There are many, many tools that can aid you in your direct marketing campaigns, such as lead generation tools to help you generate your list of prospects to outreach tools, which will help you actually launch the campaign.
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:
Put signage around your store that encourages shoppers to use their phones to join your email list. You can also put your Text-to-Join information on your business card, on flyers, brochures, and direct mail pieces.
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.
The Sales Umbrella tool is a big game changer for me and my clients. Already speeding things up no end. Again, to get access you’ll have to request through their site as it is currently in a closed beta, but I’d highly recommend you do just that.
Build a mailing list of movers new to the area, updated daily. Select your geographic territory via a map interface or standard selections such as zip codes, counties, cities, etc. View more information…
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.
– Create a “How to” video. Download a screen recording tool and show your audience how to accomplish a task they need to deal with. Once you record it, you can make a private YouTube video or upload it on any other video site. Then, create a protected page on WordPress and you’re good to use it as your lead magnet!
Another refund story involves a young woman who started a new business catering to the senior’s market. She bought an ailment email list consisting of a whopping 175,000 email addresses AND direct mail addresses for just $1700. She was a sharp marketer because as an extra quality control measure, she called us and asked that we append age data … just to make sure the names were really seniors. Well, I’m sure you can guess. Over 55% of the names were under age 50 … far from her target market. Plus, we also discovered that the list was loaded with duplicates. Bottom-line, after eliminating all the duplicates and under age names, her ailment list dwindled down to 48,000 names. She was mad but still under control since she still had about 48,000 email names … for just $1700 … a good deal. Then she did a test email blast to 10,000 names; undeliverable / bounce-back rate was 43% … that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She called the email list provider demanding her money back. But like 99% of the time, the email list seller refused to refund any money, but instead offer her more email addresses. Of course she did not want more bad email addresses – as the cost of cleaning the bad email addresses was too much.
You can create a list of the emails in a spreadsheet with each email in a different cell of the spreadsheet. When you want to email them, just open the spreadsheet and copy the entire row of email addresses. Then, go to your Gmail and paste them into the “To” field. This will put all the email addresses into your outgoing email without creating them as contacts.
That’s not to say that I endorse this as a business practice. I don’t. BUT, it does show that relevance may trump permission when it comes to email marketing. And it’s pretty darn hard to buy a list outright and be anything close to relevant to all of the recipients.
GoDaddy Email Marketing and other reputable email newsletter apps don’t allow purchased email lists. This means that in order to send to those lists you bought, you’ll need to use a “disreputable” service which is likely already on ISP and blacklist block lists.
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 🙂
“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.
Andrew Chen was one of leaders in implementing the homepage-as-signup-form. His main page has an additional little trick. When you first land on there, the email form is highlighted automatically, and you can start typing your email address without needing to even click.
Where consumers have indicated the wish not to receive direct marketing communications by signing on to a preference service, or in any other way, this should be respected. Marketers who are communicating with consumers internationally should, where possible ensure that they avail themselves of the appropriate preference service in the markets to which they are addressing their communications and respect consumers’ wishes not to receive such communications (see also General Provisions, article 19, data protection and privacy.[26] Where a system exists, enabling consumers to indicate a wish not to receive unaddressed mail (e.g. mailbox stickers), this should be respected.
Unfortunately, there are individuals off in who-knows-where selling worthless databases containing hundreds of thousands of outdated contacts for next to nothing. Not only is this shady and immoral, but it is creating a blanketing negative stereotype of the data industry.
Not only have they made it incredibly simple to forward the newsletter, but the subscribe options are both at the top and bottom of the newsletter – impossible to miss but not in the way or distracting.

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.
If collecting in person, feature an in-store sign-up sheet at checkout that invites customers to subscribe for VIP benefits. You can also get email addresses when helping a customer by telling them briefly about the cool stuff they’ll receive by joining your email list.
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.
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.
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!
If you know your small business needs marketing, but don’t have the time or resources, look no further. The Duct Tape Marketing podcast covers everything from earning referrals to managing time and being more productive.
A marketing program will also teach you how to acquire and interpret meaningful data, including how to obtain and analyze marketing lists. By applying the right analytical and statistical tools, you’ll be able to target a direct marketing campaign in order to increase the rate of response, and consequently, the return on investment.
There are (obviously) unscrupulous email marketers among us, and you don’t want to be confused with any of them. Being illegal is, well… a bad thing. So, what are the email marketing laws that we all need to adhere to
There are organizations called blacklists like Spamhaus as well as other filtering organizations like Cloudmark and Brightmail. Email clients like Yahoo and Gmail and Hotmail rely on them to help block spam (yay!). These blacklists leave spam traps or honeypots for shady list sellers to collect. Then, if one of those email addresses ends up in your purchased list, you’re in big trouble! It’s like having bad credit – it can take a long time and a lot of hard work to rebuild trust with blacklists and until you do, you’ll have poor delivery results even if you’ve stopped using the purchased email list.
– Articles. If a reader is interested in your content, they’re more likely to want to read more. Thus, you can put a subscription form in the middle or at the end of the article and give them the ability to subscribe to receive more content from you.
And while having a large list can be an invaluable resource, focus on quality over quantity. A smaller list of engaged followers is better for your business than a larger list full of followers who don’t care about you.
One of the best ways to persuade them to take action is to hold a competition and provide an incentive. For example, whoever collects the most emails in the month of July will receive a $50 gift card.
How it works is quite ingenious. It works through a live server connection process. So you have a chrome extension that allows the Sales Umbrella tool to sit over the top of your LinkedIn account. You then add people either one by one or in bulk from LinkedIn into your Sales Umbrella platform. The tool will then grab their corporate email addresses through some sort of server to server handshake connection directly with your prospects corporate server.
Second, determine if the expected revenue generated from the campaign will justify the expense. Direct marketing can be a very costly method of advertising. If the sales from the campaign far exceed the cost of the direct marketing and product costs, direct marketing may be a viable option for increasing awareness for a product or service.
Harvesting emails and selling them can get you in a world of trouble. CAN SPAM specifically states that it is illegal to sell and buy email addresses. It is, however, legal to rent a list, but that’s still considered sketchy.
While email is a comparatively old, un-sexy technology compared to social media, the rallying cries of “Email is dead!” are simply inaccurate and undoubtedly hurting the bottom line of those businesses who listen.