Direct Email: How You Can Achieve a 53% Higher Return Without Paying for Postage

A common inquiry we hear from our clients is, "We want to make sure our customers think of us when they have a need, but how can we guarantee that? Short of camping out in their office or calling them every day, how can we make sure they keep us in mind later?"

One simple way we recommend is to use direct email, also known as email "blasts."

Just as direct mail presents a simple, actionable idea to a select audience, direct email can easily deliver a quick marketing message to a targeted group of your choice. And unlike physical mail, email blasts can be produced and sent quickly, and they can be tracked more easily than the paper kind.

One important difference between direct email and direct physical mail is that this kind of communication is not meant to tell your prospect all about your company. Rather, a direct email is meant to get you an appointment with them. A good direct email piece will compel your prospect to seek you out for more information. (What could be better than that?)

How does direct email work for you? 

  • Direct email can improve your prospects' experience: it encourages them to learn more about you--at their convenience. And by being respectful of their time, direct email can build good will, which may shorten your time to close the sale.
  • It can increase your return on investment (ROI) by minimizing the cost impact of unsuccessful attempts to reach prospects. Physical mail that is returned can be costly; specifically in terms of printing, postage and handling. But you can resolve bounced-back direct email in a fraction of the time.
  • Direct email allows you to provide a more interesting and dynamic presentation to your clients, demonstrating that you invest in technology and are up-to-date on the latest marketing methods.
  • An added benefit of direct email is that you can quickly and easily track your close ratio as a function of your marketing investment. Knowing how many prospects became clients after receiving direct email quantifies ROI in a way that few marketing efforts can.

Keep in mind that direct email is simple, but not always easy. Here are five pointers to get you started:

  1. Brevity is the soul of wit (and of lingerie). {{William Shakespeare (and Dorothy Parker)}} Remember that this kind of email is not the place to deliver your entire company philosophy. Direct email is the knock on the door that gets you invited inside--so keep your message short and simple.
  2. Simple Simon says, "click here."  Make sure that your email requests a specific action--one which is clear and uncomplicated. Something like, "Click here to learn how ABC Company can solve your delivery problems," requires a simple action and promises a clear payoff that your prospect can realize by clicking.
  3. If you don't ask the right questions, you don't get the right answers. {{Edward Hodnett}} What do you want your audience to get from this experience? Will they learn more about your company's latest product? Or read a great article featuring your CEO? Or are you offering a special promotion they won't want to miss?  Whatever the question, be sure you ask--and answer it--in your direct email.
  4. Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow. {{Aesop}} While the substance of your direct email is critical, remember that it should also look good. An email blast can be simple, but it's also a reflection of your brand and as such, it should adhere to your group's design standards. The appropriate use of your logo, approved fonts and colors goes a long way to demonstrating your stability as a professional partner for your clients.
  5. A nap, my friend, is a brief period of sleep which overtakes...persons when they endeavour to entertain unwelcome visitors... {{George Bernard Shaw}} The point: you don't want to be the unwelcome visitor that causes your prospects to fall asleep, so don't wear out your {{virtual}} welcome by calling too often. Talk to an expert for details, but direct emails are usually sent monthly, quarterly or seasonally.

Direct email can be an efficient way to remind your prospects that you offer products and services that are easy to access, and which can make their lives better. Be sure to work with a partner who can help you make the most of this marketing tool.

Next month, we'll explore the importance of online social networking in your marketing efforts.