Direct emails aren’t dead – they’ve just become a bit different. In the age of Gmail’s spam filters, people can’t send out massive email blasts the way they used to. Direct email has become much more focused on sending the right email to the right person. Instead of using dynamite, you are shooting targets in the sky.

What does this mean for sending out emails? First, you want to be as specific as possible. When you ask for an email address on your website, make sure that it is tied to particular interests. Next, focus on sending out a customized email that targets those needs. Good direct email software can be customized to send out very specific email distributions, so that each email is composed especially for certain groups. If someone highlights certain key interest fields, then the paragraphs associated with those interests are attached to the email and other parts that someone doesn’t care about are left out. This degree of customization allows the sender to individualize the message, ensuring that the emails aren’t considered spam.

Direct email is about communication

Another change in the way people treat direct email is that it is becoming more of a two-way street. Good direct-email software records when people click on something in an email by storing the information that is sent when someone accesses a link. Through that, the marketing software can figure out what someone wants, and this info can be held for future reference for further customization. If someone clicks on one piece of information, then later an email for that can be sent to the potential customer. This makes email a conversation instead of just a “blast.”

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Focus on the words and pictures

Direct email should be engaging. According to consulting group Wellstone, direct email has three audiences, grouped by the amount of time spent on the reading: 3-4 second readers, 10-20 second readers and people who read the entire piece. Each of your emails should be designed to be read at a comfortable level for any of those degrees of attention. Pictures should command attention and highlight features or news. Headlines should pop out and provoke interest. And the copy should be very good.

Al Lautensager, of Entrepreneur magazine, recommends that companies hire people to write their copy for them. This is another way of saying that the email should be well written and interesting. Avoid stories with too many buzz words or exaggerated claims. Writing should be short and to the point. It should look and sound professional, and inspire people to take the next step by clicking on something or following another call to action. Remember that your emails are conversation starters designed to whet appetites and inform readers about news. They are not exhaustive deposits of information.

As such, the news you give readers should be advertisement orientated – with many reasons for why someone should buy something, along with the benefits of a product versus the weak points of competitors, plus highlighted clients. Because you are using top-tier software, your emails will be customized for each reader. Capitalize on this by making each paragraph tie to a separate product, enabling people to get short, easy-to-read bits of exactly what they want to know.

Reaching Gen X and Gen Y

QuantumDigital, of Business​ 2 Community, cited that Gen X and Gen Y are both different groups with different expectations from email marketing. Gen X is naturally skeptical and tends to do a lot of research. You can capitalize on this by providing informative emails with very little marketing language. Focus on provable facts and link to stories that Gen X readers can follow for themselves, allowing them to see information about your product made by third parties, such as websites that specialize in testing and comparing products. Gen X will appreciate honesty in marketing. Consider letting your customers use a free trial to test out the product, giving them the chance to see if they like it.

Although Gen Y also grew up in a period of expansion followed by a recession, and as such shares Gen X’s pessimism about advertisements, this generation in contrast has grown up with social media. Although Gen Y is just beginning to enter the entrepreneurial world, it would be incorrect to think there isn’t a market for young twenty-somethings who are looking for affordable solutions to their business needs.

Remember that Gen Y will want to connect with your company using social media, so include Twitter and Facebook accounts in your emails to make it easy for businesses to connect with your company in this way.

Additionally, Gen Y is wary of products that try to seem “cool” by making cultural references. As such, avoid making any references to things that might not last in popularity. Many trends are short lived, so it would be best to avoid trying to sound hip. Gen Y will appreciate a more direct, honest marketing approach, highlighting the benefits a business will get from a certain product or service.

  • Download the eBook

    Top 10 Online Marketing Trends for 2016

    Where are you spending your marketing budget in 2016? It’s that time again to budget for the coming marketing year. Have you made all the right choices? Download the new eBook “Top 10 Online Marketing Trends for 2016” and compare your plan against what the rest of the industry is doing.
    Download the eBook