e-Direct Marketing - getting emails read
Less is more
Most people scan through an email for about 2 seconds before either being interested enough to read more or hitting the delete key. Often the header alone is enough to make them decide whether or not to carry on. Keep this at the forefront of your mind when writing copy and make it as snappy and relevant as possible. Two or three paragraphs are ideal for most missives and five is about the maximum. If someone’s interested in your offer, you want them on your website or picking up the phone to you – not scanning through pages of email. Also remember – it’s back to that size thing again – the smaller the mail is, the more likely it is to get through.
Only use accurate lists
This may sound as though I’m stating the blindingly obvious, but make sure your list is as clean as possible before sending your email out. Whilst you may not be able to verify every single person still exists, you can at least check the formatting is correct and all opt outs have been removed. This particularly applies to corporate environments when doing an e-blast to many people in the same organisation. If your list has multiple incorrect or badly formatted addresses, mail filters may pick up on this and block all of your emails. It’s also just plain irritating for you as you’ll be dealing with multiple bounce backs and trying to re-send mails when you could be doing something more productive instead.
Get it checked and approved
No matter what else you do, make absolutely sure you get at least one other person to read through your mail and, if necessary, approve it before you send it out. We’ve all got to that stage where we’ve read something so often our eyes glaze over and we don’t notice the mistakes. And other areas such as sentence construction and usage of particular words or phrases that seem fine to you may not make sense to another reader. After all, you’d be pretty annoyed if your mail was blocked due to poor spelling or silly mistakes. And most people who receive a badly spelt or constructed email are likely to put it straight into trash without reading it through. Never rush to push something out the door – no matter how urgent the occasion – without having it checked first.
When to send it
The time and day of the week you send emails can really help with delivery. As stated above, some corporations will block mails over a certain size from being delivered in business hours. Of course, the best time to send something to a working person is between 9-5 for instant reception. Conversely, however, if you send something out of business hours it will get through faster as there will be far less network traffic. For corporate delivery try sending mails between 7-9am so it’s in the inbox as people arrive at their desks. For consumers, timing is less of an issue, but if you have a message you want to reach someone at a key moment, many people check their personal email at lunchtime and between around 7-9pm. A great time to send a food-related offer!
Make sure your mail isn’t clashing with someone else’s!
If you work in a large or international corporation, make sure that your e-blast isn’t happening on the same day as someone else’s. Many companies have a marketing communications calendar where you can see who is sending what, to whom and when. Not only does it make your company look unprofessional if someone receives multiple marketing communications in one day, but a corporate mail system may pick up on the fact the same email address is sending messages several times and treat them as spam.
Don’t use your usual ISP mailbox
If you usually use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) email account for your mail, find a bulk email hosting company and use their services when sending out large e-blasts. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, they are the experts in this field and know exactly how to look after your mailing and quickly get the mail to a recipient’s inbox. The second reason is if you only send mails to a few people via your usual ISP, they may well think that your large mailout is spam, and stop its delivery.
How often should you mail?
A tricky question to answer. If you send emails too regularly your recipients may get tired of seeing your name popping up in their inboxes all the time and blacklist you. On the other hand, if you don’t email them often enough your name won’t register on their radar screen and they may delete your mail without reading it. It’s back to the tried and trusted solution, make sure you have something relevant to talk about and send your message to the correct person. Think how often you’d want to receive a message from an organisation you’re interested in and apply this logic to what you send out. You can also run some tests with email frequencies, but make sure you get feedback to get your timing right.
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