Direct Response Marketing is designed to generate an immediate response from consumers, where each consumer response (and purchase) can be measured, and attributed to individual advertisements.[19] This form of marketing is differentiated from other marketing approaches, primarily because there are no intermediaries such as retailers between the buyer and seller, and therefore the buyer must contact the seller directly to purchase products or services. Direct-response marketing is delivered through a wide variety of media, including DRTV, radio, mail, print advertising, telemarketing, catalogues, and the Internet.
You must never purchase lists and mail to them – this is what most people would call Unsolicited Commercial Email (aka spam). Legitimate email service providers and Internet service providers prohibit this type of list from being sent from their networks.
“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.”
I’m a bride myself and I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve marked as spam from venders I’ve never requested any information from. They received my email address from the shop I bought my wedding dress from and tried to sell me services I never asked for. I marked every single one of those emails as spam because I never gave them permission to email me. I also had no idea that my dress shop had shared my email address with other vendors.
I’ll not mention names, but a simple Google search on “buy email list” will show a long list of companies claiming to “sell” quality email addresses … at unbelievable low prices … such as 100,000 affluent email addresses for $399. Unfortunately there’s no such thing!
When you fall in love with a product that’s out of stock, the black box above appears. It says ‘Unfortunately this product is sold out. Write your email address in the field below to receive an email once it’s back.’
Forms of direct response marketing on television include standard short form television commercials, infomercials and home shopping networks. Short-form direct-response commercials have time lengths ranging from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Long form infomercials are typically 30 minutes long. An offshoot of the infomercial is the home shopping industry. In this medium, items can potentially be offered with reduced overhead.[21]
Awesome stuff. I am using aweber and optimise press at the moment. What software would you recommend to create capture pages like the ones you’ve showcased above? I might of missed it if you mentioned it.. Will definitely test the pop-up opt-in.
The original list was 1500. 50 bounces. 20 unsubscribes. 32pc open rate. Fabulous ROI. I put my name, business address, a suitable offer and unsubscribe option clearly in the content. Clearly not SPAM.
When you’re out in the world at a tradeshow, business meeting or other public forum, use your smartphone to collect email addresses. And be sure to include an email opt-in with your business’ mobile app. If you offer the app for free download through your website, “charge” users the “price” of their email address in order to download the app.
Now, take it the next step further. What happens when that person starts to get bombarded with promotional email that is simply not wanted? Either he will tune out any message that is from someone he doesn’t know, or he will simply abandon the email address and start a new email account elsewhere.
I so often forget that people can sign up to an email list in places other than an email capture form on my site. Depending on your email software, there is likely a landing page devoted to acquiring email signups. You can get the link and share it in a huge number of different places like email signatures, social media messages, and guest blog bios.
Additionally, there’s always the old-fashioned way to promote your resources: reach out to fellow entrepreneurs, bloggers, or even journalists and shoot them a personal email with your latest resource attached (hint: don’t make them opt-in!).

Media employed. The medium/media used to deliver a message can have a significant impact on responses. It is difficult to truly personalize a DRTV or radio message. One can even attempt to send a personalized message via email or text message, but a high quality direct mail envelope and letter will typically have a better chance of generated a response in this scenario.
You might be doing all the right things to generate leads — landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn’t driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as “split test”) different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you’re posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.
Does anyone else think this could be utilized to clean up those data lists and build your own targetted prospected friends list per profile using paid email lists an email account plus facebook or other social site?
From a legal standpoint, it’s very risky. From an ethical standpoint, it’s shady and pretty much guarantees that you’re doing to have a high rate of unsubscribes and spam complaints (which are much worse) since the subscribers do not have a prior relationship with your organization.
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.
Those people don’t know who you are; either they don’t know anything about your products or services. At best they will delete your email, at worse they will hit “Report Spam” button on it. A certain amount of spam complaints and… voila, your account with an ESP is shut down.
However, none of that will ever become a reality, if you don’t have any subscribers. A lot of the people I talk to claim that it can be a costly affair to grow your email list – but that is a common misunderstanding I want to correct.
Using a purchased list means you’re not adhering to the ISP and email client guidelines. Furthermore, purchased lists often generate really high bounces, get flagged as spam by recipients and have low read rates.
Thanks Rob. Single opt-in is definitely something to consider. I’m personally a fan of double optin because (as you said) you get less bad emails. But it’s a decision that depends on the person and business 🙂
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Calls to Action Should you tell people to click right away or save the CTA for further along in the email? Should the button/link say “Click Here” or “Find Out More”? When it comes down to getting people to take action (the most important part of marketing), you simply must test a variety of elements to improve conversions, as this is one of the worst elements to leave to guesswork!
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]
They say that hindsight is 20/20, but I gladly would have paid the $5 I saved on my total purchase to NOT receive those emails over the years. Because with every one I got – and promptly deleted – you better believe that I was cursing their company name. It did nothing but hurt their company’s reputation and leave a bad taste in my mouth.
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.
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.
They typically have a big bucket and a form where the customers can write their email address to participate in the competition. It says on the form that they will receive other relevant information, offers, and a notification whenever there is a new competition.
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.
However, far more than just opt-in customers receive direct mailings. Non-targeted blanket mailings arrive daily in many mailboxes and e-mail accounts. Yet despite frustration with “junk mail” and “spam,” a high enough percentage of such mailings are acted upon. In fact, the percentages can increase when the advertising is targeted specifically at a particular community or group. Among African-Americans who receive direct mail, some three-quarters take the time to read what they receive instead of just throwing it away; while Asian-Americans open and read about 90 percent of all their direct mail.
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.
Some folks know it’s good to be “not bad,” but they might not be aware of the benefits (beyond a clean conscience) that comes with it. If email compliance is a rainbow, then the resulting good is the pot of gold at the end.
Thirty years in the list industry, and for the first time I’m witnessing an infection contaminate the reputation of our list industry. I’m referring to the recent explosion of new start-ups … with little history in the list industry … that are peddling bogus email addresses.
Wow, great info! Thanks Julia. I’d like to share another tip. A great way to build your opt-in email marketing lists fast & free is to participate is joint venture giveaways. I contribute in most of the JV giveaways. On a bad day I get 5 new sign up but I often get over 20 in just 1 day plus I make money from home selling discounted packages! Great for niche marketing too.
If you went out to eat, and you gave your email address to the restaurant, and then the restaurant went out of business… would you want to start getting emails from the old restaurant owner about his new carpet cleaning business? I suspect not.