July 10, 2014 12 easy ways to supercharge your eDMs

By Kate Stephenson

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In a world of spam-filled inboxes, it’s a challenge to make your eDM (electronic direct mail, or email campaign) stand out from the crowd.

How do you make your messaging stand head and shoulders above the clutter? Follow these 12 simple tips to take your eDMs to the next level.

1. Make first impressions count

A dynamic subject line is the life and death deal breaker between Open and Trash. You’re one click away from hitting third base, but also the same distance from being dumped for good.

In a world of cluttered inboxes, you only get one chance. The dream subject line should spark curiosity. Dangle a carrot. Respond to a need. Solve a problem. But never tell the whole tale. Don’t be too quirky here; now is not the time. And brevity is key. Limit yourself to 3 – 8 words and all of a sudden, voila! It’s open sesame!

2. Be in the right place at the right time

Effective eDM reception is all about timing. Consider when your demographic is most likely to respond. Sending something important on a Friday afternoon when everyone has escaped the office probably isn’t going to be as effective as sending it on a Tuesday lunchtime.

It’s time for an experiment. Monitor open rates when you send messages at different times of the day and work to develop your winning formula.

3. Keep your eDMs short and sweet

It’s crucial that the language you adopt is active and propels your reader towards the goal. For example:

  • ‘Enquire now’
  • ‘Book online’
  • ‘Contact us’.

No fancy schmancy words or abstract terminology. Make sure your message is clear. Cut the fluff so the core message doesn’t get lost. As soon as people become confused, they will stop reading. Shorter sentences will always win you points.

Also try to push just one product or service at a time. Don’t mix messages. There’s always next time.

4. Know that image is everything

Sending eDMs regularly? Great! But don’t get stuck in a rut. Experiment with form. In a digital world obsessed with lists, ‘Top 10s’ are a great way to engage interest and keep them scrolling to the end. They can also lend themselves to a creative use of imagery. Which reminds me – don’t rest until you have found the money shot image for your message. Boring looking email? You’re likely to lose your reader by the end of the first sentence.

5. ‘Look, it’s not me, it’s you’

Make sure your message is always personal and appeals directly to your audience. Segment your database to achieve this. The great thing about eDM is that you can meticulously tailor to parts of the database and send out as unique messages as you want. Activate this opportunity. Don’t just carpet bomb everyone with the same words. And remember to always monitor performance and learn from the stats.

6. Let’s be friends

From domestic cleaning to private jet travel, you must always highlight the features and benefits of what you are offering in your email. There are clever ways to do this. Talk to your database like friends sharing advice. Go easy on the hard sell. Explain the direct benefits of following your call to action. And provide useful links wherever possible – YouTube videos, internal and even external affiliate websites – anything to reinforce your message and shareability.

7. Schedule your eDMs like clockwork

In terms of scheduling, you may get to the point where your database is used to receiving their weekly eDM say on a Wednesday morning. Do not let them down. This kind of rapport is just what you came here to build. Maintain that regular trust and write killer copy in every instalment. If you get it right, your readership will get into the habit of reading your weekly message. They might even come to check back in for each edition with the loyalty they demonstrate for their favourite TV show.

8. Set expectations of when you’ll be back

Why not try a 3-week ‘series’ eDM special to encourage people to get into the habit of ‘checking back’ each week? Drop a teaser of what is to come over the coming weeks. A promotion you would like to run, or a multifold product. The ultimate cliff-hanger being that it won’t be revealed until the next instalment. All of a sudden, you’re not a corporation, you’re a friend sharing a secret. You’ve built a relationship already and made your emails a habit of every week.

9. Create a sense of urgency

Heighten urgency by stating a deadline for any offers you are promoting. But use terms like ‘hurry’, ‘act fast’ and ‘strictly limited’ as sparingly as possible. There’s nothing worse than sounding like a used car salesman. Even if you’re there to sell second-hand cars.

10. Put a face to the name

It’s always a good idea to make your eDMs come from a person. There’s nothing more powerful than the voice of personal experience. And nothing more alienating than a faceless message. It doesn’t just have to be from the CEO or the Marketing Manager. Open up to the possibility of giving everyone a voice. It’s a great opportunity to introduce staff in their area of expertise.

11. Don’t overdo it

So it’s working a treat. Enquiries are through the roof. Website traffic is at an all-time peak. There have never been so many brochure requests. Great! But don’t abuse your position. Success is not an excuse to bombard your database with poorly planned eDMs every hour. Don’t be that person. If you begin to be seen as spam, you will all of a sudden find an ever-diminishing database. Tread carefully.

12. Avoid the spam filter

Avoid spammy words like ‘free’, ‘discount’ and ‘win’ in your subject line and you’ll avoid being filtered straight into Junk folders. Reward your readers with good copy and something they can take away with them. Remember this is not a corporate document. It should have a completely different sensibility. Anchor your message with a punchy, mobilising call to action and bingo! They’re on your website, flocking to your store or calling for more information. Now sit back, relax and let the sales team do their thing.

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method to writing eDMs that will work every time. But experiment, be kind to your readers and give them something useful – this will already be a head start. It’s all about building loyalty and trust. After all, you wouldn’t buy from someone you didn’t like, would you? Keep inspired by signing up for mailing lists of companies you admire. See how your competitors are doing it. Write clearly, concisely and wisely and your messages will fly.

If you’d like to finetune your digital marketing content, our team of professional copywriters would love to help. Get in touch with us today.