Identify your target market. Who will be receiving your mailing? Are you contacting past customers, current prospects or sending a cold mail from a bought mailing list? If you plan to buy a list, do your research before spending any money to make sure it's an updated and quality list. Further, follow the list owner's rules for mailing. For example, most only "rent" you the names for one one mailing. The only way to add list members to your permanent list is if they respond to your mailing.

The concept is simple. If someone is reading an in-depth blog post of yours, chances are they’re very interested in what you have to say on the topic. The key is to then offer them something that is directly related to the topic they’re reading about. You know they’re already interested, so by offering instantaneous extra value it’s not difficult to see why people would gladly sign up.
If you say, “I want to see what type of response I get from my first email before I send more”, it’s not going to work. Email marketing is marketing, not magic. You wouldn’t expect to get a great return on playing a radio ad or running a TV spot just once.  Don’t expect a great return from sending just one email. Tell yourself you’re going to test the effectiveness of email marketing for a period of time (a full year is a reasonable amount of time). Remember that customers will open emails differently depending on the time of year and even the time of day that your email is sent. To get as many customers as possible to open your emails, you need to commit to sending emails over a period of time.
 2. Select recipients based on a list, tag, or saved filter. For example, you may add the subscribers of your weekly newsletter by adding all supporters with the tag “weekly newsletter.” Alternatively, you may choose “All” and select all supporters in your nation, or all prospects. Remember that it is good practice to segment your email list in order to increase your email deliverability.
If you say, “I want to see what type of response I get from my first email before I send more”, it’s not going to work. Email marketing is marketing, not magic. You wouldn’t expect to get a great return on playing a radio ad or running a TV spot just once.  Don’t expect a great return from sending just one email. Tell yourself you’re going to test the effectiveness of email marketing for a period of time (a full year is a reasonable amount of time). Remember that customers will open emails differently depending on the time of year and even the time of day that your email is sent. To get as many customers as possible to open your emails, you need to commit to sending emails over a period of time.
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.
It's practically impossible to overstate the importance of direct mailing lists to the success of your direct mail program. The correct mailing list will contain your most valuable prospects. The more careful you are in analyzing and selecting direct mailing lists, the better your chances for success. There are several different categories of mailing lists available on the market today ranging in cost and appropriateness for your market. When you are considering what type of mailing list to buy consider the following three types:
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