8, 2003 Volume 3 Issue 4
from the other side of the pond
Andy Owen is a DM buddy from the U.K.
He writes lots of good stuff ... this is some of it.
Andy this month looks at how to write effective E-mail, and outlines
significant differences between the techniques required from
that of direct mail.
To begin, please note the super short paragraphs
in his writing ... something I always recommend.
Seems our eyes take in light, content
and then understanding about the same way all over the world.
One way is with short
sentences, short paragraphs.
That’s NOT with this message is about ... I just couldn’t resist
sharing these thoughts again. Now .... here’s Andy on Generating Responses
Using Email MarketingOh dear. Listen to this…
According to recent research I saw the other day, accredited
to some people called IDC, over 36 billion person-to-person
emails will be sent
daily by 2005.
Draft Worldwide’s US Office reckons that in 2004 we will receive an
average of 50 junk e-mails a day.
I think they’re wrong. I think it will be closer to 100…
I get over 50 NOW…!
99.9% of them are garbage. Most are irrelevant, an increasing
amount of them try subterfuge, but virtually all are badly
and we thought direct mail copywriting was bad…!
So, with the certain fatigue that the above predictions will
generate, getting attention and generating responses using
email marketing is
undoubtedly going to get harder…
Email is a wonderful new arrow in the marketer’s quiver. But, as with
all contemporary communication channels, it needs careful thought.
What’s more, it will always benefit from the personal touch of someone
who knows what they are doing.
Contrary to the beliefs of some out there, it is not about
mass. It is, as one of my favourite US colleagues would say…about class.
And you won’t find much of that in your in-box these days…
Some people believe that email can be an inexpensive alternative
compared to direct mail. I don’t believe that, judging by what I see…
For every email that reassures, persuades and influences me
to respond, I must see over 100, that in my eyes, have seriously
damaged their brand
by sending out such rubbish.
These days, with competition at an all time high in most business
sectors, this can be very costly indeed. You rarely get a second
It’s only the same with direct mail, I hear you say. Not so, actually.
Just because I don’t respond to a mailer, doesn’t mean I haven’t
been impressed by the quality of the approach and the brand message.
I will have been ‘softened up’ for the next time…
So, if you are looking to run an effective email campaign in
the near future, here are a few tips that might help. These
apply to both text
and html emails.
A screen relationship is much more intimate than a letterbox.
We all feel very differently about our email boxes than our
It’s a more personal space. So, we have to tread a little more carefully,
whilst always recognising that our message has to sell.
A lot of the proven techniques for writing effective direct
mail copy apply to emails as well. Benefits not features, AIDA
As with direct mail, it’s all about the recipient not the writer - and
benefit is king.
You should use the words "you," "your" and "yours" as
often as you can.
But, there are significant differences too…
Long copy still out pulls short copy in head to head direct
mail tests, but with emails it is necessary to keep it short.
Especially with your
Ideally use two or three short paragraphs. Indented is working
best at the moment.
The object should be to influence the recipient to request
further information via a hyperlink, visit to a website or
a follow-up email message.
When they respond, you can then use that ‘warmth’ you have generated
to sell yourself just a little bit more…
softly catchee monkey, remember?
Don’t use those proven direct mail words like Free, Win, Guaranteed,
Introducing, Cheap, Save, New, ££££’s and others
like them. Avoid exclamation marks like the plague. And ALL CAPS in the ‘Subject’ line
will almost certainly result in your message being deleted instantly.
In his superb book on email marketing, Aussie mate Malcolm
“The key to getting your e-mail opened can be described in one word
Without trust your recipient won’t open your e-mail. They’ll trust
you if they know who you are and understand why you are contacting them.
If what you type in the two fields of the heading, ‘From’ and ‘Subject’,
don’t engender trust, you’ll get deleted as quick as blinking”
He’s so right. I don’t know anyone these days that opens an email
attachment if they don’t know or trust the sender. It is so dangerous
and can have a huge amount of very unpleasant implications.
Writing a ‘Subject’ line is regarded by some to be pretty much
the same as writing headlines for direct mail letters, envelopes, or off the
I personally think it is much harder than writing
headlines for direct mail.
Mainly because at the moment of message delivery – that vital 2-8 seconds
- the recipient evaluates your promotional message purely by the ‘subject’ line
and the ‘from’ box.
Whilst, of course, that same recipient is looking
at a screen with, on average, over 20 ‘one line’ messages. Most of which are total
At least with direct mail, the recipient can see,
touch and be involved with the elements of the dm
pack. The P.S. can be viewed, the pack contents
speedily evaluated and the writer identified.
With email messages you don’t enjoy that level of attention. So, in
my view, it’s much harder. The subject line HAS to grab.
There MUST be relevance in there. And it’s VITAL that it contains a
And you only have a maximum of 35 characters to play
As I mentioned in my previous Copycat article on headlines;
“On average, five times as many people will read the
headline of your ad and letter, than will read the body copy. Therefore
that the winning idea, the proposition, must
be in the headline, not in the copy. If it's not, there will be
no selling proposition to 80% of your audience.”
It has been proven through testing that if
you can incorporate the recipient’s
name in the ‘Subject’ line, response will go up. The reason is
simple - people enjoy reading their own name – and they’ll spot
their name before they see the rest of the copy.
Try to keep the subject line under 35 characters,
or your headline may not be displayed in
full. Keep your line length to 60
characters tops otherwise your copy will
suffer from ‘word wrap’, resulting in a messy layout,
which most won’t bother with.
Serif typefaces are best. They enjoy far
higher screen comprehension than sans serif.
Remember, every little bit helps….
There’s a very irritating trend at the moment of people who trick you
into opening their e-mail. I dislike them with a passion, don’t you?
Who are these bozos anyway?
Don’t they realize that using a scam to get you to open their e-mail
is going to result in you hating them and never doing business with them again?
What’s more, of course, it sends out a strong message that these people
are dishonest and not to be trusted.
Here is an email I received recently:
Resorting to trickery NEVER works. The subject
line demands I open this.
When I do, I find it refers to a Mortgage
offer. Unfortunately, this kind of nonsense
is on the increase.
I hate them and will never do business with
them now or in the future – whoever
they are, CustomerService50250…
Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Andy has all sorts of ways to reach him ...
here is his collection; The company’s corporate website is www.andyowen.co.uk.
The specialist copy division has its own site at www.copywritingthatsells.com.
Andy can also be contacted on 0044 121 778 6640, or by E-mail personally
"It IS What's Next!"
It's become known as "the story".
I've shared it with a number of health care organizations, a database
marketing business, a direct marketing firm, a publishing organization,
a DM association
- and several others. And I'm ready to bring it to your group. (Visit
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Interested? Visit the web site @ It IS What's
And E-mail me Ray@RayJutkins.com
and let's make it happen. I look forward to hearing from you. Soon.
. . . a loose thought
The 10 Commandments of Bureaucracy
All of us, including me, have complained about government or big business
A friend shared this list ... EnJoy!
Point #1. Preserve thyself.
Point #2. It is easier to fix the blame than to fix the problem.
Point #3. A penny saved is an oversight.
Point #4. Information deteriorates upward.
Point #5. The first 90% of the task leaves 10% of the time; the last
10% takes the other 90%.
Point #6. Experience: what you get just after you need it.
Point #7. For any given large, complex, hard to understand, expensive
problem, there exists at least one short, simple, easy and
cheap wrong answer.
Point #8. Anything that can be changed will be changed, until times runs
Point #9. To err is human; to shrug is civil service.
Point #10. There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s
to do it over.
... another Idea
New business friend Gerry Sacks of Houston, Texas sent me here. It turns out
this leading information
resource from the financial world offers a
collection of marketing & sales ideas. Still, no matter your business, you
will find good material here. Offered by 80+ experts (including me!)
... visit ProducersWEB.com
New challenges are just that - a challenge.
Especially with “new” activities, there is a feeling of uncertainty.
And sometimes a feeling of wanting to be “perfect”. That thought
leads to this from Anonymous.
“He who waits to do a great deal of good at once
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection
from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/.
There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
Magic Marketing Minutes
What Happens to Your Direct Mail?
What do most people do when they look at their mail? All of their mail? Not
Direct Mail, but all of their mail? Research indicates this
is what happens:
1. They open it immediately. It's important. It's urgent. It's
interesting. Something about it gets their attention
immediately and they open it at once.
2. Or, they put it in the stack to read nights and
weekends. It's interesting but it's not important.
It can wait. And how many of us are caught up
with our night and weekend reading stack?
3. They route it to somebody else. They circulate
it to another. They pass it on. It's not
for them - it's for somebody else. And
both at home
as well as in the office.
4. They round file it. They toss it. They
trash it. The waste basket.
The bin. They throw it away.
And, what's most interesting is
that one of these 4 actions:
to read it, or stack it, or route it, or toss
it takes place
in just 2
or 3 seconds
per piece of mail.
What does this say to you?
It says your
Direct Mail better be good ... it better be interesting!
Speaking of Speaking
Almost forever ago I met Lilly Walters.
She reminds me it was in South Africa. If YOU are interested in ways to
enhance your speaking skills, and how to be a terrific presenter at your next
meeting ... or want to look at the world of paid professional speaking - Lilly
Walters can help.
She is the author of four best selling books on the subject. And Lilly has an
interesting website, too:
Drop in and visit. And tell Lilly "Ray sent me".