The Autumn 2006 edition of the Journal of Interactive Advertising has published the results of a study of consumer attitudes to unsolicited email and unsolicited direct mail.
Overall the finding is that people have a much more negative attitude to email than they do to direct mail - and that means that the way in which one writes each form of advertising has to be different.
The key point is that consumers find email more intrusive than direct mail, and that this intrusion links with a dislike of what is advertised in an intrusive way. This links to a perceived loss of control by those receiving the adverts, and this implies that extra effort must be taken to make the recipient feel that the advert (especially in email) is closely related to the recipient.
In terms of email what you have to do is:
- Make sure that the send address seems relevant to the recipient (for example when we send out our Education Management News emails we send them from Ed Management News, not from Tony Attwood, not from Hamilton House or anything else.)
- Make sure the subject line is highly relevant, otherwise they might delete just on that.
- Make it clear at once that you are writing to the person on the topic of interest to them. Don't try and write to "all businesses with 20 to 50 staff" because you can't make something unique to them. Better to write to everyone aged 60 to 65 - they do have something in common. Or all solicitors, or all people who support Arsenal.
You must get all these factors right in order to overcome the basic negative feelings most readers have for email.
Free analysis of your mailshot
This article is written by Tony Attwood, Chairman of Hamilton House Mailings Ltd. If you would like to discuss the writing or design of your mailing campaign, or indeed a single mailshot, with Tony, without cost or obligation, just call 01536 399 000, or email Creative@hamilton-house.com You can also send Tony a copy of your latest advert and he will call you back with his thoughts on how your response rate could be raised - again without cost or obligation.