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The Equilibrium of anything has always been something that intrigued me. Equilibrium is the condition of a system in which competing influences are balanced. Print media and digital media have come of age, if I can call it that, and are definitely equally important for advertising, the one complimenting the other.

Even though we do mailshots for many of our clients, I tend to unsubscribe from a lot of advertising not out of principle, but out of it being boring and just another mailer in the seen-one-seen-all category.

Why do companies spend thousands on a magazine advertisement or billboard and not even give thought to the design of their mailers? Just as you will see advertising on billboards and street poles as a by-product of driving, you will receive e-mails as a by-product for having e-mail. Laws have been implemented and we don’t get spam as much anymore, but we still get advertising that from time to time seem no different. 

I personally believe that if we spent half the energy we spend on a normal (traditional) advertising campaign on our e-mail campaigns, we would actually get more subscribers and have these advertisements send on between friends - think of all the "priceless" MasterCard video clips being e-mailed around as just one example.

Where do we go wrong? Why are most campaigns so unsuccessful? In my opinion we are still missing the basics. I think the approach should be different from the most common mail shot approach of:

  • Generate customer database,
  • Generate e-mail message to send,
  • Send e-mail to everyone and hope for high responses and low unsubscribes.

To a better, more focused method:

  • Think about your message

What do you want to convey? For a good example, let’s say you launch a new product and need to get the word out. Always think about your customers and who would be most interested.  Then make the e-mail more direct to those who will use the new product. Those clients that recently bought from you just before the launch might be upset that you did not tell them to wait a week or two and it may be better to keep them off the list. A smaller mailshot with great response is better than a huge, unfocused one with almost no response.

  • Think about your mailing list

This is a one shot deal - with each e-mail you have one opportunity to reach a customer and you risk the dreaded "unsubscribe me" and loosing all future opportunity for marketing to this customer, as you will be legally obligated to stop sending them the cheapest, most effective form of advertising communication. So now we realise that there is a lot at stake. Please unsubscribe me is the very last thing we want, but we can be sure of it if we send out an e-mail without thinking about what we are doing.

The best way to prevent this is to intrigue the mind and not let the customers feel that we are just selling them another product; we need provide value and useful information. Add a relevant article to the mail to make it different.

  • When to do what

With all of this information in mind, consider the mailing lists and when to do what: certain clients, certain mails. You should really consider sending your well-established clients different e-mails even if you have a great promotion, as you already have a relationship with some clients they must not feel that you are just sending them “spam”. So for those individual mails, give it a personal touch.

There’s a saying of putting yourself in someone’s boots, and do that before you mail. If you know you will not forward that mail to your best friends, do not send it to your clients. Talk to us if you need any more information.

Just a final thought: Effective mass mailing takes planning, and could be the best or worst thing to compliment your printed campaigns.