1872 was a difficult year for Aaron Montgomery Ward, an American entrepreneur based in Chicago who owned the Montgomery Ward Company. Due to his business’ inability to hold large inventories, Aaron could not make large enough orders to receive volume discounts from his suppliers, forcing him to charge higher prices to his customers.
Around this time, Montgomery realised that many people living in remote rural locations had trouble reaching his shop situated in the town centre, even though they were ready and willing to purchase. He realised he was missing an opportunity and came up with the idea of creating a catalogue of the items he sold.
He then began sending his catalogues across the city and suburban areas, to attract new customers who could order without visiting the store. He exploited the power of these mail orders and this resulted in a huge success. Direct mail marketing was born.
This story demonstrates the power of direct marketing, which is still considered a fundamental tool of small and big companies all over the world.
Today, the medium has certainly changed. Postal mail has been all but replaced by more convenient emails, paper catalogues became interactive lookbooks, but the core idea remains the same. Communicating directly with the customer works.
How do we know this? One of the advantages of direct marketing is that it is precisely measurable.
It is possible to know exactly the number of emails sent, delivered, opened, the precise number of click through to the landing page and the responses. Therefore, calculating the ROI of a campaign is relatively easy.
Indeed, a study conducted by SeeWhy has discovered that email drives 58.8% of traffic reaching the shopping cart.
Direct email marketing boost your ROI, but your emails have to be effective. Here are some tips to engage your audience and get more sales from email.
1. Personalize Your Messages
There are many ways to personalise your email messages. You could start by calling your clients with their name instead that a general and impersonal Sir/Madam. Moreover you should personalise the emails to focus on the preferences and shopping behaviours of your customers. The most you know about the people you want to reach the better chance you stand at making your communications effective. Understand your customers and use data to personalise the messages.
2. Frequency Of Communication
It’s important to understand how often you should be sending emails to potential customers. It is a delicate balance between being annoying and being forgotten. The rough standard across all e-commerce sectors is currently 2-3 emails per week. If the response rate is low, a reason could be that your frequency is too high or too little. Test and track for best results.
3. Call To Action
Your emails should contain a call to action which provokes an immediate response from the audience. In order to obtain the desired effect, the CTA should be well visible and clearly placed in the email body. The careful use of banners, buttons, or any function such as “call now”, “find out more” or “visit the store” should stimulate the receiver to go ahead and take the next step in the buying process.
4. Optimise Your Mailing list
Your mailing list should be well organised and constantly updated. It can give you useful information about your clients such as age, gender and location. You can use it to personalize your messages (see above) and to build a detailed profile of your customers. A good mailing list that will allow you to reach your customers effectively with higher open and click rates.
5. Check the Data Protection Act
It should be obvious that it’s absolutely essential to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act about Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations before to start your campaign.
6. Use The Latest Tech
Be sure you are using the top technologies on the market to direct the email campaign. They are inexpensive and will make your life much easier. Mailchimp, Pardot, ActiveCampaign and Capterra are the industry favourite packages for running direct email marketing campaigns and measuring results.
Use your email software’s “spam” related functions to understand if the people on your mailing list are actually receiving your messages. If you messages aren’t getting the deliverability you expect, try to understand why and make modifications in order to reduce it. Spammy keywords (e.g. free) in subject lines are a good place to start.
8. Have Quality Content
Include genuinely useful content in your emails to ensure that they are appreciated when received. Moreover, make sure the emails look great, that pictures are in the right dimensions, and that the text is readable and without spelling and grammar mistakes.
9. Improve The Subject Line
The subject line is one of very few variables you can adjust to achieve improved open rates for emails. Try experimenting with subject lines to find out what engages and intrigued your audience.
10. Test, Improve, Repeat
Whether you think you’ve got some good ideas around direct email marketing, or you’re really not sure what will work and what won’t, you should start testing from the very beginning. Consider starting an a/b split test campaign – your software should make this easy.
As well as testing different emails, you can also divide your target audience into different groups according to their characteristic, and you can send different versions of your message to these groups and compare the results.
In conclusion, direct marketing campaigns have been a successful tool for centuries. We hope these tips help you improve your email campaigns and make more conversions.