As you can see from the example above, emails following the model contain a succinct headline that highlights the key message of the campaign, as well as supporting information and visuals to help convince readers about the benefits of clicking-through. The reader is then presented with a prominent call to action button that makes it crystal clear what to do next.
Neil O’Keefe, senior vice president of marketing and content at the Data & Marketing Association, says that marketers began questioning direct mail’s endurance in 2007. That year, Statista reports that smartphone sales jumped 70% from the previous year to $8.7 billion. At the same time, the volume of mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service began to plummet: In 2006, people in the U.S. sent 213.1 billion pieces of mail, according to USPS; by 2017, they were sending 149.5 billion pieces each year, a 29.9% decline. By this point, smartphone sales had reached $55.6 billion. The price of postage and paper had skyrocketed, as did the number of internet users—everything seemed to hammer a nail into direct mail’s coffin.
Even in this age of social media, emails remain one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your contacts. So whether you’re looking to improve, restart, or begin email marketing for your business, you’re making a great decision. Do email blasts work? The answer is yes, but getting great results is not magic. Here are 10 rules for email blasts that will ensure customers open your emails and engage with your small business:
Pam Neely has been marketing online for 15 years. She's a serial entrepreneur and an avid email and content marketing enthusiast with a background in publishing and journalism, including a New York Press Award. Her book "50 Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List" is available on Amazon.com. Pam holds a Master's Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. Follow her on Twitter @pamellaneely.
I like that you specifically mentioned art design and quality control. I get it, mail marketing design is hard sometimes, but nothing is going to make me less interested in your product than sloppy design. I won’t name names, but I get catalogs sent to my house by a major music retailer and those things are a NIGHTMARE to read. Product layouts that change from page to page, inconsistent use of pictures, it was just rough. I get not everyone has that Restoration Hardware/IKEA budget for catalogs (especially in an industry that doesn’t rely on them as much anymore, so maybe it’s not the fairest comparison) but a little more time and care will make me much more interested in whatever this year’s new Fender is.
The last step in completing a successful direct mail campaign is measuring success. While noticing that sales increased during the time you were running the campaign, or that many people used the coupon code that was on your postcard provides a good thumb in the air estimate, it’s important to get a better grasp on how much revenue came directly from sending direct mail.
Shock-and-Awe Package: This is for a targeted list of high potential prospects who have asked for information about your product or service. You can send them something that is so impressive that they might be more likely to want to engage further with you. The shock-and-awe package can include free samples of your product, educational material or other useful, related promotional items.
Expert marketer Ramit Sethi of GrowthLab agrees with Julie about saying goodbye to the email blast, going as far as to publish a blog post entitled “Stop sending email blasts! Do this instead”. The post takes the recommendation to segment even further by suggesting “hotlists” — sub-segments of your email list that subscribers can opt into based on their interest in a specific project of yours.