Having toiled in the trenches of direct marketing for nearly 25 years, we’re eager to share what has helped us design award-winning lead generation campaigns for clients across various verticals. No matter what you sell, direct marketing is a proven method for generating more customers and increasing revenue without breaking the bank.
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 😉
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.
Visitors to your website might overlook the call to sign up that you have at the top of every page, but it’s harder to ignore a lightbox or pop-up. Scroll boxes pop up on visitors’ screens after they’ve scrolled down a certain length of the page. The box encourages them to sign up for your email list. They can be effective for encouraging a user who’s already shown interest in your content (by staying on the page long enough to scroll) to sign up for your email list.
Great post Brian. As someone that has stupidly not concentrated on building my list till recently I found this post invaluable to get my list building on the right track. Thank you for this informative and easily understandable post. Bookmarked and shared.
My head is buzzing with some of the new ideas from this list that I now want to implement and test on my site. Some very actionable (and may I add awesome) list building strategies. Great stuff Brian!
If you don’t already blog, you should! Blog posts help you increase your ranking on search engines like Google, and allow you collect blog subscribers that you can then upgrade to more actionable email campaigns over time.
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.
Send the videos and talk to your subscribers about things they want to know about. Videos are usually better than regular emails because they are more personal and show that a real person is giving the information.
Communications courses teach students how to connect to audiences through a wide variety of channels, including print, radio, TV, and digital media. Instructors provide valuable feedback on how to improve your skills and adapt your message according to audience responses, allowing you to present an effective call to action in a variety of different ways.
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.
A company who really knows hows to make the most out of events is Shark Gaming. They attend plenty of conferences and events, and they collect plenty of emails by offering vouchers or discounts. You can easily do the same.
Also on the main page (and subsequent pages) is an ebook giveaway. The ebook is web-based so you can view the full thing in one click. At the end of the ebook is a call to action to sign up for email updates.
Email addresses are processed to verify deliverability, and IP addresses are checked for legitimacy. We follow all CAN-SPAM laws and suppress opt-outs in compliance with the CAN-SPAM guidelines established for business data.
I want a refund! What about refunds? This question reminds me of another victim who bought a 60,000 name boat email list for just $950. A steal! So he thought. A week later his transmission company locked his account … before they even email blasted the list. Transmission company informed that their email cleansing service classified the list as a low quality list … and quality email transmission companies will NOT touch a low quality list … since doing so would damage their reputation with servers (AOL, Gmail, etc). Anyway, the victim called the email list seller for a refund, but after receiving voicemail too many times to tally … he gave up.
Free online tools make your users’ lives easier, and all they have to do is sign up with their email address. For example, we’ve created quite a few free tools, like Marketing Grader, to gather email addresses.
The course will consist of a range of emails (let’s say 10) that will come every five days. You call the shots on this one, so think of a topic others could benefit from learning more about and create a range of emails with valuable content – just as you would build up a blog post.
As consumers, we are therefore naturally more receptive to things in our inbox— which most of us tend to guard like a mother bear guards her cubs—because they are filled with things we elect to see with some privacy.
Every month when we pull our list of the top ten best-performing blog posts on the Buffer blog, we end up grabbing 11 because always, without fail, one of the top ten results is the root domain for our blog—the home page at blog.bufferapp.com.
How can you implement ways for people to give you their emails once they’re on your site? Independent of which tool you choose, out of the many available tools, you should know how to use them in the right way… to provide an amazing experience while asking visitors for their emails. 
Finally, direct marketing is easy to optimize. Again, expanding on the above example, let’s say I carve out not just one sample size of 50, but two. I can send one offer to one group, and a variation of that same offer to the other and see which one produces better results. This is called split testing or A / B testing, and it’s extremely valuable, as it allows you to compare two approaches in a statistically significant way to choose the more optimal approach to introduce to the whole.
In order to convince you that email should be your #1 when it comes to communicating with customers, it’s time to bring out the statistics and data to examine how and why email use lends itself to better engagement.
There are many routes to direct marketing success. One proven way is by using premium or promotional items. Unlike standard items, which can have a short shelf life, recipients tend to keep promotional items. This gives your marketing campaigns a longer shelf life!
Develop a free ebook or whitepaper and host it on a landing page that asks visitors to provide their email address in order to download it. This is called a “gated offer.” (Need ideas? This blog post lists 23 ways to create lead-generation content quickly and easily.)

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.
Direct-marketing messages generally include a call to action, encouraging the recipient to respond via a toll-free phone number or a reply card or by clicking on a link in an email promotion. Companies are able to measure the effectiveness of their direct-marketing campaigns by tracking responses. Direct marketing is more effective when companies use targeted lists of prospects developed using available marketing data that can segment them into identifiable groups that are likely to have an interest in a product or service.
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.”
Social media participation can allow you to reach new audiences and make new connections. Stay abreast of trending topics that are of interest to your customers and prospects. Use social media to encourage people to visit one of the channels where they can sign up for your email list.
In the meantime, please know our in-house list representatives would be more than happy to assist you until GeoSelector is ready for its new debut. They can be reached at listinquiry@directmail.com. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding on this matter.
In October 2013, the Federal Telephone Consumers Protection Act made it illegal to contact an individual via cell phone without prior express written consent for all telephone calls using an automatic telephone dialing system or a prerecorded voice to deliver a telemarketing message to wireless numbers and residential lines. An existing business relationship does not provide an exception to this requirement.
You must also design into your email the actual mailing address of your company. Usually this goes at the bottom, but no matter where you place it, CAN SPAM requires the physical address be posted, even if it’s a Post Office box.
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.
Every direct marketing campaign should feature a specific call to action. Often this is for an immediate purchase (“Pick up the phone and call right now to order”), but it doesn’t have to be—it could be a preliminary step leading to a sale. A direct marketing effort might acquire stronger leads for a particular sales force, perhaps calling customers to schedule appointments for consultations. Other calls to action might involve a “sale” that isn’t a financial one, such as when a non-profit organization uses direct marketing to recruit volunteers.
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.