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The Lowdown

Sending an Effective Mailshot

Emails that are designed to look good, otherwise known as mailshots, can be tricky to say the least.

Sure, there are lots of marketing decisions to be made. What will this mailshot be publicising? Should I include lots of information, or just a little to entice readers to click through and read more on a website? A mysterious subject line, or a description that spells it all out?

Then, there is the design to consider. There are some different schools of thought when it comes to designing mailshots; some designers recommend a simple, no-frills layout that is little more than a specialised text email. Others will go all out with layouts designed to mirror their website counterparts.

Lastly, there is the case of sending the mailshot out. Building a database of contacts can be a time-consuming process, not least because it relies on contacts volunteering to receive information. Vying for a customer’s attention among all the other emails and spam they receive leaves very little margin for error.

Avoiding spam filters

Spam filters are also becoming more intelligent, and a dizzying number of factors come into play which decide if your mailshot will ever reach your intended recipient. These include, but are not limited to:

Use of certain phrases and words - this is a bit of a black art, but there are some common phrases such as ‘As seen on’, ‘Order status’ , ‘Save money’, ‘Subject to credit’ and so on that might mark an email as spam.

Capital letters - Typing in capital letters is bad, and often results in messages being blocked by spam filters.

The text content of your message - In general, fewer words versus more images means the email is more likely to be flagged as spam.

Maximising mailshot potential

One more consideration to sending your mailshot is when. Accepted wisdom is that there are times of the day and week when a mailshot will perform well, and times when they will bomb. For example, Monday morning is a time many use to tidy their inbox for the week, erasing any emails that came in over the weekend - sending emails then means there’s a high likelihood of them being deleted without being read, even if the recipient would otherwise usually be interested in the subject…

Mailshot Expectations

Sending mailshots out is tricky business indeed. Even if you negotiate what is a minefield of spam triggers and phrases, read receipt rates for mailshots can be surprising. In general, regardless of sector, mailshots are expected to be opened by around 20-40% of recipients.

While this may seem disparaging on first glance, mailshots have an edge that other marketing techniques - online or otherwise - can lack. For example, 20% of 100 contacts means on 20 people opened the email… but 20% of 10,000 contacts would mean 2000 people opened it - the same success rate, but on a larger scale. And while we wouldn’t recommend a ‘scattergun’ approach to getting your message out, there’s no downside to making sure your database is as healthy is possible.

Contact Source today for more advice on getting the best results from your mailshot campaign.

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