Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week's, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn't exist.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was passed by Congress as a direct response to the growing number of complaints over spam e-mails. Congress determined that the US government was showing an increased interest in the regulation of commercial electronic mail nationally, that those who send commercial e-mails should not mislead recipients over the source or content of them, and that all recipients of such emails have a right to decline them. The act authorizes a US $16,000 penalty per violation for spamming each individual recipient. However, it does not ban spam emailing outright, but imposes laws on using deceptive marketing methods through headings which are "materially false or misleading". In addition there are conditions which email marketers must meet in terms of their format, their content and labeling. As a result, many commercial email marketers within the United States utilize a service or special software to ensure compliance with the act. A variety of older systems exist that do not ensure compliance with the act. To comply with the act's regulation of commercial email, services also typically require users to authenticate their return address and include a valid physical address, provide a one-click unsubscribe feature, and prohibit importing lists of purchased addresses that may not have given valid permission.
Four months later, Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, partners in a law firm, broadly promoted their legal services in a USENET posting titled "Green Card Lottery – Final One?" Canter and Siegel's Green Card USENET spam raised the profile of online advertising, stimulating widespread interest in advertising via both Usenet and traditional email. More recently, spam has evolved into a more industrial operation, where spammers use armies of virus-infected computers (botnets) to send spam remotely.
You could use your Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo accounts, but if you need something professional and fool-proof and want to avoid being labeled a spammer, it’s a far better idea to use an email blast program provided by a professional email marketing company such as Benchmark Email. Benchmark’s partnerships with elite consortiums like The Email Sender & Provider Coalition (EPSC) and leading delivery experts like Return Path give you the best chance of reaching a prospect’s inbox, which is a major challenge in email blast marketing. Benchmark Email even has built-in data merging features, which allow you to import contact information from different databases so you don’t need to re-enter long email lists. Besides this, you can also customize your mails in easy-to-use HTML editors before sending them to your customers and prospects.
Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.
Your best bet will be to give away something that’s valuable to your target market; for instance, a high-value digital asset on a niche topic. You can give away products (we’ve all seen contests where the prize is a free iPad or gift certificates), however this strategy often leads to entrants who are more interested in the money than in what you have to offer.
If you are still interested in trying direct mail, I would suggest using USPS Every Door Direct Mail Service. With this service, you can target the specific area you are interested in sending a mailer to. If you have the budget, send out 1,000 direct mail pieces to start and see how many sales you get. It’s a good idea to include a promotion, like 15% off of your first purchase, to entice people to buy your product. If you use a code that is unique to your direct mail campaign, you will also be able to track how many sales came directly from your direct mail piece.