I would wager that most business owners under the age of 35 probably have never even considered running a direct mail marketing campaign for their business. Having grown up in an increasingly paperless world, the mere concept of spending precious marketing dollars on printing up thousands of pieces of paper to stuff into mailboxes across a large swath of people seems pretty crazy to the younger generation of entrepreneurs – and it’s not a baseless feeling. There’s no denying that the business world (and our world in general) has been dramatically swinging toward the quicker, more efficient, much cheaper, and much more environmentally friendly realm of electronic communication. But does direct mail marketing actually work?
Electronic mail , often abbreviated as email or e-mail , is a method of exchanging digital messages, designed primarily for human use.. An electronic mail message consists of two components, the message header , and the message body , which is the email's content. The message header contains control information, including, minimally, an originator's email address and one or more recipient addresses. Usually additional information is added, such as a subject header field.. E-mail systems are based on a store-and-forward model in which e-mail computer server systems accept, forward, deliver and store messages on behalf of users, who only need to connect to the e-mail infrastructure, typically an e-mail server, with a network-enabled device (e.g., a personal computer) for the duration of message submission or retrieval. Rarely is e-mail transmitted directly from one user's device to another's. Wikipedia

Now that you’re all set up to starting collecting emails, the fun part begins (when I say ‘fun’, I actually mean ‘hard’). If your site receives a good amount of traffic and you have a truly compelling offer, this shouldn’t be too difficult. However, if you’re like most business owners, you’ll need to look outside your own audience to start building your list.
Knowing about your best customers is a key factor in targeted direct marketing. Knowing the customers' basic demographics, such as males 18 to 34 or females with children, is a start. However, a more complete understanding of your customer's profile like their shopping and purchasing behavior in other categories; their attitudes toward trends, products, marketing and media; or their lifestyle habits can help you become even more effective in both your lead selection and the messages you'll use in communicating with the leads.
Ad blocking, or ad filtering, means the ads do not appear to the user because the user uses technology to screen out ads. Many browsers block unsolicited pop-up ads by default.[87] Other software programs or browser add-ons may also block the loading of ads, or block elements on a page with behaviors characteristic of ads (e.g. HTML autoplay of both audio and video). Approximately 9% of all online page views come from browsers with ad-blocking software installed,[88] and some publishers have 40%+ of their visitors using ad-blockers.[3]

Marketers continue to use direct mail in 2016 because it still leads in ROI. However, traditional direct mail marketing has changed dramatically. InfoTrends did a study on direct mail that found the following statistics: 66% of direct mail is opened, 82% of direct mail is read for a minute or more, 56% of consumers who responded to direct mail went online or visited the physical store, 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail in the past three months made a purchase, and over 84% reported that personalization made them more likely to open a direct mail piece.
Many consumers have reservations about online behavioral targeting. By tracking users' online activities, advertisers are able to understand consumers quite well. Advertisers often use technology, such as web bugs and respawning cookies, to maximizing their abilities to track consumers.[60]:60[95] According to a 2011 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, over half of Internet users had a negative impression of online behavioral advertising, and forty percent feared that their personally-identifiable information had been shared with advertisers without their consent.[96][97] Consumers can be especially troubled by advertisers targeting them based on sensitive information, such as financial or health status.[95] Furthermore, some advertisers attach the MAC address of users' devices to their 'demographic profiles' so they can be retargeted (regardless of the accuracy of the profile) even if the user clears their cookies and browsing history.[citation needed]
Kate – The problem many marketers will face is that most reputable ESPs will not accept purchased lists, targeted or not. That’s because they can wreak havoc on your deliverability in the long run. Purchased lists often contain “spam traps,” email addresses created specifically to catch people using these lists, and once you’re flagged with them most email clients will put your emails straight to the “Spam” folder.
When planning a direct mail campaign, don’t forget that you still need to follow the basic direct mail rules. A good list, a good design and a strong call-to-action are a must in order for your direct mail to be a success. Provide information on how people can use the technology you are including and strong content for them to view. If the content is not well designed, then your effort will have been a waste of time.
If you’ve read this blog before, you know how heavily we stress the importance of preparing, making a well-thought out and comprehensive plan, and then executing against it. Well, it’s no different for direct mail marketing, and the tried-and-true approach for this tried-and-true method of marketing is known as the 40/40/20 rule. This rule dictates that the success and eventual ROI of your direct mail marketing efforts are going to be dependent upon three factors – 40% of your success will come from how effective your mailing list is, another 40% will depend on how compelling your offer is, and the remaining 20% will come from everything else (design, the copy/text of the mailing, the images you’ve chosen, delivery date and method, etc.).

How do you find the sweet spot? The best way is to monitor statistics from your email blast software. See how many recipients open your emails, how many click a link, and how many unsubscribe. (Pay attention to the type of recipient, too, as your open rates for loyal customers will be different from new prospects.) Learn what works, make changes, and test again.
Back in the early days of email we were more worried about choosing the perfect username than we were about marketing. In fact I distinctly remember being more stressed over forwarding a chain email to five other people, because it’d somehow improve the chances of my high school crush declaring their passionate love for me, than I was about whatever newsletter found its way into my inbox.

An electronic mailing list or email list is a special use of email that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users. It is similar to a traditional mailing list – a list of names and addresses – as might be kept by an organization for sending publications to its members or customers, but typically refers to four things:
I recently had my MailChimp account suspended. One of my sites is in the ‘make money online’ space. It’s a completely legitimate website, but apparently if your emails contain keywords they don’t like, they will suspend you. I would not recommend using them. Contacting support I just get form responses that are completely unhelpful. There’s no phone support- just account termination. Really bad experience. Luckily, this is a very new site- but imagine if you have thousands of emails and they just shut you down without ANY recourse.

Email Newsletters are some of the most common and popular forms of email marketing. Use email newsletters to provide your subscribers with timely, expected, and helpful updates from your brand. Include thought leadership or how-tos, announcements about your product or service, insider-peeks into your business, or any other engaging content that adds value to your subscribers’ inboxes.


Simply select the type of mailing list you wish to purchase. We offer four types of mailing lists: Business Lists, Consumer Lists, New Movers Lists, and New Homeowners Lists. You will be asked to select your campaign type, geographic selects, and demographic selects. Upon retrieving counts you may add, change, or delete your selects. Once you are satisfied with your list criteria, press 'Get Counts' and wait to review the available quantity of your list and pricing. At this point you may still edit your list criteria by clicking 'Back.' Once you are satisfied with your list counts, purchase the list. Within a few minutes you'll be able to download your mailing list online from within 'My Account.'
A text ad displays text-based hyperlinks. Text-based ads may display separately from a web page's primary content, or they can be embedded by hyperlinking individual words or phrases to advertiser's websites. Text ads may also be delivered through email marketing or text message marketing. Text-based ads often render faster than graphical ads and can be harder for ad-blocking software to block.[50]
Many laws specifically regulate the ways online ads are delivered. For example, online advertising delivered via email is more regulated than the same ad content delivered via banner ads. Among other restrictions, the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 requires that any commercial email provide an opt-out mechanism.[108] Similarly, mobile advertising is governed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), which (among other restrictions) requires user opt-in before sending advertising via text messaging.
As businesses offer e-marketing and online shopping, customers can get market information from their computers or cell phones and buy goods or find services without leaving home twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week (24/7). They can read ads on the Web or from e-mail, get e-coupons, view pictures of goods, compare prices, and make purchases with a few clicks of their mouse, saving the time and money it would take to shop in person at a brick-and-mortar store. At the same time, ebusinesses can reduce costs in distribution channels and physical store space and thus pass the savings on to customers.
Email blasts are a great way to send bulk correspondence with businesses or consumers. Eblasts can contain special promotional information to customers or critical updates to other businesses. Sending ineffective or irrelevant emails to people will cause them to ignore future emails and can tarnish your company's reputation. Luckily, there are ways that you can optimize writing your e-blasts so that they captivate the largest audience possible. By using best practices to write and send your email and by evaluating the progress and effectiveness of them, you'll be able to reach a much wider customer base.
Once the direct mail campaign has gone out, and customers have responded, companies track results to determine the campaign's effect. Measuring the number of responses, increased traffic, and profit margin gives marketers important information about whether the direct mail piece produced the desired results, and what else (or instead) should be targeted in future campaigns.
This is a process described by Seth Godin known as permission marketing. The core concept of this idea is that you never market to someone that doesn’t want it, you first have to ask them for their permission. When someone signs up to your email not only do they become a warm lead but they give you their permission to send them offers and to market to them.
An email blast is a single email message that is sent to a large group of recipients. Email blasts are no longer an email marketing best practice. Email marketers should segment their lists and send targeted messages to their subscribers.  All email blasts need to follow the CAN-SPAM Act, include an unsubscribe link, and accurately identify the person or business that is deploying the email.
Even though this falls into just one of the myriad of elements in the 20 portion of the 40/40/20 rule, it is arguably the most important. Nothing will get your piece of direct mail marketing throw into the trash bin more quickly than a glaring typo, a noticeable formatting issue, or an overall poor print quality. If you’re writing the copy, be sure to not only proof it yourself but also have some of your more linguistically-inclined friends and colleagues give it a once over, not only for grammatical and punctuation mistakes but for overall ease of reading and flow. Don’t be afraid to seek as many trusted opinions as possible, and be sure to have thick skin to prepare for any constructive criticisms.
Affiliate marketing occurs when advertisers organize third parties to generate potential customers for them. Third-party affiliates receive payment based on sales generated through their promotion.[24]:22 Affiliate marketers generate traffic to offers from affiliate networks, and when the desired action is taken by the visitor, the affiliate earns a commission. These desired actions can be an email submission, a phone call, filling out an online form, or an online order being completed.
If you already have a pretty large database, you also likely have some contacts that have gone quite stale. If so, I recommend running a re-engagement campaign that can help you both scrub your list and prevent the kind of spam and IP issues I addressed earlier, as well as reawaken old contacts that might have forgotten about you, but would actually be great fits for sales.
Click through rates. Once your subscribers have opened your email, are they actually taking the action you need them to take? If you think that you have a low click through rate, perhaps your body copy is not as effective as it needs to be. Consider the following: Is the copy of your email relevant to the subject line? Did you offer real value to your subscribers in the email? Is your call-to-action clear enough? Is the link easy to find?
Be aware from January the popup opt in is going to decimate your Google search rankings, so the evergreen welcome mat and overlay (which you’re using on this page on exit intent) are going to be things of the past (unless you want to lose your position in the SERPS…). Time to get rid of the popups now and move to content upgrades inline in your articles (which you do really well in this post!).
An email blast is a single email message that is sent to a large group of recipients. Email blasts are no longer an email marketing best practice. Email marketers should segment their lists and send targeted messages to their subscribers.  All email blasts need to follow the CAN-SPAM Act, include an unsubscribe link, and accurately identify the person or business that is deploying the email.
Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response, sponsored by the U.S. Post Office, used eye-movement tracking and biometric measurements such as heart rate and respiration to gauge attention and emotional engagement with both digital and direct mail. It then used magnetic resonance imaging to capture participants' brain activity when asked to recall a particular ad.
As mentioned before, the type of email campaign you send depends entirely on your goals with email. If you’re looking to drive direct sales then sending marketing offer and announcement campaigns are going to return the best results, however if you are simply looking to keep your existing customers up-to-date on the latest projects, products or developments at your company, then sending a regular newsletter is going to be the best way to achieve that.
The recipient of your email blast is unlikely to commit a lot of time to reading what you send. If you keep the content short, make it easy to scan and easy for them to digest, it will be a much better value for both of you. Aim the content toward providing the reader with enough info to get them interested and then encourage them to follow the links to learn more.
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.
These metrics give you a high-level overview of how your subscribers are interacting with your campaigns and allow you to compare the success of one campaign to another. If you want to go deeper and see the exact people who opened and clicked your campaign, what links they clicked, etc. you can do so by choosing some of the other reports from the right hand side menu.
The most advanced email marketing services offer custom workflows where you can specify triggers based on actions (such as opening an email or making a purchase) or on inaction (such as ignoring emails). With these services, you can also set up a series of emails (such as tutorials) to be sent to segments of users, and you can pause or stop a campaign at any time. You can also move contacts into new segments once they have completed tutorials. 

Scott Heimes serves as Chief Marketing Officer at SendGrid, where he is responsible for the company's brand strategy, driving demand for its solutions and leading global marketing operations. Scott oversees corporate marketing, demand generation, corporate communications, partnerships and alliances, international expansion and SendGrid’s community development team.
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