Thank you for the above piece the makes it easy for new entrants like to me understand Direct Marketing better. I am the owner of a Custom made Bespoke Suiting Company that makes suits, trousers, jackets, skirts, blouses and shirts for men and women. I have tried digital media advertising but haven’t had any luck. I am a start-up business and running on very tight budget so would like to start with a small but affluent neighbourhood with small population. I am thinking of targeting Westlake Village which is on the Western Edge of LA County and has a population of around 9000 with nearly 3000 households. What should be my approach and how may households should I target keeping in mind budgetary constraints.

So far I have refrained from telling her all the reasons I hate the term eblast or email blast. She clearly doesn’t like sending the email and doesn’t think too highly of it, so correcting her email marketing terminology is not likely to be a fun conversation. But I do think "eblast" is worth talking about with you. If you’re an email marketer, you’re probably annoyed by the term “eblast” or “email blast” too.
A web-based interface is often available to allow people to subscribe, unsubscribe, and change their preferences. However, mailing list servers existed long before the World Wide Web,[1] so most also accept commands over email to a special email address. This allows subscribers (or those who want to be subscribers) to perform such tasks as subscribing and unsubscribing, temporarily halting the sending of messages to them, or changing available preferences - all via email. The common format for sending these commands is to send an email that contains simply the command followed by the name of the electronic mailing list the command pertains to. Examples: subscribe anylist or subscribe anylist John Doe.

Using the word blast says a lot about how you view email marketing. And because so many of us are so very touchy about being characterized as spammers (or just feel bad about “bothering” our subscribers) even using a word that leans toward sounding like spam bothers us. Remember that there are always two definitions of spam. There’s the email marketers’ definition (the CAN-SPAM Act of 2013 definition), and then there’s the consumer definition. The consumer definition of spam is simple and complete: It’s email they don’t want.

You don’t have to worry about Google or Facebook suddenly changing their algorithms, because once you have someone’s email you have the ability to communicate with them one on one. Even if all of Foundr’s search rankings and social media presence disappeared tomorrow, we’d still be able to promote our brand and our products to the thousands of people on our mailing list.

Another disadvantage is that even an individual or small group of people can harm image of an established brand. For instance Dopplegnager is a term that is used to disapprove an image about a certain brand that is spread by anti-brand activists, bloggers, and opinion leaders. The word Doppelganger is a combination of two German words Doppel (double) and Ganger (walker), thus it means double walker or as in English it is said alter ego. Generally brand creates images for itself to emotionally appeal to their customers. However some would disagree with this image and make alterations to this image and present in funny or cynical way, hence distorting the brand image, hence creating a Doppelganger image, blog or content (Rindfleisch, 2016).

A/B testing is trying two different techniques that communicate the same message on a small percentage of your list, seeing whether A or B performed the best, then using the better performing option when you email the rest of the list. It sounds complicated, but there are plenty of email marketing solutions out there that take all the math and guesswork out of it. (All you have to do is come up with the option A and option B you want to try.)
In dividing your list in this manner, you give yourself the ability to send more targeted communication. Some customers want both product and sales updates, while others might only want to hear about new versions. If you don’t give them the chance to choose, you risk losing them all-together. Since customers make the best buyers, it’s fairly obvious why you want to keep them subscribed to your customer email list.
Nathan, it’s a great write up,no doubt about that.But I would be more willing to learn or see your progresssion from none to an established brand. For example, you said you had worked with affiliates. But it’s not easy for a new brand to work with top affiliates. So what you did to build relationships with them? Lastly, time frame and monetary costs can be discussed as well 🙂
Project conversion metrics. The general rule of thumb is that the smaller and more targeted your list, the more you can spend per piece. It’s better to make a strong impression to a few than to make a weak impression to many. Know your cost per unit, and project a conversion rate, so you can estimate whether your campaign will have a positive ROI before running it.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was passed by Congress as a direct response to the growing number of complaints over spam e-mails.[citation needed] 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.[17] 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.[citation needed]

Direct mail is a type  of direct marketing in which businesses send letters, postcards or other promotional materials to past, current or potential customers or clients. Direct mail campaigns may be targeted to either a consumer or business or both.  In many cases, the mailing is directed to a target demographic (i.e. home owners) or geographic market (i.e. a specific neighborhood). In most cases, it's mass or bulk mailing, but you can send direct mail in smaller quantities as well.