Tips for a Bigger, Better Email List

Everyone knows that the bigger their email list, the better, but when it comes to email marketing, the quality of that list is just as important. What do we mean by quality? Engagement. The best mailing lists are filled with subscribers that open and act on the emails that they receive. Our friends at Return Path recently compiled a list of tips for building a larger, more engaged email list. You can check out the entire guide here, but we’ve highlighted some of our favorite tips below.

Before we begin, don’t forget that Direct Mail makes managing your email list sign-up process easy! You can create a subscribe form in Direct Mail, connect it to your website or Facebook page, and even integrate it into the other services and apps your company already uses.

Experience Your Customer’s Point of View

Take a step back and view your mailing list sign-up process through the eyes of your customers. For example:

  • Is your email list sign-up form easy to find locate on your website?
  • What about on a mobile device?
  • Have you clearly spelled out the benefits to signing up for your list?
  • Have you set the right expectations for how frequently you will email them?
  • Have you removed as much friction from the process as possible? For example, if you have a lot of required fields on your subscribe form, consider making some of them optional.

Get Your Relationship Started on the Right Foot

What do your subscribers see after they’ve signed up for your list? Creating a custom “thanks for subscribing” page or a welcome email can help get the relationship started off on the right foot. See this help article for how to configure Direct Mail to send a welcome email to your new subscribers. Or click here to learn how to set up a custom web page that new subscribers will see after they sign up.

Also, it’s great to entice new subscribers with promises of special discounts, exclusive content, early access, etc.—just be sure you follow through. Be sure that your email newsletter delivers on any promises you may have made during the sign-up process.

Promote Your List

Don’t be satisfied to let your sign-up form hide away in the footer of your website. There are lots of places you can promote your mailing list:

  • Make signing up for your list part of your online store. You can use our Zapier integration to connect Direct Mail to Shopify, Magento, Gumroad, and other online stores. Check our API for building custom integrations.
  • Do you send out email receipts or other transactional email? Consider including a link to your email list sign-up form in those emails, too!
  • Include an email sign-up form on your Facebook page. Direct Mail makes it easy.
  • If you have a physical retail location, use our iOS app to turn any iPad into a email list sign-up kiosk.

Leverage Social Media

You can give your email list a boost by promoting it from other social media channels that you may already operate. For example:

  • On occasion, promote the benefits of your email list to your followers on Facebook or Twitter and include a link to sign up
  • Purchase a “promoted tweet” that advertises the benefits of your email list and includes a sign-up call-to-action button
  • Annotate your YouTube videos so that viewers can click-through to your website or email list sign-up form
  • Purchase a sponsored post on Instagram that entices your followers to sign up

Here We Grow!

If you found some of the above tips useful, we encourage you to check out Return Path’s full guide of 50+ tips at this link. These suggestions can help you grow the size of your email list and improve subscriber engagement, building the foundation for a powerful email marketing channel. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch and tell us what you think. We love to hear from you!

What’s New & Improved in Direct Mail 4.3

We have some shiny new bits available for you to download today. Our version 4.3 update includes oft-requested new features as well as enhancements to existing features, like autoresponders, that make them even easier to use. Here are some of the highlights of what’s new and improved (or you can read the release notes for the details).


Your messages and autoresponders can now be organized into folders. This is one of the most frequently requested features, and it’s easy to see why. If you have a long list of messages that you feel are cluttering up your project, use message folders to keep them nice and organized. Likewise, use autoresponder folders to keep your various automated campaigns organized and under control.

If you select a folder in your source list, you’ll see a handy grid view of all the messages and folders contained therein (double-click the thumbnail to jump right to the message for editing).

Contacts Syncing

Direct Mail has always supported importing contacts from your OS X Contacts app. Now you can sync your OS X Contacts to an address group in Direct Mail with just one click. Direct Mail will take care of updating contacts that have changed, as well as syncing unsubscribe information back to the Contacts app. This feature also works with the older “Address Book” in OS X 10.7.

Autoresponder Sequences

Campaign automation was one of the big new features to arrive in Direct Mail 4. This update builds on that foundation to make autoresponders even more useful and easier to use. The first improvement is that autoresponders can now be triggered by previous autoresponder emails. For example, you may want to create a three-week email training course that people can subscribe to online (one email per week). Here’s how to do that:

  1. Create three autoresponders: Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3
  2. The Week 1 email is triggered when a person subscribes to your course using a Direct Mail subscribe form
  3. The Week 2 email is triggered seven days after the Week 1 email
  4. The Week 3 email is triggered seven days after the Week 2 email

Look for the new “Trigger after another autoresponder” option in the Autoresponders window.

Another improvement is that autoresponder emails can now be triggered manually. In our above example, you may have a friend who did not fill out the subscribe form, but that asked to be added to your training course. To enroll that person in the email course, simply add their email address to your list in Direct Mail, then choose Addresses > Trigger Autoresponder from the menu bar at the top of your screen. Your friend will now begin receiving your email course.

Additional Improvements

The release notes contain more detail, but this release includes a host of other improvements and bug fixes including:

  • A new, modern look for the Autoresponder, Design Test, and Spam Test windows
  • Design Test results can now be sorted by popularity, and results appear more quickly
  • Mail-merge tags can now be safely used inside URLs (see the release notes or help documentation for detail)

How to Upgrade

Upgrading is easy (and free)! Just open up the Direct Mail app and choose Direct Mail > Check for Software Update from the menu bar at the top of your screen. Mac App Store customers will receive the upgrade automatically in a few weeks once Apple has approved the update. Update: Apple has now approved the update.

Thank you to all our customers that have provided and continue to provide feedback on Direct Mail. We are excited to bring these improvements to you today, and look forward to the next round of great new features coming soon! Got an idea in mind? Please get in touch!

Improved Security For Your Email Campaigns

Since version 1.0, Direct Mail has always employed encryption to keep the contents of your email campaigns, mailing lists, reports, etc. private as they move between our servers and your Mac. This is also true for our iOS companion app, Stamps. Not only does this keep your information private, but also ensures that your data is not tampered with as it is transferred across the Internet. Beginning recently, we have started encrypting the content of your email campaigns as they are sent to each person on your list, too. This is known as encryption in transit, and it uses the same technology (TLS) that your web browser uses to keep your Internet browsing safe from hackers. This protection is enabled for all customers who send their email via e3 Delivery Service.

You may wonder why Direct Mail did not encrypt email in transit right from version 1.0. The reason is that most email providers (like AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) did not support the necessary technology until only recently. As the need for encryption and digital privacy has become more apparent, a large number of email providers have made the necessary changes to accept email over secure channels.

Despite these advances in email security, it’s important to remember that it is still not a good idea to send sensitive information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, passwords, etc. via email. As mentioned above, a large number of email providers support encryption in transit, but there are still some who do not. There may be subscribers on your mailing list whose email providers do not yet allow them to receive their email securely.


The Best Features You Never Knew Existed

A couple of weeks ago we sent out a survey to learn more about what you think of Direct Mail and what you would like to see improved. We send our utmost thanks to all who responded! We read every response and can’t wait to incorporate your ideas and feedback into future versions of Direct Mail.

One of the questions we asked in our survey was “if you could improve one thing about Direct Mail, what would it be?”. This question prompted lots of great new feature ideas, but one thing that surprised us was that some of the suggestions were actually already features available in the current version of Direct Mail. This taught us that we can do a better job of informing and educating our users about the breadth and depth of features in Direct Mail.

If you’d like to stay up on what’s new with Direct Mail, one of the best ways to do that is to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll always let you know about important updates and new features via the newsletter (and this blog). Our Facebook page and Twitter feed are good sources for relevant news, too.

Yes, Direct Mail can do that!We Can Do It!

Here’s a short list of some of the things that you asked for that (happily) already exist. Yes, Direct Mail can do that!

Can I share my project with a co-worker or my team? Can I sync it across all my Macs?

Yes! Using our new cloud feature, you can access your Direct Mail project from all your devices and share it with your entire team. Changes are synced automatically across all your Macs in real-time. Works online and offline. Learn more

Can I automate my emails or set up a drip campaign?

Yes! Using our new autoresponder feature, you can automate your email campaigns based on a variety of triggers. For example, send an automated email when someone signs up to your list, or clicks a link in your newsletter, or on their birthday. Learn more

Can I compare email campaign reports with each other?

Yes! In the Reports tab, simply select two or more campaign reports (hold down the command key and click to select more than one campaign). You’ll see a comparison report appear that gives you the breakdown on which campaign performed better across a variety of metrics.

Do you have an API available?

Yes! You can use our REST API to access and update any of your projects that are saved in the cloud. Consult the documentation for details, or use our Zapier app to set up powerful integrations with hundreds of other web apps—no programming required!

Can I schedule sends without tying up my laptop? Can I send more than 250 emails per hour?

Yes! When you send email using our built-in e3 Delivery Service, your email is sent instantly (or at the time you schedule) without tying up your computer—it doesn’t even have to be powered on. Our servers handle the whole process for you so you can move on to the other important tasks in your day.

Can I personalize my email with each recipient’s first name, for example “Hi, Mike”?

Yes! You can use Direct Mail’s mail-merge tags to add first names, last names, company names, and up to 15 other custom fields to your emails. You can even use powerful if-else logic to dynamically alter the content of your email for each recipient. Click here to learn more.

Can I test what my email looks like in different email clients using Litmus?

Yes! You can use Design Tests to view full-size screenshots of what your email looks like in over 30 popular email clients (including mobile, web-mail, and Windows email clients). Just choose Message > New Design Test from the menu bar at the top of your screen.

Can I export my campaign reports?

Yes! There are two really convenient options for exporting your campaign report:

  • If you’d like to share a live-updating campaign report that can be viewed in any web browser, click here to learn how.
  • If you’d like to export campaign report data as a CSV or PDF file, click here to learn how.

Can I drag and drop email addresses from Apple Mail?

Yes! Start by dragging the email address from Apple Mail and then drop it into your address list in Direct Mail. Here’s a short video clip that demonstrates how to do it.

Can I import email campaigns from Microsoft Word?

Yes! You can import message content from a variety of sources, including Microsoft Word and web pages. Just choose Message > Import from File from the menu bar at the top of your screen. It’s worth mentioning that the formatting in Microsoft Word does not always 100% translate over to HTML (the formatting language used for emails). Instead, we suggest building your emails in Direct Mail itself using one of its built-in templates as a starting point.

Can Direct Mail inline my CSS automatically?

Yes! Direct Mail automatically inlines all CSS before your email is sent (and performs other optimizations). You can control this feature in the Preferences window. Use the Preview window in HTML Source mode if you’d like to preview what your inlined CSS will look like.

But what about…

Don’t see the feature you were hoping for listed above? Please take a moment to consult our documentation or contact our support team. If it’s already possible, they’ll let you know. If not, they’ll make sure it gets considered for a future update to Direct Mail.

Thank you again for taking the time to complete our survey and share with us your feedback. Our door is always open and we welcome any comments or questions that you might have. Here’s to an exciting year ahead!

4.2.5 Update Now Available

Apple Maps in Direct Mail

We wanted to squeeze in one more software update before the book is closed on 2015. Direct Mail 4.2.5 is now available to all of our users (direct download and Mac App Store). The release notes contain the full story of what’s changed, but some notable improvements include:

  • The campaign report map now uses Apple Maps instead of Google Maps. You’ll find that the map loads faster, looks better, and feels more natural on your Mac. The clustering algorithm has been improved to make it easier to see where a majority of your subscribers are located.
  • Dragging and dropping images from your web browser right into Direct Mail now works seamlessly. No need to download the images first before adding them to your message.
  • Important bugs related to cloud syncing and autoresponders have been fixed
  • Integration with Mail Designer has been improved (no more “blank” thumbnails)

Upgrading to the latest version of Direct Mail is super easy: just choose Direct Mail > Check for Software Update from the menu bar at the top of your screen. The update will be downloaded and installed automatically. If you’re using the Mac App Store version of Direct Mail, the App Store will upgrade Direct Mail for you behind the scenes.

Thank you for the valuable feedback, comments, and questions that you contributed to help make this a high-quality release! We wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to an exciting 2016!

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