Did you know there are organizations dedicated to combating email spam? Thank goodness, right? They set up a little thing called a honeypot, which is a planted email address that, when harvested and emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer. Similarly, things called spam traps can be created to identify spammy activity; they're set up when an email address yields a hard bounce because it's old or no longer valid, but still receives consistent traffic. Fishy, eh?
When it comes to rented or purchased lists, you may come across vendors or marketers who say, "This email list is totally opt-in!" This means the people on the list opted in to an email communication from someone at some point in time -- the list provider, for example -- by filling out a form or checking a box to receive more content from that provider.
The most advanced email marketing services offer custom workflows where you can specify triggers based on actions (such as opening an email or making a purchase) or on inaction (such as ignoring emails). With these services, you can also set up a series of emails (such as tutorials) to be sent to segments of users, and you can pause or stop a campaign at any time. You can also move contacts into new segments once they have completed tutorials.
If ebooks aren't your jam, create tools instead. I don't recommend a one-or-the-other approach, necessarily, but if you have more development talent than writing talent, this may be a more attractive option for you. These tools can be valuable enough to some of your website visitors that they'll trade you their email address for a free demo of the product you built. Then, for your first email, ask them what they thought of the tool. It's the perfect icebreaker.
If someone didn't ask to hear from you yet, it doesn't mean they won't want to hear from you later. It's your job to prove to them -- through helpful content and valuable offers -- that they should stay up to date with your company via email. If you force your email content on anyone too early, even if you know in your bones they're a great fit for your products or services, you risk preemptively losing their trust and their future business.
ToutApp is a great email marketing tool specifically for sales teams. It enables users to create emails fast and follow up on email marketing promotions (via a unique email and marketing tracking feature). Users can view opens, clicks on attachments (e.g. PDFs) and website links and when they’ve responded to an email all in one dashboard. ToutApp also functions as a lead nurturing tool as it allows sales teams to send content to the right people at the right time.
Activation: A new user creates an account but, they do not use your product within the first 7 days. Create an “activation” campaign that sends an automated email with their login information, steps on how they can get started and include a video demonstration for additional support. You can also invite them to a one-on-one meeting to walk them through the product and answer any questions they may have.