We’re all familiar with the phrase “cutting through the clutter,” particularly as it applies to direct mail marketing.  But that same mind-set works with your email marketing campaigns, as well.  Think about it, how many promotional emails do you get in a day and how many of those really capture your attention?  And more to the point, how many do you actually respond to?  So, the next time you plan to communicate with your customers via email, pay strict attention to the principals you use for your direct mail campaigns.

Subject Line:  Does the subject line accurately describe your intended message?  Does it make a value proposition?  Think of it like the teaser copy on your carrier envelope.  Chances are, if you don’t capture your audience’s attention with the subject line, your open rate is going to be disappointing.

“From” address: Similar to direct mail, email open rates go up when customers know the sender.  Make sure your company’s name is conspicuously displayed (myname@mycompany.com).

Visual Layout: Is the content (copy and graphics) of your email attention grabbing?  Is it easy for the recipient to peruse and get the essence of your message?  Does your offer stand out and is there a clear call to action?  Again, consistent with your approach to direct mail, your email should follow the same principals for effectiveness – attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA)!

Similar to direct mail, use segmentation to vary the copy and graphics in your emails to keep the message relevant and timely based on the needs of your target audience.  And keep on testing.  In fact, an offer test conducted through email can save you time and money in learning which offer to include in your direct mail communications.  Finally, remember email communications are intended to entice a two-way dialogue.  Make sure you provide an avenue for response - direct customers to a landing page or website and use links for sharing through social media channels, whenever appropriate.

Lastly, keep in mind that email and direct mail still complement one another.  One feeds off the other and results are almost always better when both are employed.  SourceLink recently conducted a direct marketing program for a B2B client using both mail and email to drive small business customers to a microsite to capture business intelligence.  In a head-to-head test, it was interesting to learn that when using mail with an email follow-up, response was 22% higher than simply using email with an email follow-up.