The internet dominates the advertising landscape because it is the only medium through which precisely targeted marketing can occur. Sites like Google and Facebook closely track user data and preferences to allow businesses to reach exactly the right demographics.
But there is a way to reach the right individual people also, not just the right demographics – and in doing so, sidestep the middleman. Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) is a form of retargeting that uses email lists of people who have already signed up to receive information and updates from your company. The effect is instant, the ROI is excellent, and best of all, Google and Facebook can’t step in to take their fee.
But that doesn’t mean EDM is easy. Indeed, there are rules and guidelines that accompany the practice, and poor execution can lead to a company being punished just as surely as expert execution will see it rewarded.
Making the most of your EDM campaign
Following the DO’s and DON’Ts of EDM etiquette is essential if your aim is to engage with your potential customers rather than alienate them.
First, the cautionary notes. At a minimum, before you even start to think creatively, understand that the following boundaries are not to be crossed:
Don’t annoy people. Every time a user marks one of your emails as spam, their email server learns that you are less and less reliable as a sender – and your future messages will automatically diverted to their spam folder. This consequence is not just limited to the person you’ve spammed; the algorithm will downgrade your perceived quality for everyone else with the same email server.
Don’t overdo it. One email a week is the absolute limit, but even that is pushing it under most circumstances. In marketing, as in life, the more you talk, the more everybody else starts to tune out. Make every word, message, and email count, and people will want to listen to you. Waste their time, and they’ll start searching for that ‘unsubscribe’ button.
And, in terms of style, the following guidelines are worth keeping in mind:
Don’t make it too lengthy. You only have a short amount of time to get your audience interested before they move on. If you’re simply marketing your wares, it’s best to get straight to the point, or their attention will drift away fast.
Don’t treat everyone the same. People join your email list for different reasons. Some may be interested in software updates, others in seasonal sales offers. Some may live in Thailand, others in Singapore. Some may have already purchased from you, others not. The beauty of email lists is that, if they are set up correctly, they can help you segment your audiences perfectly. Sending focused emails to specific groups is much more effective than sending mass emails to everybody while disregarding their differences.
With these cautions in mind, let’s look at how EDM best practice can help your company reach its marketing potential.
Make people want to join your email list. By offering something for free – an e-book, newsletter, or coupon, for example – you can make a deal with visitors to your site: Give us your email address, and you’ll get this benefit. At the same time, you can also prompt them with checkboxes to let them indicate which products or services are most likely to interest them.
Deliver personalized, win-win EDM messages. EDM allows you to refer to potential customers by name, in addition to segmenting your messages into different categories. The more you can customize your messages with content appropriate to each person reading them, the better. You’ll also get the most engagement if you focus your EDMs on new product announcements, discount offers, specials, invitations, and other messages designed to genuinely interest readers.
Spend time on quality writing and design. As any marketer knows, messages are only part of the game; high-quality framing and packaging of those messages can make the difference between lost potential and new sales. Invest in strong copywriting and design to make your message as impactful as it can be.
Send audiences to the right place. Your EDMs should have a call to action beyond just clicking a button that takes them to your homepage. Create specific landing pages for each of your EDMs, so that potential customers can get exactly what they’re looking for in a single click. You can use that page to provide more details about whatever product or service you’ve been telling them about, and to let them add it to their shopping cart without delay.
Track your progress. Collect data on which of your EDMs are most successful in producing ROI, and try to replicate that format in the future. For each EDM campaign, you can also experiment by sending a variety of different visual and textual styles to different audiences, and then comparatively track their performances as well, simply to determine which type of style and presentation seems to resonate best – in terms of both clicks and eventual sales.
Consider sending them out as newsletters. Most EDMs can be fairly described as simple marketing, but there are other ways to package your message. You can ask visitors to your site to ‘sign up for our free newsletter’, promising a weekly or monthly set of high-quality articles specific to their interests. You can then follow up by delivering those articles, along with your marketing message taking up a small fraction of the newsletter. The better your content, the more likely your readers will share it with their friends and colleagues.
With all the attention on standard online ads, EDMs are perhaps unfairly overlooked among marketing departments. By following the above recommendations, you can earn excellent results relative to your investment – and create instant awareness among your customer base regarding new products and specials at your company.
Remember that EDMs are free to send out, but every typo, mistake and miscue can hurt your reputation and undermine your message. As with any other type of digital marketing, care must be taken at every step to achieve the right impact for your business.
For expert strategic guidance and comprehensive digital marketing services, contact Lexicon today.
Lexicon is a full-service digital marketing agency in Bangkok, Thailand. We specialize in corporate storytelling and produce all of our content in-house, including branding, copywriting, video production and graphic design. Lexicon’s social media marketing services start from just 25,000 THB per month.