I’m am not talking about buying or renting so called opt-in lists from list brokers. I’m talking about offering something of value as a way to motivate someone to willingly exchange their email address with you in order to receive your offers and additional contact.
A 2010 study by the Direct Marketing Association reports that in 2010, marketers—commercial and nonprofit—spent $153.3 billion on direct marketing, which accounted for 54.2% of all ad expenditures in the United States. Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $1.798 trillion in incremental sales. In 2010, direct marketing accounted for 8.3% of total US gross domestic product. In 2010, there were 1.4 million direct marketing employees in the US. Their collective sales efforts directly supported 8.4 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.8 million US jobs.[1]
The prevalence of direct marketing and the unwelcome nature of some communications has led to regulations and laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act, requiring that consumers in the United States be allowed to opt out.
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.
If you purchase a list, you have no way of confirming how often those email addresses have been emailed, whether the email addresses on that list have been scrubbed for hard bounces to prevent identifying you as a spammer, or from where those email addresses originated. Are you really willing to risk not only your email deliverability, but also the reputation of your IP address and your company? Even if you find the light after purchasing or renting email lists and decide to only email those who have opted in with your company, it will take you months (or maybe years) to get your Sender Score up and rebuild the reputation of your IP.
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If I sign up for an email newsletter to ABC Company because I love their widgets, I’m going to be more than a little confused when ABC Company starts to send me emails about the dongle manufacturer they just acquired.
What’s nice about this trick, is that your main focus shouldn’t be on sales, as I am convinced that sales will follow automatically. People that have followed and liked your course will automatically turn to you, the expert, when they need something.
Thanks Tammy. Great point: popups are extra annoying on a mobile. I wish there was a way to turn off popups for mobile visitors or at least make the popup responsive. That would be an awesome feature for a popup software product.
Stage an event — lunch gathering, topic talk, book club or whatever works to get people in the door. Drop invitations at nearby businesses, post the notice on your front door, and advertise in local media. Ask people to RSVP with their email addresses.
They give the sense of urgency and VIP-status. If you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll be the first one to know about new sales, when they get new products in store, and you’ll even get exclusive previews before everyone else.
Imagine if someone was getting married and they were looking for a photographer, and they saw that headline. Or if they had a friend who was getting married and they say that. THEY WOULD SHARE IT IN A SECOND!
Direct marketing removes the “middle man” from the promotion process, as a company provides a message directly to a potential customer. Companies with smaller advertising budgets typically use this type of marketing since they cannot afford to pay for advertisements on television and often do not have the brand recognition of larger firms.
Email marketing has been changing lives of many marketers just by having an email list. Marketers have raised their income from zero to thousands of dollars. If you are into marketing give it a try 😉
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.
So, as an example, if you run an online store that sells sweat shirts, you may hear from your customer something like this: “I’ve bought a few other sweat shirts and they always fell apart in the wash. I’m hoping your sweat shirt will last longer!”
Is bounce rate an accurate metric to look at when valuing your email marketing campaigns and the quality of your marketing list? I don’t think so. Most of email blasts have an average bounce rate of 20%. It’s just the reality of it. Instead, I would use ROI as a standard metric for any type of marketing efforts.