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Traffic Avalanche: 17 Steps To Buying Dedicated Email Drops

Traffic Avalanche: 17 Steps To Buying Dedicated Email Drops

by kobura02
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1 – Start Here


Note From the Author

amber-ewartHi all, I’m Amber Ewart and I’m the Vice President of Media for Associated Interests, a sister company to Digital Marketer.

I handle paid traffic for properties like Survival Life, DIY Ready and Makeup Tutorials.

I manage ~$300,000 in media spend for these various properties and ~$100,000 of that is spent on dedicated email drops.

But don’t worry, if you’re just getting started you don’t need a huge budget to use dedicated emails to drive traffic to your site.

I’m excited to get started sharing our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this fantastic traffic source.

Let’s get started!

~ Amber Ewart


What is a Dedicated Email?

Let’s start out by defining what we are talking about in this Execution Plan and showing a few examples.

First, you are NOT buying an email list.  In other words, you will not be receiving the actual email addresses from the person or company you purchase your dedicated email drop.

What you are doing is buying ACCESS to this person or company email list.

They will send an email to their list on your behalf.

Here’s a dedicated email drop that we purchased from American Prosperity to promote a Tripwire Offer for Survival Life called The Everstryke Match…

This email was sent to the American Prosperity email list by American Prosperity because we bought access to their list and clicks from this email were taken to the entrance point to a conversion funnel.

Here’s the landing page for the Everystryke Match offer we made to the American Prosperity list…

Here’s another dedicated email for the same Everstryke Match offer.  In this case we used an image based email rather than a text email.

And here’s another example from the health and fitness space.  In this case, the company Crisis Education is sending an email on behalf of Health and Wellness Insider.  Notice how Sam McCoy is endorsing Health and Wellness Insider by calling them “friends.”

Now that you know what a Dedicated Email is, let’s talk about when to use them.


When To Use Dedicated Emails

So, why did we use the words ‘Traffic Avalanche’ in the title of this Execution Plan?

Answer: Because dedicated emails send a “blast” or “avalanche” of traffic to your site very quickly.

That is a good thing, right?  Yep… except when the offer you send that traffic to doesn’t convert.

An email drop is an event.  You pay for it, the email is sent and that is that.  You can’t tweak it along the way.  There’s no pause button.

As a result you should only use email drops on offers (and funnels) that have been tested through other means.

Secondly, dedicated email drops are a great method of traffic generation for those that aren’t able to advertise due to restrictions on Google AdWords, Facebook, etc.  For those in the dating or exercise and fitness space, for example, dedicated emails can be a great option.

In the next step we will talk about methods you can use to reduce the risk involved with dedicated emails.  For now, just know that if you have a tested offer that is converting to…

  • Your house email list
  • Facebook ads
  • YouTube ads
  • etc, etc

… you can get A LOT of eyeballs on that offer using dedicated email drops.

Just make sure you follow the best practices in the next step to reduce your risk and you’ll likely find that dedicated email drops are a fantastic way to get lots of eyeballs on your offers.

How to Reduce Risk

As mentioned in the previous step, the downside to a dedicated email is that it is a single point of failure.

But the upside of sending so much traffic is too great to ignore.

Here are 10 ways to reduce risk and ensure that you have a successful email drop…

  • Ask for a text ad/display ad – Before doing a full dedicated email drop, ask if you can buy a text or display ad (these are usually much cheaper) from the list to test the list.
  • Ask for a partial send – Some lists will allow you to buy access to a part of their list for much cheaper than a full push to their list.
  • Ask for a banner ad – Another way to test is to ask for banner ad placement on their website before you buy an email drop.
  • Set pixels on the landing page – Be sure to build retargeting audiences (See the Boomerang Traffic Plan Execution Plan) so that you can follow up with those that visit your landing page but don’t buy or opt-in using retargeting ads.
  • Ask if they offer “make goods” – If the email drop performs poorly most list owners will send another email on your behalf as a “make good.”  Ask your contact if they offer “make goods” before you buy.
  • Use a tracking link – Use UTM Parameters (See the Google Analytics Execution Plan) on your links so you can track traffic coming from any single dedicated email drop.
  • Set pixels in the email – Some vendors will allow you to drop a retargeting pixel into the HTML of the email itself allowing you to retarget those that opened the email with ads.
  • Check the “From” line – Ensure that the email that is sent will come FROM the list owner and not you.  You want this email to be endorsed by the list owner for best results.
  • Ask for 30 Day Terms – Some vendors will give you payment terms.  It never hurts to ask.
  • Ask for a first time discount – Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Ok, are you ready to find some of these big email lists that will send you a traffic avalanche?

Let’s do this


2 – Make a List of Vendors


How to Use This Section

In this section I’ll show you the methods I use to find the big email lists.

First, download the Dedicated Email Planner spreadsheet in the Resources section of this step.

Second, know that I’ve had more success finding these lists using some tools that I’ll share with you in this module — rather than going through a list broker.

That said, if you’d like to go through a broker, here are a couple of resources that will get you started.

These are both list directories for direct mail, phone and email…

I would recommend familiarizing yourself with these two directories but stopping short of using a list broker.

Instead, use the method I’ll outline below and reach out direct to the list owner.  I find that I can haggle better deals this way and I don’t have to pay the broker fees.

Dedicated Email Planner


Use Free Browser Plug-ins

The next two steps will show the tools we use to find the publishers that will send dedicated email drops on your behalf.

In the first step, we’ll cover the free tools we use.  In the next step, we’ll cover a paid tool called What Runs Where.

The free tools we use are both browser extensions for Chrome…

Both plug in to the Chrome browser and allow you to find similar websites to the site you are currently browsing.

Let’s say I want to find lists in the health and fitness space.

I go to Google and type in ‘health and fitness blog’ and find a blog called ‘Greatist’…


I visit the site and check the top navigation and footer navigation looking to see if they advertise…

Nothing in the top navigation but when I get to the footer, I find it…


They have a number of advertising options including Newsletter Sponsorship which may or may not mean they’ll allow a dedicated email.  It’s definitely worth reaching out to them to get the details…


I could reach out to Greatist and be done with it — but I’m going to take it a step further.

I click on the Google Similar Pages or Similar Sites extension in Chrome and find a number of sites like this one that allow me to explore further and find more potential places to buy email drops.

I see a site that looks promising in Google Similar Pages called ‘ideafit.com’…


And good news when I visit their site, I find another possible dedicated email opportunity…


I reach out to Idea Fit and add keep adding my opportunities to the Dedicated Email Planner spreadsheet.

And, I repeat until I’ve reached out to 5 to 10 possible lists.

Now, let’s look at the exact same process using a paid tool called What Runs Where.


Use What Runs Where

Ok, so What Runs Where isn’t cheap but the data in there can be very useful if you are doing a lot of media buying and, particularly, a lot of dedicated emails.

Let’s say I want to find lists in the health and fitness space.

I go to Google and type in ‘health and fitness blog’ and find a blog called ‘Greatist’…


I visit the site and check the top navigation and footer navigation looking to see if they advertise…

Nothing in the top navigation but when I get to the footer, I find it…


They have a number of advertising options including Newsletter Sponsorship which may or may not mean they’ll allow a dedicated email.  It’s definitely worth reaching out to them to get the details…


I could reach out to Greatist and be done with it — but I’m going to take it a step further.

I go to What Runs Where and put greatist.com into the “By advertiser” tab…


I then select “Category Publishers” in the left navigation and find other publishers like trails.com…


Perhaps I should be advertising with trails.com too.

I head over to trails.com and find their advertising information…


I contact trails.com and then repeat the process until I have a good list of potential publishers.

Now repeat and add information to the Dedicated Email Planner.


Send Email or Download Media Kit

Now that you’ve found some publishers that are a potential fit for a dedicated email drop you’ll want to reach out to them and get their rates and list size.

The first email I send is pretty simple.  Remember, this is how these publishers make money.  You, the advertiser, are their customer.

In the initial email I ask for advertising rates for all of the opportunities they have.  You can download the exact email I use in the Resources section below.

Some sites (especially the larger ones) will have a media kit you can download that might have all the information you need and more.

Here’s the Media Kit download from Newsmax, for example…


But for those that don’t have a media kit, I just send them an email to get the ball rolling.  In the next module I’ll tell you the specific questions you need to follow up with once you have your hot list of dedicated email possibilities.

Reach Out Email



Fill Out Dedicated Email Planner



Dedicated Email Planner


3 – Choose Your Vendor



How to Use This Section

Now that you’ve got some prospective vendors for a dedicated email drop you’ll want to do some further research before you pull the trigger on this email drop.

In this section you’ll learn the right questions to ask your vendor before you close the deal.

You’ll add this information to your Dedicated Email Planner spreadsheet (included below if you didn’t download it in Section 2 of this Execution Plan.)

Let’s get started!

Dedicated Email Planner


Join The List

Once you know you are interested in a list, you should subscribe to that list.

Look for the following in the promotional emails from the lists you’ve joined and make notes in your Dedicated Email Planner spreadsheet:

  • Do they mail multiple promotions per day?  Ideally, you’ll want your dedicated email to be the only email that is sent that day.
  • What is in the “FROM” line?  You’ll want your promotional email to be sent FROM the vendor, not you.
  • Do they endorse the promotions? You’ll want the person or business that is sending the email (the vendor) to endorse you and your offer with statements like “Our friends at Survival Life have an exclusive offer just for our members…”
  • Do they mail content?  A vendor that mails nothing but promotions will often have lower open rates than vendors that send content to their list.
  • What does the “creative” look like?  You’ll get an idea of what kind of email creative you’ll need by watching what others are using.

Let me give you two examples of the types of creative you’ll see from these lists.

Are most of the promotions using text heavy emails like this one?…


Or image heave promotions like this one?…


Do you notice any other characteristics about the creative in these emails?  If so, make note of that in your Dedicated Email Planner.

If you like what you see from this vendor, move on to the next step and start asking some important questions.


Find The Right Price

You’ve used your Dedicated Email Planner to find the names of lists you are interested in.

You’ve got the name of the list, the URL of the website and maybe a contact name and email.

You’ve also been adding notes into your planner as you find them.

But now we want to get some estimates from the vendor that will help us predict how well this dedicated email drop will perform.

Follow up with the vendors you are interested and ask for…

  • List Size (Remember, you might want to inquire about sending to only part of the list to reduce risk)
  • Cost of a Dedicated Email
  • Estimated Open Rate
  • Estimated Click-Through Rate

From there you’ll be able to fill in the rest of your Dedicated Email Planner spreadsheet and get to the number that matters the most…

  • Cost Per Lead (CPL) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

If you’re using this dedicated email to acquire leads you’ll be interested in estimating CPL.

If your using this dedicated email to acquire buyers you’ll be interested in estimating CPA.

Watch this video that explains the rest of the Dedicated Email Planner spreadsheet…


If you like what you see with these numbers, move on and ask a few more questions before you close the deal on this email drop.


Ask About Split Testing

Ask the vendor is if the allow for A/B split testing.

You should always be split testing something for every send. Even if it is a small test, it’s still valuable information that can improve your numbers on the next email drop you buy.

When split testing, only test one element at a time.  If you test more than one element, you won’t know which element was responsible for the results.

For example when testing two different subject lines, your email copy and landing page should be the same for each split.

In this example, the subject lines are the only differentiating factor.


Sweeten The Deal

Now that y0u know your numbers I would recommend that you ask your vendor for a discount.

The cost of these email drops is negotiable and now is the time to negotiate.

Ask for…

  • a reduced rate as a first time sender
  • a partial send (You send an email to part of their list at a reduced rate)
  • a free or reduced rate on other advertising options  (e.g. a banner ad on their website or in one of their newsletters)
  • 30 day terms (You don’t pay them until 30 days after the service is provided)

Remember, this vendor makes money by selling advertising.

You are their customer and they should be anxious to earn your business.


4 – Scheduling, Drop Day and Beyond


Ask for a List of Dates and Times

Ok, it’s time to get your email drop on the calendar.

After you’ve done the math in your Dedicated Email Planner and have found a list worth testing, ask the vendor what dates they have available to send your email.

A couple things to keep in mind, Tuesday-Thursday are usually the best days for email.

Sometimes Saturday and Sunday are good days too but it depends on the list.

If the vendor offers you a weekend send date, just ask them if the Open Rate and Click-Through Rate are the same for weekend sends.

Many vendors have set times that they send email but if you have the option to pick your time, shoot for between 8-12PM EST.


Ask if You’re the Only Email

I’ve mentioned this before but it’s so important that it deserves it’s own step.

When you have picked your list, date and send time, make sure you are the ONLY advertiser scheduled for that day.

Some lists will send multiple emails per day, which could mean that your email went out at 10 am but another advertiser’s mail went out after yours at 12pm.

This will severely reduce your response.

We call it getting “stomped on” by another advertiser.

You want to be the only message those subscribers see that day.


Set Up Creative and Test

Ok, it’s time to create the subject line, text and images that will be your dedicated email.

I use Adobe Dreamweaver to set up and send an HTML document to the vendor.  This isn’t usually required but I do so to make sure the email looks exactly how I want it.

If you’re not familiar with HTML, don’t worry.  Most vendors will work with you to get your email set up assuming you have the text and image assets you want to use.

I then ask the vendor to send me a test mail so I can double check the layout and links.

If anything is off, I ask for them to correct it and send another test until it is perfect.

This is critical folks — this is your ONE chance to check this email for mistakes.  Don’t take it lightly.

Use links with unique tracking parameters within your email.  You’ll want to know EXACTLY how many clicks were sent to your landing pages from your email buy.

If you need information about creating unique tracking parameters for Google Analytics tracking (called UTM Parameters) access the Mastering Google Analytics Execution Plan.

Usually vendors will require the creative to be sent  72 hrs before the drop date so that they have enough time to set up and send the test.

You should also send the vendor a seed email (fake email) to include on their list for the final send. This way you will get the final email and can make sure everything is working and that there weren’t any mistakes.

I would also use this seed email address to subscribe to the vendors list so you can get all of their mails.

By doing so, you can make sure no other mails were sent on the same day as yours in addition to seeing what other products/companies advertise with them (these could potentially be other companies for you to work/advertise with).

Lastly, use a Spam checking tool (like this tool or this tool) to make sure your email doesn’t get caught in the Spam box.


Use the Drop Day Checklist

On the day your email goes out, check the following:

  • Are your links working?
  • Was the email sent at the correct time?
  • Does your creative look correct?
  • Was the email sent “FROM” the vendor?  (As opposed to being sent from you)
  • Were you the only promotional email sent that day?

If you answer no to any of the above and it causes your email results to suffer, ask the vendor for a “make good.”

We’ll cover the “make good” in a future step of this Execution Plan.


Do the 72-Hour Check Up

3 days after the drop date, reach out to the vendor and ask them to send you the stats they tracked on their end.

You’ll want to know…

  • Number of emails sent
  • Open Rate
  • Click-Through Rate

These stats should be similar to what you are seeing in your own analytics.  That said, your stats will almost never exactly match their stats.

Analyze these stats and decide if it is worth re-booking another drop.

If the drop did terribly, you can ask the vendor if they would be willing to offer a “make-good” (we’ll cover this in a later step).

You may have to give a drop more than 72 hours to decide if it was successful or not. I usually check back within a week and again in a month to see how the numbers look.

Look for the areas of your email drop performed well and places where you can improve.

For example…

  • If the click-through rate rate was solid but the open rate was super low, you’ll want to test a new subject line.
  • If the open rate was good but the click-through rate is low, then it’s the email creative that needs work.
  • If the click-through rate was good but the conversion rate on the landing page was low, you need a better offer or landing page.

Lastly, if your email drop does poorly, you should always ask the vendor if there was a technical issue with the email.  Perhaps the Email Service Provider screwed up the sending of the emails.

You may not be able to recover all the cost of your email drop within 72 hours.  It will depend on your offer, the funnel that is behind that offer and a number of other factors.  In fact, the goal with most of my email drops (because I am selling a subscription most of the time) is to recover 1/2 of the spend on an email drop within 72 hours.

I know that when I get 1/2 my money back within 72 hours, I will go ROI positive after the subscriptions bill again.


Ask for a “Make Good” or Repeat

If the email does poorly, I’ll ask for a “make good.”  A “make good” is when the vendor has made a mistake or the email does very poorly and a new email is sent to make good on the error.

Sometimes they’ll give you the make good and other times they won’t.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.

If the email does well I will immediately book another email drop with this vendor.

In fact, sometimes I will run the exact same email to the exact same list.   I’ll also take the same creative, offer and subject line and run it to other vendors.

Once you have a winner, it’s time to scale your efforts and acquire as many leads and sales as possible.


BONUS Presentation: How to Buy Access To An Email List

I did a Digital Marketer Lab Office Hours call where I discuss and expand on some of the concepts in this Execution Plan.

You can watch that Office Hours call below…



What’s Next?

Wow!  You’ve come a long way!  Congratulations!

I bet you’re asking… now what?

Here are the Execution Plans in Digital Marketer Lab we recommend you checking out next:


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