Maybe you’re making more than one direct marketing mistake. For instance, are you targeting too broadly? Neglecting multi-channel touch points? Or perhaps you’re not even aware of the power of emotional appeal. Reducing even a few of these common errors can double or triple your marketing return on investment.
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.
The text here is entirely focused on benefits to the reader. Who wouldn’t want to get behind a guy who’s looking out for your best interests like that? It’s a great CTA; a little testing and optimization can get you one of the same.
A web-based interface is often available to allow people to subscribe, unsubscribe, and change their preferences. However, mailing list servers existed long before the World Wide Web,[1] so most also accept commands over email to a special email address. This allows subscribers (or those who want to be subscribers) to perform such tasks as subscribing and unsubscribing, temporarily halting the sending of messages to them, or changing available preferences – all via email. The common format for sending these commands is to send an email that contains simply, the command followed by the name of the electronic mailing list the command pertains to. Examples: subscribe anylist or subscribe anylist John Doe.
If a visitor gets through your entire website without opting in, grab them one last time before they go. Set a lightbox to appear asking for an email address whenever someone is about to navigate away from your website or blog.
Even with this structure in place to maximise deliverability of the emails that you send, none of this matters if the email addresses that you have purchased are of low quality or their sourcing questionable.
There’s a general assumption that the advent of digital means direct marketing is no longer useful. This isn’t true. In fact, technological advancements in online and data spaces make direct marketing that much more effective and valuable. For good or bad, data is widely available today. Take advantage of this and stretch your reach and with direct marketing.
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?
I always Validate the Email Data first on all my lists, get all the data. You have to wash your email contacts first so you are compliant with Can Spam (#1) as well as to avoid IP Bans, blacklisting, bounce backs.
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.
Direct selling is the sale of products by face-to-face contact with the customer, either by having salespeople approach potential customers in person, or through indirect means such as Tupperware parties.
I agree with the testimonials, especially videos, because they’re truly convincing and give you authority as well. Pop-ups are two-sided for me. On one hand, they’re great for getting user emails for subscriptions. On the other, some folks just find them annoying. An enjoyable and informative post nonetheless. Thanks, Brian!
Ever since I first time heard that you can get free traffic from a thing called Google, I wanted that. But, I had no idea where to start. And what was even worse, every “great” tip I’d receive from an “experts” was a complete BS that only sounds nice, but could never be used by real businesses. Most of those things are considered black-hat now. That’s how “great” those tips were.
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.

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.
I only have one concern- the topic of this blog says 500K USA email ids, the downloaded file is called 100K email IDs and the actual number of IDS are around 65K- Is this 65K curated by the ones that are active now or is there an access to all the 500K email IDS that I can get?
Certain things go better together. Wine and cheese. Beer and tacos. And you can definitely throw direct marketing and digital marketing into that mix. If your marketing campaign is stuck, consider adding some digital spice to the concoction. You can do this in a number of proven ways and through myriad channels: social media, email and even offline campaigns with digital components, such as PURLs and video cards.
The term “junk mail”, referring to unsolicited commercial ads delivered via post office or directly deposited in consumers’ mail boxes, can be traced back to 1954.[8] The term “spam,” meaning “unsolicited commercial e-mail,” can be traced back to March 31, 1993,[9] although in its first few months it merely referred to inadvertently posting a message so many times on UseNet that the repetitions effectively drowned out the normal flow of conversation.
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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.
It used to be you would have only one lead magnet on your site and that was sufficient. However, today your content and nurture sequence need to be highly relevant to the exact solution the person is actively looking for. By creating a content upgrade that is specific to a highly-targeted piece of content that is getting lots of attention helps you to raise that relevancy and turn more visitors into email subscribers.”
Even though the law condemns spamming, spamming is here to stay because people that think out of the box are making good money from it. I for one will delete any email that I do not know the source. However, if the headline or the subject matter is of interest, I will open the email before deleting it. Am I alone with this behavior? Surely not
While creative and “mysterious” headlines can work well for blog posts (since they create curiosity), people have less patience for mystery in their inbox, and they may even confuse the message for spam.
In sum, choosing the best of all the above parameters may yield up to 58 times more response, as compared to choosing the worst of the above parameters. Addressing these helps assuage the concerns of the marketers.
Wow – amazingly in depth post on list building! I am having a real focus on this (just installed my lead magnet which is doing well) but there is a tonne of things I still need to focus on. Thanks for the tips.
Meetups, seminars, hackathons, educational panels, and even your own conferences put you front and center of a networking event, and those who attend are often more qualified to be contacted because they came to your event. Take the opportunity to collect email addresses in exchange for the info and demos you provide at the event.
Send emails regularly. Make sure you are reaching your subscribers at least once a month in emails or another medium. Track email campaigns and see how your subscribers treat your emails. If you had a poor open rate, it does not necessarily mean your audience isn’t interested in your product. Experiment with different emails, get to know which email strategy works best, and keep using it to reach your subscribers.
its like a bomb went off on my phone when I read this article! I’ve been struggling with my conversions and definitely going to try the content upgrade since its been on my mind. I thought I was crazy to think it might work but your numbers prove I’m sane 🙂
Until your list size is big enough to warrant more in-depth multivariate testing (which will still follow the same guidelines), conducting smart A/B tests like the one outlined above will go a long way toward helping you create an email list that converts.
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.
Another form of direct marketing, insert media are marketing materials that are inserted into other communications, such as a catalog, newspaper, magazine, package, or bill. Coop or shared mail, where marketing offers from several companies are delivered via a single envelope, is also considered insert media.
If you insist on using social proof, I highly recommend you to use more quirky numbers. It is more powerful saying ‘Join 4,693 other ecommerce fans. Get your tips now.’ It seems like the number is the exact number of subscribers and will seem more accurate.
When creating your email marketing campaign, be sure the header information including the originating domain name and email address are accurate. These are your “To” and “From” fields. This is required, so there’s no sense in falsifying the information.
Where consumers have a right of withdrawal (the consumer’s right to resend any goods to the seller, or to cancel the order for services, within a certain time limit and thus annulling the sale), the marketer should inform them of the existence of this right, how to obtain further information about it, and how to exercise it. Where there is an offer to supply products to the consumer on the basis of “free examination”, “free trial”, “free approval” and the like, it should be made clear in the offer who will bear the cost of returning products and the procedure for returning them should be as simple as possible. Any time limit for the return should be clearly disclosed.
Layout Especially important for HTML emailers, we found out this lesson ourselves when we saw better newsletter engagement from going from 3 calls to action in one broadcast down to only one. Those selling a variety of products (a la eCommerce) will also want to closely experiment with this variable.
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.
Don’t feel like you have to do everything on this guide. If you already have an email service provider and are happy with it, you can skip over chapter 1. Invest your time on other things that will generate value for your business. If your email service provider becomes an obstacle, you can revisit this later on.
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.
A naked signup form is not the best marketing tool. To entice your potential subscribers, provide them with a solid reason to give you their email address. If the reader sees a clear benefit, they’ll be more likely to subscribe.
I am happy to also ask for a plug for my family’s apparel website in the opener of said post if you think this post suggestion is a good idea. Shameless I know…..LOL! But hey maybe it will get your fans to keep submitting ideas. There might be something here to channel your fan base to get us to help your business. Think it over…..You really have reached Malcolm Gladwell Tribe status. And have done a great job with that. At this point whatever you asked the tribe to do they would deliver for you.
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!
Electronic mailing list servers may be set to forward messages to subscribers of a particular mailing list either individually as they are received by the list server, or in digest form in which all messages received on a particular day by the list server are combined into one email that is sent once per day to subscribers. Some mailing lists allow individual subscribers to decide how they prefer to receive messages from the list server (individual or digest).[2]
– Have a goal. Think about what you want to achieve with the email and clearly tell it. Do you want them to read your new post? Download the update? Answer your quick survey? Watch a training video? Try to stick to one call-to-action per email. The research shows that multiple calls to actions within one message don’t perform well.
“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.
Customer reviews are the “social proof” that encourages people to join in on something. It’s one thing for you to tell people to sign up for a campaign, but it’s another thing for your happiest customers to say it too. Publish your best reviews from communities like Yelp right to your website. This adds genuine value to your landing pages when people are on the fence about submitting their contact information. 
Did you know that there are organizations dedicated to combating email spam? Thank goodness, right? They set up a little thing called a honeypot, which is a planted email address that, when harvested and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer. Similarly, things called spam traps can be created to identify spammy activity; they are set up when an email address yields a hard bounce because it is old or no longer valid, but still receives consistent traffic. Fishy, eh? As a result, the email address turns into a spam trap that stops returning the hard bounce notice, and instead accepts the message and reports the sender as a spammer.
What about sending marketing messages to people who have only subscribed to your blog or vice-versa? If someone subscribes to a company blog, is it legal for the company to then use that provided email to send marketing information? Or should the email only be used for the intended use for which it was provided?
The most responsive customers to direct mailing (or e-mailings) are those who have opted in to mailing lists (for example, an online shopper buying a product checks a box marked “send me information on future promotions”). Such customers have already expressed interest in the company’s products, and pay attention to new products and sales. (See also Permission Marketing)
Email marketing has been changing lives of many marketers just by having an email list. Marketers have raised their income from zero to thousands of dollars. If you are into marketing give it a try 😉
People enjoy offering feedback on information that pertains to them. On certain pages of your website, include a form that asks visitors what questions they might have about your business. You might also create a live chat tool that invites questions and email addresses from people who have stayed on your website for a certain amount of time.
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.
It’s one thing to say “make sure” of these things before you email the list, but the only reliable way to make sure of them is… to email the list and see what happens. Not a risk that a responsible business owner would take.