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February 26, 2008

Efficient mailing on the basis of the essential principles of e-mail marketing – part I

The Internet user’s mailbox is every day full of mail. Much of this mail is unsolicited and treated as spam, which together with viruses is a problem of today’s Internet. That is why it is crucial to create such a message that would interest the recipient and would not be treated at the very beginning as junk mail. Preparing a professionally looking email is only half the battle and it would be of any worth if it is directed randomly without taking into consideration market segmentation.

A crucial element of the mailing campaign is the appropriate selection of recipients, bearing in mind their preferences and interests! Only sending emails to groups of recipients who have previously given their assent, makes sense and allows to achieve the intended goals. The mailing list plays an important role in business. It constitutes not only the list of email addresses, but it is also a powerful tool in marketers’ hands, a tool which allows to gain new clients and to keep old ones.

A professionally prepared website from which email recipients could gain additional information on the marketing news sent, as well as take appropriate actions, such as buying the product or booking the service, is needed in order to launch the mailing campaign.

The principles of writing effective e-marketing messages

The email content is vital, but this constitutes only an element of the efficient letter. The information about email sender, in other words, what is written in the field ‘From:’ is the most important element on the basis of which the recipient decides whether to read the message or not. It is, therefore, advisable to determine once, for instance John Smith Company X, and not to change that field.

The field ‘From:’ has to identify the email sender unambiguously. The name John Smith may stand for the group of people who send newsletters from your company and John Smith himself can be the newsletter’s coordinator or the author. Mailing readers place more confidence in a person than in a company or a branch’s name seen in the sender data. The possibility of easily determining the person responsible for mailing from your company helps the clients build their confidence. It is also important to set up a personal email account (or an alias) for sending bulletins. It is better to use john.smith@yourcompany.pl than newsletter@yourcompany.pl.

The field ‘To:’, i.e. a primary addressee, is another important element of the email. To place a list of recipients’ addresses in the field ‘CC:’ (where every recipient can see other clients’ addresses) or ‘BCC:’ (the addressee sees the text Undisclosed-Recipient) is unacceptable among inexperienced marketers. Every recipient of mailing would like to be treated individually and therefore it is advisable to personalize the field ‘To:’ by placing the addressee’s name (or company’s name) there, or at least his/her email address.

The field ‘Subject:’ is also a significant element of the email, which decides whether the email is read or not. What one writes here influences the addressee’s decision to read or delete the email straight away. Therefore, the Subject must be short and encourage reading.

The subject advertises the remaining part of the email (it is a counterpart of newspaper headlines) and should raise curiosity, intrigue, pinpoint the benefits for the client, provoke to action or even shock!

It must be remembered that the subject should be connected to the content of the email. It is also advisable to put oneself into a client’s position before writing the subject and think about whether it interests us. In some cases it is possible to personalize the subject, but only when it would not be odd, e.g. John does not have to return 1% of tax…).

The subject should be short (maximum 50 characters) and contain the most important words at the beginning due to the fact that email programs display only the initial fragment. What is more, long subjects prove that a person does not have the ability to create the precise goal of the message. One should not use exclamation marks, great number of space and words (this concerns also the message itself) such as promotion, for free, bargain in the subject because most anti-spam filters when finding those words immediately mark the email as spam.

Only when the subject and personal data analysis of the sender persuades the recipient to read the remaining part of the message, the content appears. The first paragraph is the most significant and should draw the reader’s attention. This paragraph should be like the headline in the news, which arouses curiosity, and similar to the subject, makes the recipient read the remaining part. The advertisement’s success hinges in 80 % on the headline.

It is advisable for the author to put oneself in the reader’s position and answer three elementary questions before writing the message: ‘So what?’, ‘Why should I care?’ and ‘What I will get from it?’ Answering those questions will help the author prepare a persuasive email.

In the process of writing, the message should always be directed to one person only, as if he/she were the sole addressee. One should not address in plural unless the message is directed for instance to the Marketing Department of a given company. The email has to contain the expressions ‘Mr’ or ‘you’. The content can be personalized by putting in a personalization field like Name, Surname, and the Post etc. Some programs allow to decline names and to insert information depending on the addressee’s feature. Thanks to that procedure, some recipients may think that the email was sent to them only. Moreover, the number of visits of the website from the emails with personalized content rises even by about 650 % [according to HMO3], because recipients to whom we first-name feel related to the sender.

It is also advisable to make use of information about the clients, which is gathered in the database and the message’s content is adjusted on its basis. If companies’ directors are the addressees, the mailing has to be prepared in a way they would like to receive it.

The email should excite and influence all senses. It is needed to explain why the recipient should take a particular action and how he/she can benefit from it.

Author:  This article was translated by mLingua Worldwide Translations, Ltd. mLingua provides professional language translations in all major Western and Asian languages, software localization and web site translation services. Please visit http://mlingua.pl

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