I'm a tech-minded marketer with a history of building systems that support growth. Among other things, I've managed 1.75 billion emails annually for a retailer & built multiple CRM solutions for healthcare startups. Aside from my beard grooming skills, I'm really good at deliverability, marketing for startups, and building customer journeys.
You need to think about these auto-responders in terms of events. If you can put data up on MailChimp when an event takes place, you can manage auto-responders off of that data. Here is some additional information from their website. http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/how-do-i-create-an-autoresponder
Great options listed above. Another thing you could do is offer a percentage of the sales of your products to popular bloggers in your space so they can push your content. When they purchase your content, collect their email address.
As far as not having a platform, that is no problem, however, you need to find a way to add value or positively impact peoples' lives if you expect them to give you their email address.
I don't think it is what you are looking for, but MailChimp.com was created by mistake from a services agency. They were sending emails for their clients and the next thing you know, they were making most of their money from send costs and the rest is history. Sorry I can't be more help.
I have had a lot of success sending the proposal after I have clearly demonstrated that I can have a profound impact on their business. If you send them a quote or proposal without building trust by demonstrating your expertise, they will get sticker shock. I would recommend you read the free ebook from the founder of FreshBooks called ""Breaking the Time Barrier." http://breakingthetimebarrier.freshbooks.com/
Help people. That is the best answer you will get. This looks like asking people what you can do for their business. Seriously call an executive and say, I want to help you make money, give me a shot. Then work your face off and don't read all the blogs you follow while at work.
There are a lot of factors at play when getting caught in the junk folder. Long term, send quality content to trusted emails. In the short term, make sure the URLs you are sending people to match the domain you are sending from? Also, what subject line were you using? Also, what vendor are you sending from?