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How to Enhance Your Integrated Direct Mail Campaign

Email marketing is a highly effective tool to add to your integrated direct mail campaign. Learn how to reach new audiences and boost your marketing efforts with these eight simple steps.

Email marketing has gained wide-spread popularity over recent years due to its mass-targeting capabilities, simplicity of execution, and relatively low cost. Nowadays, most people have one or more email addresses so this is certainly a viable channel for marketing and communication. However, according to a recent study by The Radicati Group, email users received an average of 75 emails per day to their business email address alone. So, how do you win your consumer’s click? Here are 8 steps to stand out in the inbox.

1. Target your email list. A good campaign starts with comprehensive market research and data analysis. After all, you don’t want to go shooting in the dark (unless, of course, you have night vision goggles). Use small test campaigns to distribute surveys and questionnaires. You’ll be able to gain valuable insights into your target market (demographics, likes/dislikes, and interests) which can then be used to purchase email lists encompassing those same demographics.

2. Design with style. The steps you take in designing your email will be similar to the steps you took in designing your direct mailer with just a few differences.

  • Get creative with a graphic designer or email template. If you’re working with a graphic designer, he/she will be interpreting your guidelines into a visual piece of art. Designing for email is different than designing for a direct mailer. Your designer should know the differences and optimize accordingly. But even if you possess zero HTML and graphic design skills, you can easily leverage online programs and tools to design your email yourself.
  • Choose stunning images. We live in a very visual world. Just one image can make or break your campaign. Depending on your email layout, include only one to two high-resolution images leveraged as the entire background of your email or as a complement to your text. These images should be sized appropriately and represent the context of your email as well as your brand. The color, clarity, and focus should be carefully considered when choosing your image (original work, purchased, or copyright-free).
  • Visually stimulate with color. Your email should stand out (in a good way) from everyone else’s emails. Use two to three different colors to break up your background and text. Be mindful that your email will be viewed on a computer, mobile device, and/or tablet so we recommend not choosing blinding bright colors. Instead, stick with bold, dark, or soft colors that are friendly to the eye. The colors you choose for your email should be cohesive with the colors in your direct mailer though they will utilize RGB instead of CMYK colors.
  • Write with web-friendly fonts. Your entire email design should be clean and simple. Choose easy-to-read web fonts, and separate headers and sub-headers from the body of your text by differentiating the font style and size. Be mindful that the style you choose will affect the tone of your message. A few appropriate sans serif fonts include Verdana, Arial, and Courier.
  • Optimize for all browsers. Not all browsers are created equally which is the reason responsive design has gained popularity in web design. Your email design (images, colors, fonts, layout) may appear differently when viewed through different devices, browsers, and even email providers. Always opt to send both HTML and text versions of your email, and test your email in various settings.

3. Strike with the subject line. How many emails do you delete without even opening? If you’re like most people, you’re only going to click on the email if you know the sender and/or the subject line catches your attention. Avoid spam-like subjects that “guarantee,” “promise,” or offer “FREE” widgets. You can bet your email will be deleted if you use ALL CAPS too. Instead, ignite curiosity, be genuine, and express the value you’re offering. Entice your reader to come to you. Compare and contrast email subject lines that you receive on a daily basis. What strikes your attention and motivates you to click to continue reading? Perhaps it uses humor, offers exclusivity, asks a question, states an interesting fact, or creates controversy. Check out resources such as newspapers, online articles, and even Twitter for inspiration.

4. Make your message matter. Our attention spans are short-lived. Once you grab the reader’s attention with your intriguing subject line, you still only have a matter of seconds to keep your reader entertained. Start off by addressing your recipient by name. Follow with a header or one to two sentences that are short, informative, and to-the-point. Then, add a more detailed description. Be inviting and conversational in your tone; you want to talk to your reader, not at him.

5. Offer something they can’t refuse. Depending on the objective of your email, you may include an exclusive offer for your email recipient. Think of this as an incentive for clicking on and reading your email. It’s also a way to attract new customers, retain loyal customers, and track your email campaign. Your offer will depend on your budget and objectives, but be sure to offer something you yourself would want to receive.

6. Complete with a call-to-action. Your email should serve as a stepping stone to your ultimate goal, whatever that may be. Don’t leave your reader scratching his head. Make it clear to him, visually and in context, which steps should be taken next. “Click here [to be transferred to a unique landing page].” “Download this free white paper.” “Enter to win.” “Watch this video.” “Donate here.” “Enter this discount code at checkout.” “RSVP.” “Like us on Facebook to receive your offer.” “Follow us on Twitter.” “Sign up now.” “Register here.” “Click for more information.” “Take this quick poll.” It could even be a simple reminder to watch out for their direct mailer that’s on its way. Just remember to invoke action.

7. Optimize open and click-thru rates. Ensure your emails are being sent at the right time. A new study by GetResponse suggests sending your email between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. for optimal open rates. The most click-thru rates occur between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. These times should act as a guideline. Ultimately, it depends on your audience and how compelling your email is to your audience; conduct AB testing to find your sweet spot. Add another layer to timing your email marketing by sending variable trigger-based emails. Take Joe Schmo for example. Upon arriving home from his long work day, he opens his mailbox where your variable printed direct mailer calls out to him (by first name) and encourages him to visit his PURL. He takes the bait and enters his PURL online where his special 25% discount offer is waiting. Unlocking this online coupon then triggers a follow-up email thanking Joe for taking the time to learn more about your company. Joe is so intrigued by your products that he proceeds to your website so he can redeem his offer. After just 5 minutes, he’s added two items to his shopping chart but gets distracted by a phone call and never continues to check out. These actions trigger a new email reminding him he has two items waiting in his online shopping cart. Joe is relieved it’s not too late and continues to complete the check-out process resulting in a new sale and customer for your company. From this point on, you can continue monitoring Joe’s purchasing habits and help guide him through future purchases.

8. Social sharing is caring. A huge benefit of email marketing is that you can hyperlink to just about anything on the web. This includes a special landing page, your website, and your social media networks. Emails also allow your recipient to easily share your email to his own social media networks causing a ripple, online word-of-mouth effect.

There are many factors that contribute to a successful email and enhance your overall integrated direct mail campaign. In our next blog post, we’ll lay out the steps to incorporate social media for an even more comprehensive campaign, but if you're interested in starting your campaign now, please contact us.