Before online marketing channels emerged, the cost to market products or services was often prohibitively expensive, and traditionally difficult to measure. Think of national television ad campaigns, which are measured through consumer focus groups to determine levels of brand awareness. These methods are also not well-suited to controlled experimentation. Today, anyone with an online business (as well as most offline businesses) can participate in online marketing by creating a website and building customer acquisition campaigns at little to no cost. Those marketing products and services also have the ability to experiment with optimization to fine-tune their campaigns’ efficiency and ROI.
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.
While getting the word out to many people at once can seem appealing, it also lacks the personalization that today’s online consumers crave. And with today’s email marketing services that make it simple to segment and personalize your messages, there’s no reason not to dip your toe into the email customization waters, right? Plus, as laws change around the world to make unsolicited electronic messages illegal, one wrong email could land your business squarely in the red.
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.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business, whether your goal is to build your brand or sell more stuff. Our field guide provides everything you need to know to make the most of this platform. Learn how to create an email marketing plan, design effective emails, and test them. Then discover the power of automation and how to measure the success of your emails.
As advertisers collect data across multiple external websites about a user's online activity, they can create a detailed profile of the user's interests to deliver even more targeted advertising. This aggregation of data is called behavioral targeting.[26] Advertisers can also target their audience by using contextual to deliver display ads related to the content of the web page where the ads appear.[19]:118 Retargeting, behavioral targeting, and contextual advertising all are designed to increase an advertiser's return on investment, or ROI, over untargeted ads.[27] 

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.
Unsubscribe rate. Unsubscribes are always going to happen no matter what, and that’s usually OK because those people probably would never have bought from you anyway. However, a high unsubscribe rate can indicate that you are losing potential customers. Check the following: Why did people subscribe to your list in the first place, and are you delivering on that promise? Is the content of your autoresponder highly relevant to the segment it is being sent to? Are you sending too many sales emails with too little value emails?
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.
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Some web browsers offer privacy modes where users can hide information about themselves from publishers and advertisers. Among other consequences, advertisers can't use cookies to serve targeted ads to private browsers. Most major browsers have incorporated Do Not Track options into their browser headers, but the regulations currently are only enforced by the honor system.[89][90][91]

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.
The best email marketing platforms depend on your budget and desired features. Here are some to consider. MailChimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers, so it’s a popular platform to start with. Alternatives to MailChimp include Constant Contact and Aweber. If you need to include other marketing tasks, try Hubspot or Infusionsoft, which many larger businesses use. Whichever you choose, you can easily hire someone to help you set up your email marketing account and create an email newsletter template.
E-marketers must operate their businesses in compliance with numerous laws. For example, e-marketers are responsible for protecting customers' privacy; without customers' permission, they are not legally allowed to share or sell customers' information to a third party. Copying other businesses' Web information for commercial use is also in violation of copyright law.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Instead, adopt a different way of thinking about your marketing emails. Send relevant messages, invitations, and truly valuable offers to your customers. Understand who your recipients are—what they want, what challenges they have, and so on. Then, send them relevant messages that both engage them and motivate action. Cast your “blast” aside and stop the scattershot approach that accompanies anything that remotely can be defined as a bulk email blast. If you adopt this different mindset, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
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.
QR codes and PURLs: To make landing page content unique to each person, create personalized QR codes or personalized URLs (PURLs). This landing page content can be changed and updated as needed, creating an easy way to keep people coming back for new content. Make sure that your content is using responsive design since people can use a mobile device or PC. You can use the same landing page for both the QR and the PURL, providing the recipient with the choice of which method they prefer.

Craig Simpson, a direct marketing consultant, says that he works on hundreds of direct mail campaigns each year and finds the most successful campaigns are those coordinated with other media. For example, if a brand sends a piece of direct mail to a consumer, who then receives an e-mail and retargeted ads as parts of the same campaign, Simpson believes that those campaigns will have the best results. 
"Constant Contact makes it easy to create as many contact lists as we need. I can add an email address to multiple lists at once, or a reader can subscribe to several email lists. This allows us to send targeted emails. Sending people only the emails they want makes readers happier, increases open rates, and makes my email marketing efforts—and my time—more effective."
Another key aspect of any email blast is the target audience. Make sure you’re hitting inboxes where the probability response, purchase or interaction is high. If you’re shooting emails like a loose cannon on a rolling deck, you could put off prospects and customers (if you make it to their inboxes!), tarnish your image and end up wasting a lot of time, money and effort.
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