What is Direct Email Marketing & How It Can Be Effective For Your Business?

We have handpicked a bunch of awesome direct email marketing tips to help you double-down on building a long lasting relationship with your customers. Here's what you've been missing out on, so far.

Over the last few weeks, we talked about direct marketing and direct vs indirect marketing.

To that effect, we haven’t explored what direct email marketing has to offer. It’s a variant of consumer conversion marketing that falls underneath direct marketing.

Does that make sense? It’s okay if it doesn’t.

We intend to elaborate on different verticals of marketing. Since this topic pertains to direct email marketing, we will talk about everything there is to it.

Despite the rise of social media and other forms of influencing customers, email marketing is still considered a very relevant concept. While it’s true that it’s one of the most dated forms of direct marketing, but a lot of things have changed over the last few years.

Therefore, most of the marketers who complain that they aren’t getting any conversions from their direct email marketing campaigns are folks who normally don’t have funnel and sales page optimizations. Needless to say, even if you have mastered the former two, but the contacts on your email list or the content of the email aren’t related to what you’re trying to sell, you won’t see any traction.

All in all, it’s a data-driven approach where the context, optimizations to email content, subject lines, and the best time of the day play a vital role.

So, let’s see what direct email marketing really is, and how it can be effective for your online/ real-life business.

What Is Direct Email Marketing?

The act of sending mass emails to people to directly convert them into paying customers, subscribers, or whatever the intent of the marketing team, is what’s called direct email marketing.

The reason it’s called “direct email marketing” instead of “email marketing” is because an email itself builds a very personal relationship between the brand and the potential customer. These emails typically generate sales or help the company to complete its goals.

However, a lot of marketers have the tendency to get carried away with direct email marketing. You overdo them, and you are looking at inundated interruptions, pitches, and ads everywhere your customer is going to look.

In the worst-case scenario, many emails’ don’t have a fully functional ‘Unsubscribe’ button, which further irritates the customers. Although to you, these emails are one-sided in terms of weekly quantity, your customers probably get hundreds of them each day.

Therefore, it’s best to avoid invasive marketing practices and stick to optimized campaigns that have a profound impact on people.

How Does Direct Email Marketing Work?

Direct email marketing works at various forefronts. Technically, the only thing common among different verticals is the ‘Send Email’ button, but there’s a whole lot to it than what meets the eye. For any email marketing campaign to work, there are three essential elements that need to be looked after:

a. Email Lists

Successful direct mail and direct email marketing campaigns depend on email lists. Not only that, but the relevancy of contacts to an email list is very important.

A lot of people make the mistake of “buying” email lists from different online platforms, such as Fiverr, Upwork, and other networks. We definitely don’t recommend doing so. Although such lists might come off as a cheap bargain, you are looking to label your domain as a ‘Spam’ category in the Google domains repository, and also those contacts won’t be filtered.

The easiest way of building an email list is by working on your own lead magnet. It’s also called an offer. Optimize your sales page, or whatever you’re trying to sell according to your target audience. From then on, collaborate with influencers, run paid ads or rely on organic marketing to acquire relevant email addresses of potential prospects.

b. Email Service Providers

Also known as an ESP, these platforms act as a backbone to your stellar direct email marketing campaigns. You can personalize your interaction with your customers through tons of customization options that are offered by Email Service Providers.

Think about creating interactive newsletters and visually appealing email content – and that too without any coding skills with the help of ESP platform support.

c. Don’t Forget a Clearly Defined Goals Pattern

Clearly defined goals outline the critical path for your direct and indirect email marketing campaigns. Some of the best examples of such goals are appended below:-

  • Have an idea about boosting brand awareness
  • Keep your customers engaged
  • Drive sales and revenue towards a successful quarter
  • Nurture leads or generates leads as per your campaign goals
  • Increase your brand’s lifetime value and bank on it

What Are The Pros and Cons of Direct Email Marketing?

Let’s take a look at some of the plus and negative points of organizing and monitoring direct email marketing campaigns.


  • Email is a permission-based process where customers give you a nod of approval before you can share your content with them. Since it’s a permission-based activity, prospects share their email addresses through a lead magnet, and that makes it easier for you to connect with them through optimized content.
  • You have direct access to your audience due to the consent factor. All you need to do is build a positive rapport with your contacts by sending them emails at the optimal time of the week – and that too, without being over invasive.
  • You get more control over your marketing processes through direct email marketing because customer relationships can be forged easily. In the worst-case scenario, if your other marketing channels aren’t doing well, you can always count on email marketing to garner positive results for your brand, product, or service.
  • There are tons of personalization options available through Email Service provider platforms.


  • Above all, just like any other data-driven marketing campaign, direct email marketing is easily measurable. Nowadays there are tons of tools that help marketers to double down on the number of contacts who opened the email, un-subscribers count, and whatnot.


  • Since email marketing is one of the oldest practices to date, it also means that there’s tough competition. Think of yourself as another “clutter” in your prospects’ inbox. To stand out, you’re going to have to be creative to ensure that your emails are at least opened.
  • Email lists take a lot of time to build up. Don’t lose patience if you’re not seeing any subscribers during the first few months of launching your product, brand, or online services.
  • Beware of CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA policies. Those are just a few that can get your brand or domain in trouble if you are not paying attention to data privacy laws, unsolicited email sending, and vice versa.
  • Sometimes, ESPs limit the number of maximum emails you can send in a day. Therefore, it’s best to send emails in small chunks and maintain a steady pace to prevent the possibility of having your email account temporarily suspended.

Best Direct Email Marketing Tools To Use In 2022 & Beyond

We handpicked the following tools to help you get started with your direct email marketing campaigns:

1. Constant Contact

Starting at $20 a month, Constant Contact comes with a bunch of intuitive and automated solutions to help you maintain your direct email marketing campaigns. By far, it’s the best tool developed for e-commerce businesses where business owners have to constantly send interactive emails or other content updates to their clients’ inbox.

2. SendinBlue

Up next on our best direct email marketing tools list, we’ve got SendinBlue. It is slightly expensive as compared to Constant Contact – as in, you are going to have to pay $25 per month for the basic plan. However, for the extra $5, SendinBlue equips you with a feature set pertinent to CRM, SMS marketing, and Live Chat to get in touch with your prospects.

3. Pardot

Ever heard of Pardot, or used it before for optimizing and scaling your direct email marketing campaigns?
If you haven’t, that’s okay. Pardot is a high tier ($1250 per month) ESP that’s ideal for B2B email marketing processes. This platform is not meant for startups, or medium to small scale businesses because of the obvious price tag. However, if you are looking for an enterprise solution to refine your B2B buyer journey, you can easily build a top-shelf email list in a very short duration.


Email marketing is here to stay in one form or another. Of course, for new businesses and entry-level marketers, it can be an overwhelming process to get a hang of things.

In case, you don’t know which direction to go with your direct email marketing campaigns, consult a marketing professional to help you out. While you’re at it, don’t forget to learn how to test and track your email marketing goals. This is a great way of identifying pain points and making improvements as deemed fit.

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