Everything You Need To Know About Direct Email Marketing

Everything You Need To Know About Direct Email Marketing
23 July, 2022 • ... • 855 views
Eunice Laguesma
by Eunice Laguesma

Everyone is dependent on technology and the internet for information. With that, brands are also shifting and focusing more on digital forms of marketing. Gone are the days of fliers and mailed booklets — we now live in the era of digital advertising.

This is where direct email marketing steps in. This method of marketing aims to establish improved customer relations and, in turn, a better business for your company by delivering more personalized emails directly to potential clients.

What is direct email marketing?

Direct email marketing is the process of directly sending campaigns to prospective clients. The main goal of this approach is not only to boost revenue and brand recognition but also to improve relations with new and existing customers.

Direct email marketing can sometimes be confused with other marketing strategies since it involves promoting products and services to potential clients.

However, it varies from other marketing strategies through using highly personalized advertisements as well as the direct promotion of services to targeted clusters of customers who are most likely to use these products.

Main goals of direct email marketing

The end goal of direct email marketing is to ultimately generate more leads for your company and increase sales. However, direct email marketing additionally hopes to:

  1. Establish a more personal relationship with customers

Most promotional emails nowadays make use of generic gimmicks that don’t necessarily have the customer’s interests at heart. However, direct email marketing bridges this gap by offering personalized content that caters to consumers’ likes and dislikes. 

This not only succeeds in grabbing the attention of recipients better, it also exudes a more intimate and personal tone thus strengthening the bond between you and your clients.

Promotional email with personalized picks for recipient
Source: Really Good Emails
  1. Monitor feedback from customers

Aside from highlighting the most essential parts and services your company offers, these emails also offer you a new way to monitor your impact and performance.

Depending on how you use them, they can offer you insight into which products and services are the most marketable. It can also open up avenues for you to receive other forms of feedback from your customers whether directly or indirectly.

Improvement survey email from Ritual
Source: Really Good Emails
  1. Create an improved email marketing system

Ultimately, the use of a direct email marketing strategy can open up opportunities to optimize your pre-existing marketing system. 

This can be done by coming up with more creative ways to highlight your company’s products and services. You can also find new ways to segment your mailing lists to establish more targeted campaigns. 

Take this example from Barnes & Noble:

Welcome email from Barnes&Noble with generic product suggestions
Source: Really Good Emails

Upon sign-up, they send a generic one-size-fits-all promotional email with their available products to their subscribers. While this may be great for exposure, it can be a hit-or-miss due to the lack of information for personalization.

However, as customer engagement and additional information is gathered, they can understand their audience better and send them more relevant emails:

Special offer email with personalized suggestions from Barnes & Noble
Source: Really Good Emails

In turn, this can potentially cause an increase in value, recognition, as well as sales.

Stages of direct email marketing

The process of direct email marketing is not a one-and-done deal. It is more like a journey that you take with your consumers. It is a relationship that you build over time marked by several stages.

Building a contact list

Constructing a contact list is kind of like the introduction stage of the relationship. As a company, this means establishing an audience by generating a list of people to send promotional emails to. It is crucial that all recipients have explicitly indicated consent to receiving emails.

Getting consent is the most essential part of keeping your email from getting trapped in the spam folder. 

Aside from that, sending emails without consent can be subject to legal consequences and can severely affect deliverability.

You can get people to sign up for your emails in a number of different ways.

  • Sign-up forms placed on your website
  • Offering perks and promotional discounts upon sign-ups
  • Pop-up windows
  • Squeeze pages
  • and a lot more

The more people see your brand and its message, the better. For more information, check out our guide on how to build an email list.

Developing an email marketing strategy

For you to successfully get your brand across, you need to establish how you’re going to approach the whole campaign. This can be done by developing an effective email marketing strategy.

  1. First things first, you need to establish your end goal for the whole campaign. Do you want to generate more sales? Do you want to highlight a certain product? Do you want to increase your audience?
  2. Next, you want to establish who you want to send this campaign to by segregating your audience and segmenting your mailing lists. By narrowing your audience down to specific categories, you can construct better emails that resonate with them more.
  3. Afterward, you can move forward with choosing what type of email you want to construct and making the email itself. To help you with that, you must choose the right email marketing tool so you can go about it in the right and most effective way.
  4. Several marketing tools, such as the ones provided at Selzy, also come with monitoring features that can let you keep a close eye on the overall impact of your campaigns.

Still need help? Check out our article on effective email marketing strategies and tips for successful campaigns to learn more about developing the perfect strategy for you and your company.

Creating a special offer

You can create a special offer that comes with your campaigns. 

Nothing truly grabs the attention of customers than the idea of getting a great deal. In addition to increasing the overall appeal and outward quality of the message,  it also increases the number of potential sales.

Constructing and promoting special offers that are only available by joining your email community can also boost the number of subscribers you have.

Subscription welcome email from Elysium
Source: Really Good Emails

You can also use special offers on emails sent for special occasions such as holidays or birthdays.

Birthday greeting email from Nike with promo code
Source: Really Good Emails


The culmination of the whole experience is the creation of a mutually beneficial relationship through sales. 

Ultimately, the end goal of your whole campaign is not just to generate attention and recognition for your brand and its services but to create income and sales for your company.

However, achieving a single sale is not the end. You need to continue to work at constructing and making your campaigns more effective to reach sales again and again as many times as you can.

How to measure the performance

Because direct email marketing often offers several opportunities for customers to interact with your email and, therefore, your brand, measuring its success and performance can be done with relative ease. Usually, this is done by monitoring the following metrics:

Open rate

Open rate, from the name itself, is the rate at which your emails get opened. This can be computed with the following formula:

(Number of emails read/Total number of emails sent) x 100 = Open rate (%)

Example: (20 emails read/ 135 emails sent) x 100 = 14.81% open rate

The greater the open rate, the stronger the campaign. This makes open rate a great gauge of the performance of your direct email marketing campaign. 

As of 2021, the average open rate across all industries is around 19% so anything around or above that number is great for your campaign.

A great way to boost open rates is by writing effective subject lines that really grab the attention and interest of your potential reader. To learn more on how to do that, read these tips on writing catchy email lines to boost your open rates.

Click-through rate

Email campaigns often come with calls to action. The click-through rate refers to the proportion of people who respond to your email by clicking on attached links. The click-through rate can be computed with the following formula:

(Number of clicks/Total number of emails sent x 100) = Click-through rate (%)

Example: (10 clicks/135 emails sent) x 1007.4% click-through rate

It’s not enough to get people to just open your email, you need to get them to interact with it, too. The greater the click-through rate, the more effective your campaign is.

Based on our analysis, the average CTR lies between 1.70% to 2.62% across various email service providers.

One method of increasing the click-through rate is to ensure that your email has engaging content and a definite call to action (CTA).

Best direct email marketing examples

To help you get a better idea of what effective direct email marketing looks like, take a look at these examples.

  1. Evergreen Juices

Subject: You’re in! Let’s get to know each other

Welcome email with promo code from Evergreen
Source: Really Good Emails

While it may seem like an ordinary welcome email, this welcome email from Evergreen Juices is a terrific example of how you can start off your relationship with clients.

Not only does it have a touch of personalization by addressing the recipient by name, it also comes with an enticing offer of 15% off on their first order. 

The promotional discount increases the chances of engagement or purchases from the recipient. In turn, this gives you information regarding the recipient’s likes and dislikes allowing you to better categorize them or personalize the information sent to them in the future.

  1. Alex Mill

Subject: Get them for 15% Off!

Promo email with a discount from Alex Mill
Promo email with a discount from Alex Mil

This example from Alex Mill appears to be a simple abandoned cart item or product check-out suggestion based on the recipient’s likes and behavior on the website. 

It presents an item that the recipient has previously expressed interest in while sweetening the deal by offering a 15% discount that the recipient can avail of by simply clicking on the link in the email – a call to action to initiate potential sales.

Again, the subject line immediately draws attention by offering the discount right off the bat.

  1. Chipotle

Subject: Way to Chipotle, you earned a reward

Reward notification email from Chipotle
Source: Really Good Emails

This type of direct email marketing campaign simply rewards consistent and loyal customers and encourages their continued business by offering promotional freebies.

Here, Chipotle awards the email’s recipient for his or her continued patronage through their rewards services while providing a call to action by letting the recipients check what they’ve gotten or initiate a sale by letting them avail it immediately.

  1. Noom

Subject: Come back to get your Custom Plan for up to 90% Off

Win-back email with promo from Noom
Source: Really Good Emails

Direct email marketing can also be used to reignite interest from your more dormant clients.

In the email above, Noom attempts to get a contact list composed of formerly active customers to purchase a custom plan by offering a promotional deal with a 90% discount. 

This email also comes with a call to action that encourages recipients to avail of the discount by clicking a link on the email or entering a code on their next purchase.

Pros and cons of direct email marketing

Direct email marketing isn’t without its challenges. Given that, this strategy will not suit the needs of all companies. However, it does offer unique benefits that cannot be found in other forms of marketing strategies. 

👍 Pros

  • Enables you to target a specific audience

This marketing strategy allows you to focus on a certain email list at a time, save valuable time and effort and focus on the needs of a single group at a time.

As a result, emails sent through this type of marketing can often feel a bit more personal and can boost your overall relationship with your clients which can be essential to boosting potential sales.

  • Allows you to provide specific, detailed information regarding products and services

This ties in with the first thing on this list. Because you are only focusing on the needs and likes of a single email list at a time, you can personalize your email and provide more detailed information on services and products that you feel would benefit them or interest them the most.

  • Cost-effective (with the right set of tools)

Direct email marketing might take a little bit more effort but it will save you a lot more time and resources in the long run. In fact, return on investment (ROI) can be as high as $36 for every $1 you put in.

By personalizing and targeting your emails, you save precious time and resources by advertising your products to an audience who could really use them as opposed to sending a generic email to a broad, potentially uninterested audience. 

In fact, 72% of customers exclusively interact with emails that cater to their interests while 42% react negatively when emails do not take their interests into consideration.

Plus, with the right set of tools (like the ones Selzy offers), achieving all of this can be a breeze.

  • Ease in monitoring

Monitoring the effectiveness and performance of your email campaign is much easier with direct email marketing because of the focus on the open rate and click-through rate metrics. 

Plus, if you have the right set of tools, you can easily integrate various aspects such as website sales and other advanced metrics to help you evaluate your campaign’s performance better. 

In addition to those metrics, you can also monitor the performance of your campaigns through the provided promos or discount codes.

👎 Cons

  • Can be costly

One downside to direct email marketing is that it can cost quite a bit because it means you have to busy yourself with one more marketing channel.

Aside from the cost incurred through acquiring the necessary tools to successfully do the job, offering promotional discounts can also mean additional costs in the form of cut profits on certain products and sales.

  • Low overall response rate

Despite using extremely targeted email lists and containing high-quality information, response rates or customer interaction can still be quite low for certain campaigns. This can be caused by various reasons such as your email getting miscategorized as spam, failing to grab your recipients’ interest, etc.

Final thoughts

Direct email marketing is one of the most effective strategies you can use in email marketing.

Just keep in mind to always:

  • Create segmented mailing lists
  • Construct well-thought-out effective strategies 
  • Offer essential, quality information paired with promotional offers
  • Maintain the end goal of reaching sales
  • Consistently monitor your campaign’s performance through well-established metrics (open rate, click-through rate)

Interested in improving your company’s online presence through direct email marketing? We at Selzy will be glad to help guide you to achieve the best results to raise your email marketing game to the next level. Visit our pricing page.

23 July, 2022
Article by
Eunice Laguesma
I am a Medical Scientist, by day. But before all that, I fell in love with writing. Like many others reading our blogs, I also managed my own small but successful online businesses. So, I married my passion for the written word and my experience in building online businesses and partnered with Selzy to help small businesses build the most out of their marketing campaigns.
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