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Email Direct Marketing (EDM) – Cut through the noise

, January 2, 2014, 0 Comments

Email Direct Marketing - MarketExpressThe concept of Email Direct Marketing (EDM) is more than three decades old now. It all started with Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp who sent out the first mass email in 1978 to around 400 people promoting the use of DEC machines via Arpanet.

Yeah, it was a sizeable audience back then! Cut to the present, and the number can well vary between a few hundreds to a few millions. Mind you, we are not talking about spamming. Abundance of data and deep analytical capabilities has made it possible to reach out to audiences of specific demographics.

Say you need to hire a market research professional between 8-10 years of relevant work experience and who comes cheap. You can drill down to a niche target based on experience, relevance, location, qualification and current salary, and blast off an email to them. The chances of conversion are increased by at least 10-15%.

Given that EDMs are used like second nature today, how does one rise above the clutter? More importantly, why is the tool not regarded as a sure shot way of campaigning, much as we likely have assumed it to be? Some of the biggest challenges daunting EDM include targeting recipients with relevant content, quantifying ROI, perception as spam, and having people opt-in to email lists.

Much of these can be overcome by ensuring the quality of the single most redeeming factor in an EDM campaign – content. The very first email you send out can find its mark if crafted well. When a reader has made an effort to scan through the email, however swiftly, you can be assured that you have his/her attention. You are now more confident of the readers opting in for email lists, and more importantly, being spared of the spam tag.

Following are some key pointers that one can consider while crafting marketing messages through email:

With a great cover, people won’t mind exploring the insides: Yes, we are talking about the subject line. One of the most common advices you’ll have heard, even in the larger ambit of marketing communication.  The subject line will do good to be in direct speech, not wordy, and impactful. Say, ‘Presenting the most advanced solution for leveraging social media’ could be written as ‘Social media marketing made easy and effective’.

Keep it short: Another very common pointer, but extremely relevant. Research shows that the average attention span of the reader is 51 seconds after opening an email, which means they won’t read it, but simply scan through. Make sure that the email doesn’t involve a lot of scrolling. Use keywords as much as possible that can help set the context early on.

Design attractively, but moderately: Although most EDMs are HTML mailers, it helps not to make it heavy on design and graphics. There’s a possibility of the email losing its personal touch, with a lot of cosmetic makeup.

It’s an email, not an index of hyperlinks: It always helps to use hyperlinks in emails, but ensure that they are provided sparingly. Try to encapsulate your message in terse and powerful lines. Typically hyperlinks are better provided for calls-to-action, social media sharing, company websites. In addition, keep the hyperlinks in plain blue text, and not as banners or buttons. Research has shown it gives a personal touch.

Use highlighters: For any important point you wish to convey, use highlighters, but aesthetically. You can also use upper cases, but be discrete in their usage. All of us know that people can take offence to lines written in upper case. Use bold if necessary.

Align your message to the left: If you observe, most of us tend to ignore content on the right hand column of any email, because we are used to reading left-right.

Be a grammar fanatic if necessary, but get it right always: One cannot stress the importance of using grammatically correct sentences enough. One glaring error and the reader will know better not to scan your emails the next time.