Aug 8, 2012

direct marketing: you're doing it wrong

If you're a beginner in direct email campaigns, read the 10 items below to see if you're doing it wrong.

Three important things about this post:

- it addresses rookies

- it refers to cold campaigns
- it speaks mainly about preparation & sending, not about content.

Read below what are the basic mistakes to avoid if you want your emails to catch the eye of the targeted person. The first two are the worst, I'm sort of stating the obvious with them:

#1. Low quality list

A good, up-to-date list is the first major condition of any campaign success at all. Using a not-updated list only means wasted efforts.

#2. Merging all email addresses in TO and BCC fields

Such practice makes you look highly unprofessional and will expose all the respective addresses to further spam.

#3. Non-qualified database

The generic company email [contact@, info@, office@] is usually checked and cleaned by the company's gatekeeper. I mean, you can totally send such emails, but don't expect results if you do. Such results would occur only as exceptions, or in case you're targeting really small companies.

#4. Starting with: To Whom It Might Concern

Sending emails without knowing the targeted decision maker's name & job title translates into random sending. Such address shows that you didn't take the time or that you're not technologically capable to personalize the message.

#5. Non-segmented database

Segmentation plus tailored content will make your audience feel that the message concerns and was written for them, thus increasing the reading rate.

#6. Using direct job addresses without recipients' consent / opt-in

Two words to keep in mind when doing this: blacklisted or (in some countries) sued. If you work in international marketing, check out the EU Law on Unsolicited Communications and this study from Celsius Int'l to learn about B2B Email Marketing Legislation in European countries.

#7. Sending same content to all job titles

Assuming that you're using a segmented database, with multiple contacts per company, don't send the same message to different positions: e.g. you should use a different content structure, arguments and wording for commercial vs. to technical people.

#8. Sending huge attachments

You want to communicate as much as possible about your company and products to the targeted persons, but that's counterproductive during the initial phase. Keep your letter simple & insert download links in your email for in-depth brochures / presentations.

#9. Message Subject designed for Junk

It's well known that the more exclamation marks you use in Subject field, the bigger your chances of success are!!! NOT TO MENTION CAPS LOCK!!!!!

#10. Repeatedly sending the same message to a list

That will reflect badly on your company's image, your email address will end up blocked and probably your domain / IP will get blacklisted.

In order to improve your further actions, make sure to measure the openings / downloads / replies / leads. You can't really learn, avoid mistakes and adapt your next messages if you don't know your metrics. 

Although these are simple, well-known basic rules of e-communication, I keep receiving, every now and then, such emails. The cold direct mailing campaigns have low response rate as it is; don't decrease your chances by making any of the above mistakes.

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