Create, Send & Reach – How to create effective mails


Email marketing might sound like a thing of the past, but the truth is that it is still one of the best media for reaching people in corporations and small businesses worldwide.

A clever, well-written, and creative email has the potential to lead to more sales and generate more income. From a Human Resources perspective, a mail has the potential to inform, educate, and keep members of a company updated.

Is direct mail marketing dead?

Not at all! In a world overpowered by social media and digital marketing you’ll find that some people do tend to shy away from responding or reacting to online campaigns. In fact, studies show that emails have 300% the conversion rate of social media campaigns.

The reasons people don’t respond to social media campaigns could be the following:

  • People feel overwhelmed by all the information.
  • People don’t trust everything they read online.
  • People want to be social on social media and therefore don’t want to be bombarded by adverts and products.

The sudden influx of pop-ups and information can lead to people feeling overwhelmed at times, and therefore they ignore whatever pops up on their social media timeline.

Even though we live in the age of instant gratification and people wanting more and more information immediately, we are starting to see some people responding in quite the opposite manner. Many of us are beginning to feel the need to scale down the amount of information they expose themselves to daily.

Therefore, people are still more likely to respond to a well-executed, strategically designed and relevant direct mail campaign.

However, anyone can send an email… but not everyone can reach a specific target market and see results. Therefore, you would need a well-executed and clever strategy. Here are the important steps to consider.


Ask yourself the following:

  • Who is the client?
  • What is the brief?
  • What are the objectives and expectations?

DO research your client and the target audience. You need to be 100% certain about what the job entails before getting started. This way you will ensure that you and the client are on the same page, and save everyone a lot of time and effort.


Once you’ve taken the job specs into account, you must weigh up the challenges. Think about the following:

  • How will your mail encourage participation while at the same time avoiding ‘spamming’?
  • How will you create an immediately identifiable brand?
  • How will you keep costs to a minimum?

If you can identify all the challenges involved and you can find a solution for each one, then the next step would be setting out your plan.


After several meetings with your client, you can start crafting your plan. You will look at the following:

The theme

Once you’ve agreed on a theme for your mailing campaign, you need to ensure that it is carried across all the mails going forward. Be sure that your theme reflects in the pictures you use, the content you write, and that it is relatable to your audience. They need to understand what you are talking about.

Here’s an example of a direct marketing campaign that has been nominated for an Assegai Award. The theme for this campaign was ‘Embrace YOUR Financial Freedom’  

The platforms to be used

A direct mail will be your main medium, but it helps to link your mail to an outside source like a website, which will enable your audience to find out more about what you are trying to tell them.

Here’s an example of a mail that highlights breast cancer awareness. The mail links to outside sources like the Medical Scheme’s website as well as the Cancer Association of South Africa’s website:



Content is king! It can make or break your mail. So, be sure to be clever and creative. Another important thing to take into consideration is keeping your content short, simple, and to the point. You don’t want to drown your audience in words. They will most likely ignore your mail.

Here’s an example of how to structure your content so that it remains simple and to the point:



Colourful and smart pictures will enable you to hook your audience. Always make them curious! Think beyond just pictures. You need to think about the icons you use, infographics, and fonts, and where everything in the mail is positioned. Videos and moving imagery are also great ways to lure your audience. Remember that your final product should naturally lead the eye to the most important content.

Here is an example of an email header designed for an email campaign. The goal was to encourage people to update their Nomination of Beneficiary Forms:



After your mails have been sent, you wait. It is important to track and monitor every response received. It will help you identify any potholes in your campaign and help you to correct them in the future. It’s also a good idea to create two mails for one campaign, and see which one performs better, and the reasons for this being the case.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your mail campaign was a success:

  • Did the participation rate exceed original target? (In other words, did people respond)
  • Did your audience respond to your Call to Action? For example: If asked to click on a link, or complete a survey. You can track this by looking at the direct hits on your website. 
  • Did the campaign stay within budget?

There you have it! The basics for creating a clever mailing campaign. The number one trick is to always stay on track with the latest technologies and apps available. These will help you throughout the entire process.

Here’s to clever crafting!

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