While everyone's buzzing about social media these days, the fact is that EDMs (electronic direct mailers) are still one of the most targeted and effective marketing methods used today, proving their continued popularity with marketers.
According to a report by MarketingSherpa, 67 per cent of organisations were planning to increase their email budgets in 20121. So if you're one of the many companies looking to increase sales with EDMs, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your email campaigns.
With the massive surge in smartphone usage, it probably comes as no surprise that in 2013 more people will be checking their emails via mobile devices than by desktop. Obviously, this drastic shift in consumer behaviour has big implications for email marketers.
For example, while most email opens via desktop occur during the week, mobile opens often occur over the weekend and in the morning when people are still in bed2. As such, you should time your campaigns accordingly, taking into account the behaviour of your particular target market and what you're trying to achieve.
It's also important to optimise your emails for mobile devices with smaller screens, and even take into account the colours you are using. For example, if someone checks their email when waking up, would they appreciate the eye-popping neon yellow colour of your newsletter?
Create benefit-driven subject lines
Your subject line is your first impression, so it's important to get it right. Subject lines should quickly and efficiently convey the benefits of reading the email. For example, "Open this email and save 25 per cent on your next order with XYZ." Keep subject lines direct and to the point and avoid spammy words and phrases that are likely to be met with the delete button.
Also, don't be afraid to experiment with different subject lines to see which ones achieve the best open rates.
Avoid the spam filter
Spam filters work on a point system, assigning points to your email based on certain criteria, such as spammy words and symbols in your subject line or body, like "free" or "buy now". If your email reaches a certain threshold of points, it will end up in the junk folder.
Other items that can accumulate these unwanted points are:
Money patterns and symbols ($, %, !) in your subject line.
Use of all capitals and brightly-coloured fonts.
Sending from obscure email addresses, such as "email@example.com".
You can also get assigned points if your email talks excessively about money, or describes some sort of breakthrough.
Since there is no point sending emails that will just end up in the spam folder, be sure your message is free of negative criteria. If you're unsure, you can run your email through one of the many free spam-check tools available online.
Create good content
Given the overwhelming number of email messages bombarding people each day, you need to offer good content for your readers so when they see your next email peering at them from their inbox, they will actually want to open it.
Give them something useful, such as subscriber-only benefits including advance notice of sales, special discounts and more. Keep your messages uncomplicated and to the point, and try to infuse them with some personality so you stand out from the crowd.
Aim for a professional and consistent look across your emails and newsletters, and personalise your messages by using the recipient's name. Always include a signature too.
Use social media links
Last but not least, be sure to include a way to share your email. An infographic by GetResponse shows that including links can double your click-through rate (CTR) when read by users of Facebook or Twitter, and quadruple CTR when read by users of LinkedIn, yet only 20 per cent of email marketers use them3.
Creating a good EDM campaign isn't rocket science, but it does take a little forethought and creativity. It's always advisable to measure the results of your EDM campaigns so you can see what works and what doesn't, making adjustments where necessary. Fortunately, there are many tools available today that make creating and managing your EDMs a breeze.
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This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Kathleen has a degree in marketing with over 10 years experience in the IT field as a database developer and web designer. As a freelance writer, Kathleen has written for several publications across Australia as well as for various business and hi-tech blogs online.