Don’t E-shot yourself in the foot

Quite often I get asked the question what the key things are that work in generating higher response rates in both direct mail and e-mail marketing campaigns.

There is no ‘Holy Grail’ to follow that will guarantee you a response but to ensure you maximise response potential there are certainly some simple snippets of advice I can give for direct communications such as this.

It is actually much easier to show you what not to do.  Please find following an email I received last week.  Read it all the way through, if you can (without laughing), and at the end I will highlight some key elements to take away from this. Please note that the only thing I have changed is the font used!

Subject: Balmain Shoe Store

We aren’t interested in network advertisement, though we are skillful in this way!we believe that the fashion, comfortable, low-cost products is the best advertisement!

We are a network studio which engaged in the brand female shoe sell,established a long-term and stable cooperation relations with many factory!

We feedback our customers with the price which deduct the stock expenses and advertisement cost ,your beauty and satisfaction is our greatest wish!

New store opening,shipping free!Buy more get more free,Christian Louboutin,gucci,chanel,new 2010 style! waiting for your select!beauty from foot!

we welcome you to our website anytime!please visit:   ( )~!

……so there you have it.  Exhibit A (above) is the classic example of how not to conduct an email campaign and to guarantee that you get a zero positive response rate.  I say positive response because I am sure some very annoyed recipients may well have replied!

Tip 1 – Data protection

Although not obvious on this example, this email was cc’d to lots of people with everyone’s email address visible.  This is a massive no no!  The sender, no doubt, received a few angry emails in return for publicly circulating everyone email address!  Schoolboy error number one.

Tip 2 – Target your data (it has to be relevant)

Now I have had to read it a few times but I have come to the conclusion that this a ladies shoe store.  As a 36 year old husband and father of one – I am not really a prime candidate for ladies shoes!  And before anyone says – yes but your wife may be – I am certainly not going to encourage her to spend any more money on shoes than she already does.

Tip 3 – Translation / Grammar

Now either the person who wrote that e-shot was high on drugs or English wasn’t their first language.  If you are going to be sending your e-shot to foreign shores – make sure that the translation is correct.

Otherwise no-one will take you seriously and it will be viewed as a joke!  Even if you are circulating closer to home – make sure you get someone to proof read it for grammatical content.

Nothing can be more embarrassing than an innocent typo – I remember once receiving an email about a new service that was going to generate a lot of ‘pubic interest’.

Tip 4 – Layout

I kid you not when I say the example above was how the email was actually laid out.

It is certainly made worse by the fact that it is gramatically unreadable but separating paragraphs and nice clean spacing makes an email much easier to read, digest and, hopefully, lead to a positive customer response.

A professional image is important and I receive too many e-shots where this is not being held in high enough regard.  An unprofessional looking email = an unprofessional company (in the recipients mind)!

Tip 5 – Content

Ignoring points 1-4, I believe that even if this email had been translated correctly and was targeted effectively with a nice clean layout – it would still have not generated a response.

Why? Because the content is so poor!  It needs to ‘hook’ the recipient in, create a need and then draw them in to action.  It finishes with “visit our website anytime…..”.  This makes me think “Oh, OK.  Nothing immediately important.

I may come and visit it in a few months time then”!  If possible, personalise the email as well and make it as relevant to the reader as possible.

Tip 6 – Track and measure

This was a standard text based email with no link built in to it to take you to a webpage for further information.  Therefore, OK you may be able to track how many people opened it, but nothing more than that.

You need to be able to have measurables within your campaign – whether online or offline.  If you don’t – how do you know whether it has been a success or not?!

Because of this there is a very high possibility that this company are blissfully ignorant about how poor this campaign is.

I shudder to think how many other unlucky recipients are going to receive this email.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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