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:
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]
This hack should take up no more than two lines in your email signature. As you can tell, I prefer a short, get-to-the-point way of promoting the newsletter. If you design your signature well enough, it will seem like you are offering the receivers of your emails an extra treat every time you send them an email. 
Leverage the power of VerticalResponse with insights, examples and practical advice from our email marketing experts. See how easy it is to build your business with skillful campaigns and strategic customer outreach.
You won’t have to fall into that camp though, because today we’re going to go over how to take your startup’s blog and refine it into a conversion building machine—and the best part is that simplicity is the foundational element, so you won’t have to worry about coding up a ton of random features.
Direct marketing via television (commonly referred to as DRTV) has two basic forms: long form (usually half-hour or hour-long segments that explain a product in detail and are commonly referred to as infomercials) and short form, which refers to typical 30-second or 60-second commercials that ask viewers for an immediate response (typically to call a phone number on screen or go to a website). TV-response marketing—i.e. infomercials—can be considered a form of direct marketing, since responses are in the form of calls to telephone numbers given on-air. This allows marketers to reasonably conclude that the calls are due to a particular campaign, and enables them to obtain customers’ phone numbers as targets for telemarketing. One of the most famous DRTV commercials was for Ginsu Knives by Ginsu Products, Inc. of Rhode Island. Several aspects of ad, such as its use of adding items to the offer and the guarantee of satisfaction were much copied, and came to be considered part of the formula for success with short-form direct-response TV ads (DRTV).
So, the next time a vendor offers you 10 million emails for $500, think very hard about whether you’re really willing to flush five hundred bucks down the toilet. Because that is precisely what you’ll be doing…
This is also common. Remember, if you want people to join your email list, you need to give them a reason to join. And if you’re not giving away a discount, the next best thing is this: give away content.
Send an email asking subscribers what you can help with or what they’re most interested in these days. You can collect replies via surveys or by having people reply to you with their answers (if you can handle a decent volume of incoming mail, this is a nice personal touch that makes people feel appreciated).
The ICC Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing relates to all direct marketing activities in their entirety, whatever their form, medium or content. It sets the standards of ethical conduct to be followed by marketers, practitioners or other contractors providing services for direct marketing purposes or in the media.[25]
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.
Downloadable resources can be an incredible source of new email leads. They also provide prospects with useful information that helps them get more use out of your product—so they’re a win all-around.
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.
To give an example of what direct marketing looks like, consider the campaign run by the sausage making company WVRST to announce their grand opening. WVRST cleverly designed t-shirts in the shape and style of sausages, even using butcher paper to wrap them.
It’s eye-catching without being annoying. If you’re not a fan of popups, rejoice: since the feature box is front and center when your site loads, it will grab a reader’s attention without impeding their ability to read.
– Blog’s comments. You can use the comment form to build your mailing list. Simply add an option asking the users to tick it if they want to receive your blog updates. The user has already entered their details, so it’s easy to convert them into email subscribers at this step.
Your email list is your best friend when you work with email marketing. The ideal email list contains plenty of relevant subscribers, who have all willingly given you their email address because you have promised them valuable content in return.
Today, more moms work outside the home than they did in previous generations. Still, and while dads contribute to household chores and are more involved parents than ever before, moms are burdened with the majority of the household work and child rea…
I agree with the subject matter and disagree to some extent. Yes, it is true that; buying email lists is not ideal because with email marketing, the marketer is expected to have acquired a list through the rightful source and or format. What i mean is that; the person to be emailed must have given their consent to receive updates and or news which means by signing up.
Resource-style content such as white papers, eBooks, and infographics is made for promotion. While blog posts and traditional articles are a great way to reach out to people (“Hey, thought you might like this recent piece we did on…”), you can get a lot more mileage out of a broad set of evergreen resources.
And let’s say I implement your “content upgrade” strategy on a particular post, by including an opt-in form at the end of the post. If people sign up via that opt-in form, they will get a beautiful PDF file that summarizes that post.
First off, of the 4,917 email addresses that I received, 1,483 of them were for “Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel.” Is anyone else having a hard time believing that nearly 1,500 people from ONE company genuinely opted in to this list?
All direct marketing communications must include some method with which to track responses. A call to action might direct customers to call a specific number exclusive to that campaign, or to click on a link to a website with a landing page that exclusively handles responses from a given campaign (See also Post-Click Marketing). Direct marketers use the response-rate data to gauge how effective their communication is, and whether or not it needs to be changed for the next release. Such data is not only used to adjust the immediate campaign, but is also coordinated with data from other campaigns in order to present the direct marketing team with a better overall picture of their target markets. The data can then be used to more effectively optimize communication for specific market segments.
But in the age of social media, is email still really relevant? Should we all just give up on trying to find people’s email addresses and resort to Facebook Messages and Twitter Direct Messages instead?

90+ PERCENT DELIVERY RATE – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Why is my email response rate so low? The ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, etc) will block “good-deliverable” email addresses … or divert to SPAM box … if the “good” email addresses are associated with an email blast that includes a lot of bad email addresses. This blocking of good email addresses is why an email blast to 1,000,000 names can literally have zero responses. Using an email list that is less than 90% deliverable … will result in your good email addresses being blocked … thus making the email campaign futile. Demand a 90+ percent email delivery rate … or “money refund.”
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!
Everybody has an email address. Email is the one thing that makes personalization on the internet possible. You can’t sign up for an account on any website without an email address. Facebook may be the largest social network in the world, but that doesn’t mean that everyone uses it. Whether you like using email or not, it’s basically a mandatory part of interacting online.
In my experience, there are two types of software. Software that makes things complicated and software that makes things easy. Drip makes things easy. Especially if you want to automate your email marketing.
You want to offer your “Free Plan” customers a chance to upgrade, so you propose a 20% off coupon be sent to their inbox, but you have 3 pretty important things to test that you know will impact how well the email does.
Then they have a small checkbox at the bottom where you can subscribe to their newsletter. This form is also found in many checkout processes. However, Greenline lures their customers in with the promise of candy with the caption “Gummy bears and great offers” “sign up for our newsletter and we’ll add some candy to your order”. I mean… CANDY!
In the midst of your “junk” mail, one particular piece catches your eye, one advertising a techno gadget you’ve had your eye on for a while. And there’s a sale on it—all you have to do is enter the following code on the website…
Eventually, nearly 100 years later in 1967, Lester Wunderman coined the term “direct marketing” for the first time (Lester was also responsible for notable achievements such as the toll-free 1-800 number).
They have made it easy to forward to a friend, and they have included the subscribe option. However, I do think one thing is missing. They aren’t really making it clear what the subscriber will receive – why should they subscribe?