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.
One day I saw a representative of this company offering 5,000 email addresses for free (he’s on LinkedIn), so I figured, “OK, let’s get a peek behind the curtain here, just to see what kind of email addresses they have.”
Lists can be obtained through public or commercial sources, and may represent all the people in a particular neighborhood, all the people who entered a contest drawing, all the people who opted in to a newsletter, a customer list from another business, etc. Such lists should not be used indiscriminately; instead, the data should be analyzed to create messages and offers that are likely to be relevant to these customers or prospects.
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.
Segmenting is easy, but it’s not 100 percent costless. It takes time and effort to determine how to segment your list and what to send to each segment. You’ll want to make sure that your segmented email campaigns are indeed performing up to their potential.
OptinMonster* is a powerful option here. I’ve mentioned it in the WordPress plugins above and that’s how OptinMonster started out. It’s now a fully fledged cloud app that supports both HTML and WordPress. It provides a great overview for all of your list building efforts and makes it easy to deploy split tests with a few clicks. Pricing starts at $19/month (or $9/month when paid annually).
We’ve got several spots for CTAs here on the Buffer blog. They’re currently set to send visitors to sign up for Buffer, and we may adjust them to focus on email in the near future. If you scroll down just right on the Buffer blog, you can see all of our CTAs at once.
From what you’ve indicated here, the business people signed up to hear about you from is no longer in business. So the reason that people signed up for email no longer exists, and emailing them about some other unrelated business would not be OK with AWeber.
Exactly what I was looking for, Brian. I have started a SEO blog recently and your post will surely help me to implement many things ! 🙂 Your contents are so huge that it’s hard to consume in one sitting ..lol ..Read a lot , it’s implementation time now 😉 Keep up the great work buddy !
And sure, when you compare a nickel for a thousand emails to, say, a hundred bucks  for a thousand emails (which is TWO THOUSAND TIMES the cost), it’s easy to further calculate that even if the response rate is only 1/2000th as good, you’re still coming out ahead.
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:
In direct response radio, ads contain a call to action with a specific tracking mechanism. Often, this tracking mechanism is a “call now” prompt with a toll-free phone number or a unique Web URL. Results of the ad can be tracked in terms of calls, orders, customers, leads, sales, revenue, and profits that result from the airing of those ads.
One of Michael Hyatt‘s secrets to building an incredible list is with giveaways—and probably a good amount of A/B testing. His calls-to-action for downloading a free ebook are really excellent. Here’s the one that appears at the bottom of his posts.
In doing so, I can get early measurements and compare those against my needs / assumptions to see if it’s worth emailing the other 900 people, or if instead I should spend more time working on my pitch or target a new audience altogether.

If you attend conferences and events, it is a golden opportunity to meet your potential subscribers face to face. If they have met you and have become familiar with your brand, they are loyal-customer-material. This is where you ask them for their email address so you can keep them posted on your latest ideas, best prices, newest products and so forth.
One common method is something you’ve likely come across. Think about those flashing banner ads you see across the web. They say things like “Congratulations, you’ve won a free iPad”. Or “You’re our 1 millionth visitor, click to claim your prize!”
Other media, such as magazines, newspapers, radio, social media, search engine marketing and e-mail can be used to elicit the response. A survey of large corporations found e-mail to be one of the most effective forms of direct response.[22]
For those who focus on building and growing an email subscriber list, their home pages reflect how vital email is to their content strategy. Big, bold signup forms dominate the home pages of many email-savvy blogs.
Faster Campaigns – Digital campaigns from start to finish generally take less time. For example, it’s very possible to launch a digital campaign in a matter of a few hours, which would be nearly impossible to do for a mail campaign.
Someone voluntarily gives you their email address either online or in person so you can send them emails. They may pick certain types of email content they wish to receive, like specifically requesting email alerts when new blog posts are published. Opt-in email addresses are the result of earning the interest and trust of your contacts because they think you have something valuable to say.
Copywriters write the words that motivate the reader, listener, or viewer to take the action the marketer wants them to take. Copywriters in direct marketing are called direct response copywriters. These copywriters have a specific skill-set based on proven direct marketing techniques. The goal is to motivate prospects to take a specific action. Copywriters in general and branding advertising focus on making current and potential customers feel a certain way about the product or service. Graphic designers, web developers, and other creatives also play a crucial role in successful direct marketing.
ISPs or email providers always look at what a subscriber is doing with his or her inbox, such as opening an email, clicking a link, reporting a message as spam, etc. If the engagement is good, this tells the ISP or email provider to route future emails to their inbox instead of the spam folder. As a result, the more a subscriber is engaged, the more frequently ISPs will route mail to the inbox.
The most exciting thing is that you can create multiple outgoing email accounts in the hybrid software using different SMTP settings and easily switch the account in case your main SMTP undergoes any outage when you need to send an urgent campaign.
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.
Then, let’s say you write 30 blog posts a month. That means you’d get 60 leads in a month — 2 from each blog post. Now keep doing that for a year. The work you did to blog that first month will continue to drive leads throughout the year. That means you’re actually getting 4,680 opt-in contacts a month by the end of a 12-month period because of the compounding effects of blogging — not just 720 opt-in contacts (60 leads*12 months).
If you practice email marketing you know how difficult it is to find relevant and free email lists. And even when you search for contacts databases, you have no guarantee that it will work for the success of your sales and business.
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.
Adam used to manage the content marketing efforts for brands earning well over 8 figures in annual revenue. Now he teaches bloggers how to create a blog that thrives in a noisy online world. Click here to get exclusive content you won’t find on the blog.
Webinars, ebooks, templates, etc. — these are all good long-form, premium content assets that people may find valuable enough to give over their email address. The more gated assets you have to put behind landing pages, the better — a wider variety of content will make it easier for you to attract a wider swath of people.
There are tons of websites and publishers out there that cater to your audience — and larger portions of it. Guest blogging for these websites helps you expand your contact list to this audience. When creating content as a guest blogger for another website, include a call-to-action, as well as a link in you author byline, for readers to subscribe to your site’s blog or email newsletter.
If you are already using videos in your content marketing, you should consider how to turn viewers into leads. It is actually possible. I have discovered the tool Wistia, which allows you to collect emails directly in your videos through their Turnstile feature.
Creating an ebook or webinar with a partner can split up the work of content creation and allow you to share the audience of a similar business. After you release your content, split the leads you generate with your partner.
If they have spent time at your stand and have checked out your products, they have probably felt inspired by your brand or are interested in your product range. That means they will most likely be thrilled to receive your best tips or products in their inbox – so you should give them the opportunity!
Email leads are most effectively captured through landing pages. Since landing pages focus on a single outcome, they are fantastic for conversion rates in general, and this also applies to acquiring more email addresses—so don’t get skimpy on creating them!
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.
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.
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.”
Actually, this problem could have been avoided if they would have cleaned the list. Some companies do it really cheap. Just do a web search of “deep clean email lists” and you’ll find the ones that will clean the hard bounces before you mail.
These companies must simply work on the assumption that they will always find new customers willing to gamble, because I can’t see how they ever get any repeat business. In the handful of cases where I know for a fact what happened when someone used this kind of service, I’ll tell you how many responses were received:
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