In this article, you'll learn how to...
- Apply successful direct mail practices to your email campaigns
- Craft subject lines, offer valuable content, and nurture your recipients
Though direct mail certainly isn't as popular or as effective as it once was, email marketers can apply many of the theories used for direct mail campaigns to increase the value of their email marketing campaigns.
First impressions are important
Picture what you do when you get home after a long day of work. You grab the mail and shuffle through it; "bill, bill, circular, overdue bill, credit card offer...." It takes a special type of mail to excite someone these days.
Now picture your inbox when you get to work in the morning; "SPAM, SPAM, email newsletter, SPAM...." The difference is you're not sifting through five pieces of mail, you're sifting through 25. (Some of you might be thinking, "Only 25? More like 225!")
Let's face it... in the midst of all that "junk," a white envelope with a simple return address doesn't cut it. The same goes for an email. Keep in mind the first few things a recipient sees:
- Subject line. Does the subject line accurately describe what the message is? Is there some value in the subject line that will make the recipient want to open the email? (e.g., "Special 20% Off Coupon Inside!")
- "From" address. Is the sender someone the recipient knows and is familiar with (company or person), or is it a random or generic email address that the recipient has no connection with? (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Graphics/layout. If you looked at your email for only two seconds, would it catch your eye? Does it have a good mix of graphics and text? Is the text separated into chunks that are easy to read?
Give me something of value
Every once in a while, I get an unsolicited mailer in my mailbox promoting a new real estate agent in town. I'm a new homeowner, so the odds of me needing a real estate agent any time soon are slim. However, one of the real estate agents sends me a well-designed mailer that has home-maintenance tips, mortgage-rate trends, and information about the area we live in. Now that's useful!
When crafting the content of your email, focus on sharing information that provides value to the recipient. Consider using the following:
- Monetary value. Sharing valuable coupons, discounts, or offers with your audience gives intrinsic value to your message.
- Informational value. Rather than sending me a press release about a new hammer you're selling, tell me how I could use it. Show me how to build a bird house with it. I could be discovering a product that I never even knew I needed!
- Opportunity value. Give me something that not everyone can get: a pre-screening of a movie, a sneak peek of a cool new product, an event that's not open to the public. I want to be an insider, and I want to feel special.