Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce.com and other customer relationship management (CRM) data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.

So, building up lists of emails is a task you must put some effort behind in order to kick your email marketing efforts into gear. The problem is nobody really wants more email, particularly spam from unknown sources. When I talk about buying email lists, I’m am not talking about buying or renting so called opt-in lists from list brokers. I’m talking about offering something of value as a way to motivate someone to willingly exchange their email address with you in order to receive your offers and additional contact.


It’s important to note how a number of growing trends revolve around content of value – not promotional content. Things like personalization and subscriber lifetime value, bite-sized content that’s easy to digest, stronger narratives and storytelling, richer experiences… that’s all key to crafting highly engaging emails that will grow your open and engagement rates.


To find what campaigns bring in the best ROI, O’Keefe suggests that marketers test as many aspects of their campaign as possible, including frequency, number of pages and types of mail they’re sending. He also suggests that marketers get a baseline of their efforts, then test their campaign by holding off on sending mail to certain segments of customers. This can help marketers understand the true value of that segment. O’Keefe says that many marketers get nervous about losing touch with a potentially important customer group, but he believes holding off is one of the best ways to get statistically significant data on the ROI of direct mail.
Direct marketing campaigns that include personalization and relevancy strike me as some of the most effective uses of print marketing. The amount of variability you can automate into a printed piece is astounding. From tailored color schemes to unique headlines, marketers can create a piece so individualized that no one can tell it is automatically generated from a database. #7 on this list really stood out to me, but all of these tips and more prove that print marketing is still relevant and can thrive as long as it is personalized and adapts over time. – Shelley Sweeney, VP/GM Service Bureau/Direct Mail Sectors, Xerox
Use it as a lead magnet/free mini course. You can also use an autoresponder as a lead magnet to attract new subscribers to your email list. This is commonly done in the form of a free “mini course”, or a free “challenge”, which promises to deliver a series of emails containing lessons (or other valuable information) over the course of several days or weeks. There is a high perceived value with a mini course or a challenge like this, which makes it a very effective lead magnet.
Just like an ebook, a cheat sheet or guide is a very simple way to capture emails and generate more leads. In fact, if you’re familiar with DigitalMarketer you’ll know that they often promote this lead magnet over others. It’s actually performed so well for them it managed to generate 28,000 new leads for the business in its first month and a half.
Online marketing can also be crowded and competitive. Although the opportunities to provide goods and services in both local and far-reaching markets is empowering, the competition can be significant. Companies investing in online marketing may find visitors’ attention is difficult to capture due to the number of business also marketing their products and services online. Marketers must develop a balance of building a unique value proposition and brand voice as they test and build marketing campaigns on various channels.
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).
With so many of the us depending on the internet to stay tuned into what's going on in our lives and in the world, it's no wonder that direct mail, or "direct classic" as the industry sometimes refers to it, has become an afterthought for small business marketing strategies. Postage is getting more and more expensive. Plus, email delivery and online communications are near immediate compared to the time it takes to go through the production, proofing, printing, and mailing process.
Expert marketer Ramit Sethi of GrowthLab agrees with Julie about saying goodbye to the email blast, going as far as to publish a blog post entitled “Stop sending email blasts! Do this instead”. The post takes the recommendation to segment even further by suggesting “hotlists” — sub-segments of your email list that subscribers can opt into based on their interest in a specific project of yours.
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