5 paths to success with your EDMs

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Electronic Direct Marketing isn't science but it isn't random either. The five rules described in the following article should give you sufficient understanding to increase exponentially your EDM results.

If you are planning on sending EDMs (Electronic Direct Marketing) to customers and prospects, you can't just collect emails and spam people, hoping for more sales.

EDMs have very specific rules you must follow to expect positive ROI (Return On Investment).

Following the coming five rules should save you lots of future headaches and disappointment.

 JulienRio.com: 5 rules to success with your EDMs

Precise targeting

You have a list of 5,000 emails you "found" online. You might have purchased a list of 20,000 emails from some online agency promising you wealth and happiness. And you are now ready to fire!

Take a step back before doing something you might regret.

When it comes to EDMs, the idea definitely isn't to fire in all directions hoping to catch some business. The grenade-fishing approach might work great for professional spammers but isn't exactly recommended for official businesses.

Start with the basics: WHY are you sending an EDM? What is your goal? What is your target? If you plan on targeting several industries, or fairs, or types of customers, you should be sending different EDMs.

 JulienRio.com: 5 rules to success with your EDMs

one EDM = one customer segment = one purpose

Once you have defined what it is you wish to achieve and who you plan on sending this EDM to, make sure your email list strictly corresponds to your goal.

Don't take the wrong approach: thinking "I've better send it to more people, some of them might take the bait" is always wrong. You end up being blacklisted and your strategy backfires.


Quality of email lists

How did you collect the email addresses you are about to use?

 JulienRio.com: 5 rules to success with your EDMs

The quality of your email list is vital to the success of your campaign. If you purchased a list for a very cheap price from some opaque provider chances are high that your list is of poor quality. 

The best way remains to use your own emails lists (people who subscribed on your website) or lists purchased from trusted companies that can provide you with detailed information: age of the email collection, type of industry, company name, etc.

Try to identify your EDMs and separate internal (to your own users) from external (unsolicited emails to third parties) as the results of these campaigns will be quite different.


Sending time

When do you send out EDMs?

 JulienRio.com: 5 rules to success with your EDMs

Based on your target (defined in step 1), there might be different optimal times to send. Some online studies will show you, by country, the best time for sending EDMs but the truth is that it really depends on your target and content. You will have to send a few EDMs at various times to see what works best. Is it 8am on a Monday or 6pm on a Friday? Should you send emails during the weekend?

Another essential aspect to take into consideration is the time BEFORE the event. Let's say you want to send an EDM for people participating in some fair: should you send your EDM two days before the fair? Two weeks?

Good practice is to send a first EDM two to three months before the event and repeat it one month to a couple of weeks before the fair.

Timing your sending efficiently will greatly impact your results, so consider it carefully.


Proper tracking of conversions

You don't send your sales out without purpose; don't send EDMs without a goal.

 JulienRio.com: 5 rules to success with your EDMs

Pure branding EDMs are usually both inefficient and impossible to track. All your EDMs should have a stand-out CTA (Call To Action) and lead to something that can be tracked.

Usually I would encourage people to use registration forms (Google Form is free and well thought) as it helps collecting data while converting prospects, but you could also go with download buttons or any type of action that can easily be recorded.

Once your EDM campaign over, you should be able to compare your goal (i.e. 100 registrations) with your actual results to evaluate the success of your efforts.


Analysis and decisions

Ok, your campaign is over: good job!

Should you reiterate it next time? Was it a success? Was it worth the effort?

 JulienRio.com: 5 rules to success with your EDMs

There are several variables you should be looking at to evaluate the success of a campaign:

  • your initial goal VS achievement
  • the money you spent VS conversions
  • the time you spent VS conversions

I have prepared a simple chart that will help you evaluating the success of each campaign and, based on past records, help you estimate the potential success of your future campaigns to make more informed decisions.

This chart is (as usual) totally free and easy to use. Just fill-in the following details for each of your campaigns (most of which will be provided by your EDM provider in a follow-up report):

  • EDM name - simply for future reference
  • DB Type - are you sending it to your users (Internal) or some lists you collected elsewhere (External)
  • Sending date - for reference
  • Emails - how many emails were in your list
  • Opened - how many of these email have been opened (use the Unique Open information)
  • Clicked - how many emails have been clicked (use the Unique Click information)
  • Registered - how many people have registered (see step 4)
  • Time spent - how many hours spent to develop the content, the design, collect the emails, etc.
  • Money spent - how much money have you spent to send that email out
All the other columns will be automatically filled, giving you interesting insights about the general success of your campaigns.

For each new EDM you send, fill a row of this form. Once accumulated, it will give you reliable data you can use to plan your next EDMs.

The next section, "Should I send my next EDM" helps you predict future results based on your past experience. Simply indicate how many emails you have collected and what is your expectation in terms of registrations and the system will tell you whether you should invest in building this EDM or not.

This nice monitoring template is available HERE for free download. Do not hesitate sharing it around and leaving comments below if you found it useful!

I wish you the best with your next EDM campaigns and invite you to read "How to build a successful newsletter" if you want to extend your emailing strategy.


Julien Rio.


Last update: 2024-07-10 Tags:

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Do you need help with your marketing strategy or its execution? If you want someone to implement all the tips you just read, contact me and let's discuss it together!


Julien Rio Digital Marketing