Email Marketing: the convergence of traditional direct mail marketing with the digital age
Email marketing is The Convergent Marketing digital corrolary to Direct mail. Direct mail has been one of the most effective forms of reaching potential customers for a long time. Often commercial mail is viewed as a nuisance, but at the same time it has proven to be a cost-effective and valuable tool to marketers. And if it is done right, the recipient actually looks forward to receiving the marketing message.
The traditional challenges of the direct mail marketer are:
- To not be automatically classified as junk mail and be thrown in the garbage without so much as a glance.
- To not be reported for sending mail to people without their consent.
- To make people care about and take action because of the message.
Email marketing enjoys some distinct advantages to direct mailing, which are:
- It is much cheaper. A digital message has virtually no costs after it is produced and it can be easily re-purposed.
- Results and feedback, such as A/B testing and tracking are (almost) immediate.
- There is less of a barrier for your message to make it to the eye of the recipient.
Email marketing faces the same challenges as direct mailing, and it needs to beat them in under 5 seconds:
- Being classified as junk mail (spam)
- It takes much less effort for the recipient to make a complaint about unwanted messages, it is as easy as pushing a button.
- It seems to be even harder to stand out from the onslaught of messages that hit the average person’s inbox.
I have created so many html email marketing campaigns, I know what works, what does not, and what will get you in trouble. Here are some tips to help you navigate the ultra-competitive convergence of direct mail with the email age:
- Provide serious value: I always look forward to my Petco email messages because I spend so much on my pets, and I know they help me find great deals. Your “serious value” does not need to be a shopping deal. Another popular source of real value is useful information.
- Include a call to action: Why did you send this email? There should probably be a reason. Maybe you want to drive traffic to a landing page? Make sure you ask people to check it out!
- Make sure your call to action is “above the fold”: Lots of people only read their e-mail in the preview pane. This means they won’t double-click on the e-mail in the inbox list to maximize it. If your message is cut off, then it does not exist.
- Your message should be primarily text-based: Make sure that readers can view the important aspects of your email message without enabling images. Lots of people won’t turn on images or will block images altogether.
- Make your purpose evident fast: Make sure you tell people exactly what you want them to know quickly. Most people don’t like to read. If they have to read to find out the purpose of your marketing message, your message is lost.
- Test: Let your list tell you what it wants and your success will grow.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe: If you don’t make it easy to unsubscribe, you are making it easy to be classified as spam.
- Allow your recipients to see an alternative page: You should provide a link to a web-based page with your message on it. You then have a venue that is much less restricted.
- Send messages without purpose: You will have become a spammer and your list will diminish.
- Create emails that are completely image based: If images are not enabled by the recipient, you have no message. Image-heavy email also sets off spam filters.
- Use too much bolding and other text formatting: Over-bolding, colors all over the place (especially red), excessive capitalizing, exclamation points will set off automated spam filters, as well as your recipients innate spam filter.
- Try to put video or flash in your e-mail:It won’t work. Video and flash in desktop email has been disabled since about 2001. Gmail is now re-introducing video into its email but that is possible because it is a browser-based service. You know how frustrated you get when someone sends you a huge attahcment? Multiply that by 50 for a video email!
- Forget to put your address, phone number and unsubscribe link in your message: It’s the law, especially in the United states. If you forget to include an unsubscribe link, your contact information, or put false information in, you face major fines and possible criminal charges.
There are a lot more guidelines and nuance to a successful email campaign. Once you get past all the technical stuff it all comes down to old fashioned marketing acumen!
if you would like more information or a consultation on how to use convergence marketing method such as HTML email, please feel free to contact me!