Hi Yi. Thanks for your comment. Bounce rate is most definitely a key indicator of the health of your list. Your hard bounce rate should be no greater than 5% – that’s the industry standard. Using a purchased or rented email lists is not permitted by reputable ESPs.
Español: hacer una lista de correos en Gmail, Italiano: Creare una Mailing List in Gmail, Русский: сделать список рассылки в Gmail, Português: Criar uma Lista no Gmail, Deutsch: Eine Verteilerliste in Gmail erstellen, Français: créer une liste d’envoi dans Gmail, Bahasa Indonesia: Membuat Milis di Gmail, ไทย: สร้าง Mailing List ใน Gmail, 中文: 在Gmail中创建邮件列表, 日本語: Gmailのメーリングリストをつくる, 한국어: 지메일(Gmail) 메일링 리스트 만들기, Tiếng Việt: Tạo một danh sách thư tín trong Gmail, العربية: إنشاء قائمة مراسلة بريدية في إيميل الجيميل, Nederlands: Een mailinglijst maken in Gmail, हिन्दी: जीमेल पर मेलिंग लिस्ट (Mailing List) तैयार करें
Direct marketing began in the 19th century with Montgomery Ward’s mail-order catalogues (See also Catalog Marketing). Direct mail campaigns expanded greatly after the creation of bulk mail rates in 1928. More recently, the development of e-mail has further increased the reach and scope of direct marketing.
Customize your credit card receipt with a field/line where customers can jot down their email address while they’re signing. Or, simply ask them to write their address on the back of the receipt. At the end of the day, enter the addresses into your database and send out a welcoming email.
Brian, there’s one tip you forgot to add that you CONSISTENTLY nail: author engagement. For proof, I dare all readers to scroll down the comments section and see how many comments get a Brian Dean reply. Hint: all of them. Including this one, I bet.
In 1967, Lester Wunderman identified, named, and defined the term “direct marketing”. Wunderman—considered[by whom?] to be the father of contemporary direct marketing—is behind the creation of the toll-free 1-800 number[4] and numerous loyalty marketing programs including the Columbia Record Club, the magazine subscription card, and the American Express Customer Rewards program.[7]
If a customer or prospect visits your website, they’re already at least somewhat interested. Don’t miss the opportunity to add them to your email list. Include email registration forms on every main page of your site, as well as on the pages for popular products and services.
We recently passed the 20,000 mark for subscribers on the Buffer blog, and it’s safe to say we have a lot to learn to grow a successful list. We’re inspired to learn from some of the smart and well regarded sites who have made email an emphasis. For example:

If your goal is to own and market to a legitimate opt-in email list (that is, the kind of email list that has a shot at garnering response), then buying an email list is not for you. The reason for that is simple…you really can’t “buy” someone’s permission. They have to give it to you.
Another type of electronic mailing list is a discussion list, in which any subscriber may post. On a discussion list, a subscriber uses the mailing list to send messages to all the other subscribers, who may answer in similar fashion. Thus, actual discussion and information exchanges can happen. Mailing lists of this type are usually topic-oriented (for example, politics, scientific discussion, health problems, joke contests), and the topic may range from extremely narrow to “whatever you think could interest us”. In this they are similar to Usenet newsgroups, another form of discussion group that may have an aversion to off-topic messages.
When a company you’ve never heard of sends you a marketing email you probably flag them as spam or simply delete the email. Sending to a purchased email list won’t engender trust nor will it won’t create a relationship with the potential customer.
Wow….this was a well explained detailed study, and I totally agree with you pop up boxes or slider for subscriptions do work but don’t you think at the same time they do irritate the visitors and I think first impression is the last impression.
Whatever channel you choose for your direct marketing, you must ABSOLUTELY ensure that it’s personalized. The key to personalization is data. Now that there are tools such as analytics, statistical modeling and business intelligence – take advantage of it. Data can help you bridge the gap and spend your marketing dollars on customers most likely to respond. Just remember that there’s a difference between personalized marketing and creepy marketing. The former will attract potential customers and draw you closer to your business goals; the latter will send prospects running in the other direction.
Great post Brian. As someone that has stupidly not concentrated on building my list till recently I found this post invaluable to get my list building on the right track. Thank you for this informative and easily understandable post. Bookmarked and shared.
This is all starting to sound like a bad idea, isn’t it? You’ll spend all that time and money, and when all is said and done, very few of your emails will actually be delivered, let alone opened and acted upon.
If you sign up for something and the terms include words like “Sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you’ll like,” your email address is likely being collected for a shared or sold list. A subset of this method is called co-registration. This is where you sign up at a website, but that website also automatically, or nearly automatically, signs you up for other sites. They try to legitimize this by informing you of the additional subscriptions, or providing boxes to uncheck. This is a situation where it’s not the subscriber’s intention to sign up for the material they will be receiving.
Well, for starters, direct marketing allows you to very easily measure the success of a campaign. For example, say I send 1000 people an email marketing a new product, and as a result 10 people from this group buy.
Much like Hubspot, Social Media Examiner is really good at giving things away. Their homepage has a huge call-to-action to sign up for a free ebook. When you’re scrolling down an individual blog post, you see another CTA—a popup offering instant access to a free video. With events and webinars and many different forms of media, Social Media Examiner has lots of opportunity to appeal to subscribers in many different ways.
Companies that use direct marketing benefit from being able to focus limited resources on a targeted promotion, which also allows them to personalize the marketing message. Because it is easy to measure responses, companies can test different marketing messages for improving the response rate. Direct marketing can be cost-effective if the customer database is well-managed.
Unless your company is in the middle of some M&A action, you’re not going to come across high quality email lists you can purchase. If it’s for sale, it means that the email addresses on it have already been ripped to shreds by all the other people who have purchased that list and emailed the people on it. Any email addresses that once had value have since been spammed to the ends of the earth.
I’m not saying you should put up something crazy like a $6,000 value prize. Think about the products in your niche that people desperately want to get their hands on and look at putting some budget aside.
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!”
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!
At the other end of the spectrum, you have what I call the real “fly-by-nighters.” These are the people who purport to have 100 million or 200 million “opt in” email addresses, and they’ll send out crazy amounts of email for you (like 10 million emails) for a ridiculously small amount of money (like $500).
Noah and his team built their own platform for this and it costs $198. Sure it may look a bit pricey but it works out more cost effective in the long run than similar tools that have a monthly payment attached.
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!
Another collection method happens when list vendors buy emails lists from industry trade shows (or other events) where people give their info during the registration process. This is not the same thing as folks who signed up with you, directly, at your trade show booth! This is where list vendors purchase the entire registration list, from the trade show, itself.
Instead of helping people confirm their email, how about removing the co formation completely. Sure, you will get some bad emails, but over time you will get more real subscribers than you would using a confirm email. (Stole this trick from Neil Patel)
Whether you’re at a trade show, community event or in your own storefront, collecting email addresses in person can be as easy as putting out a signup sheet and encouraging people to write down their details.
“I believe it’s important to keep in mind that crossing international boundaries with email is easy and that other nations have different (and sometimes stronger) laws on SPAM than the United States.”
You must always make it clear why it’s a great idea to sign up. I stumbled across Gotogate’s checkout process, where I was surprised to see that they have a checkbox saying ‘I do not wish to sign up for the newsletter.’
Broadcast faxing, in which faxes are sent to multiple recipients, is now less common than in the past.[citation needed] This is partly due to laws in the United States and elsewhere which regulate its use for consumer marketing. In 2005, President Bush signed into law S.714, the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 (JFPA), which allows marketers to send commercial faxes to those with whom they have an established business relationship (EBR), but imposes some new requirements. These requirements include providing an opt-out notice on the first page of faxes and establishing a system to accept opt-outs at any time of the day. Roughly 2% of direct marketers use fax, mostly for business-to-business marketing campaigns.[17]
I have found that opt-in email rentals do not work well for direct sale unless you are a well known brand – but have worked very well for me in lead generation through newsletters, lead generation through coupon offers and brand awareness campaigns.
One of the smarter ways to gather email leads online is to simply integrate email into your product’s usage. The most basic technique here is requiring an email to sign up (which most companies do), but this is also an opportunity to get creative.
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.
That said, there are still some benefits to more traditional approaches to direct marketing, for example, a 2009 study by Bangor University cited that direct marketing / physical material was more real to the brain, created stronger brand emotions, and led to a greater internalization of the ad. As a result, it may produce better response rates with certain groups – especially older ones.