If you are able to consult with customers one-on-one, ask any new clients how they heard about you. This will be trickier if you own a restaurant or clothing store since you won’t be able to track down every customer to ask how they heard about you. In these instances, consider asking customers to take a survey on every receipt. Offer an incentive (coupon, discount, etc.) to increase the chances that people will actually fill it out.
Ensure that your email meets spam guidelines. The CAN-SPAM Act are laws that govern how you can craft emails. To stay compliant with the act, there are several things you must include and things you must avoid doing to ensure that your emails aren't considered spam.[9] For one, there must be an unsubscribe button somewhere in the email so that people can opt out of receiving them. Another rule is that recipients must know who they are receiving the email from, so include an accurate header or reply address where they can point their concerns or comments.[10]
One of a small business’s best marketing assets is a healthy email list. While proper management and use of your email file will drive revenue immensely, it is often a challenge to create the email list itself. With inbox clutter on the rise and customers becoming more sensitive toward any unwanted communication, marketers should develop their subscriber lists with relevance and care. 
Within the past decade there has been a podcasting revolution going on, with the number of Americans who listen to podcasts doubling in seven years. Maybe it’s because they’re just so convenient and so much easier to consume, or maybe it’s because the format is just somehow perfect for storytelling. Whatever it is, podcasting is here to stay and is one of the most engaging forms of media out there.

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).
This article is informative, but it does not offer distinguishing features between the services covered (other than mailchimp is free). You seemed to go to great lengths to say good things about each – although I’m sure each services has positive aspects. I would have benefited much more from a rating of some sort of the various features of each service, or at least the pros & cons of each.
Perhaps you're a new company and don't have a customer base. Maybe you have a service you're sure that people will love... if only they heard about you. Whatever the reason, buying an email list seems like an easy, low cost way to grow your business. But, there are some serious consequences to purchasing. And there are real benefits to using an opt-in list!
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.

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our sample templates here. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question. For my full profile and other social networks, see the Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.


If you’re serious about growing your business, building a healthy email list should be one of your top priorities. When it comes down to it, your list is one of the only online assets that you have 100% control over. Having a solid social media presence is absolutely essential (here’s why), but you’ll always be at the mercy of new and changing algorithms (think Facebook’s Edgerank). And achieving high search engine rankings is great too, but again, you’re at the mercy of changing algorithms and updates.

Frequency matters, and how often you send emails can have a significant impact on your revenue and email engagement (and unsubscribe) rates. Send too much and subscribers can suffer email fatigue causing them to disengage and unsubscribe. Send too few and you lose the attention of your audience. They may even forget why they signed up leading them to unsubscribe.

Once your list is targeted, you need to spend an equally large portion of time coming up with a great deal – even if it means you might lose a bit of money on it. The underlying goal of any marketing campaign is to gain new customers, and it’s worth it to significantly reduce your profit margins to gain said customers. Once you have a surgically-honed list and an amazing offer, then you can spend some time on the design, copy, delivery methods, postage rates, date of delivery, size of the mailer…there are a lot of other options to consider, but following the 40/40/20 rule you can see how important audience and offer truly are.
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