• Caitlin Holt

Direct-to-Consumer OR Direct-to-Junk?

Updated: Feb 21

Marketing efforts to build direct-to-consumer (D2C) consists of developing a website and online shop, e-mail marketing, social media, and often events. Not only does this represent a healthy sales channel, it’s also an effective way to speak to customers – YOUR customers. These people are engaged with your brand - they visit your website, have subscribed to your mailing list, or follow you on social media.


Electronic Direct Marketing (EDM) represents a big part of D2C for many brands as it’s cost-effective, convenient, and trackable. However, creating an EDM with a cut isn’t always easy. Just look through your email junk folder to see the long list of businesses trying to reach you. It’s a lot, isn’t it? And how many of these junk emails have you opened and engaged with? The answer no doubt starts with a Z and rhymes with hero.


So, you ask, how do you optimise an email marketing campaign and avoid crash landing into the wasteland of unopened junk mail? With an increasing number of businesses beginning to grasp the power of D2C marketing, how do you make sure that your emails are opened – and read?



Subject Yourself to a Great Subject Line

You’ve all heard the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but do you know how many people judge an EDM by it’s subject? Let’s just say, almost 50% of recipients decide whether or not to open an email, based on its subject alone. And further to this, a whopping 69% emails with an ‘unappealing’ title are dragged straight to junk. Talk about judging an EDM by its subject…


Simply put, your subject can make or break your EDM.


Our advice? When deciding upon a title, think about it like this. Will this subject generate enough interest for your customers to open it? If the answer’s no, keep thinking. And don’t forget, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach here either. Try using subjects that are intriguing, personal, straightforward, vain, fun or evoke feelings associated with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).


Our top tips:

» Use concise language.

» Keep it under seven words in length.

» Start with action-oriented verbs.

» Make people feel special, create a sense of importance.

» Pose a compelling question.

» Don't be afraid to get punny.

» DON'T USE ALL CAPS or overuse exclamation points!!!

» Use engaging preview text.


Here are some great examples we love to get those creative juices flowing.



What’s the key? Consistency!

The businesses that benefit most from email marketing, are those that send EDMs regularly – whether it be weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. The key is to reach out just often enough that your customers don’t forget about you, but not so often that they get sick of hearing from you altogether. You know all too well what happens to businesses that spam you…


When you send your EDM is also important. Ideal timing varies from industry to industry, brand to brand, but most importantly you must consider your audience and when they are most likely to open your email.


Now, to track the performance of your EDMs, your eMarketing platform can do this for you (e.g. Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor etc.). Do your research and work out the solution for your business.



Curate Exciting Content

At BWC, we start with brand content pillars – the storylines that are distinctive to your brand and that set you apart from your competitors. You may have eight or you may have three. There is no right and wrong, but they need to be genuine things that you want to share with your audience. These pillars then set the foundation for your digital marketing activity, and in this instance, your planned EDM content.


In terms of planning content for each EDM, we recommend no more than three subheadings within one EDM. Subscribers won’t have the patience to keep scrolling. Make them succinct and easy to digest, with clear call-to-actions at the end of each section. Whether it’s ‘read more,’ ‘learn more’ or ‘buy now,’ make it clear what action you would like your subscribers to take. And of course, don’t forget to include ‘click through’ links to point them in the right direction.


Our tip: Don’t make every EDM a sales EDM. Mix it up with branding building content, otherwise you’ll condition your audience to expect special offers only. While you may get good open rates to begin, it’s a race to the bottom if this is the only thing you talk about.


Develop a Must-View Design

The design is where you’ll bring your words to life – don’t underestimate the impact of a beautifully formatted and appealing EDM. You want the WOW factor as first impressions count!


Platforms such as Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor offer some fabulous templates to work with and are easy to build. And if you get stuck, talk to a graphic designer (or us!) about assisting you with creating a template that you can use time and time again.


Our top tips include:

» Use professional imagery that represents your brand and message, to connect with your audience.

» Font needs to be big enough to read – depending on the typeface, a minimum of size 12.

» Follow your style guide and ensure it looks and feels like your brand – colours, fonts, format etc.

» Again, include no more than three subjects where you can help it, and ensure the EDM hangs is tight in content and design.

» White space – not too cluttered.



Make it Personal

Despite the fact that your EDM may be sent to a database of thousands, it needs to look and feel like you are speaking to either individuals or small groups of customers. Personalisation is all about ‘humanisation’ - the act of making something more human – delivering sincere communication.


Much of this is about your storylines and authentic writing style, however, there are also little tricks such as merge tags like *|FNAME|* on Mailchimp to automatically add each recipient’s first name to their email. Not only does this simple coding trick help make the customer feel more valued. Wouldn’t you prefer to read an email with your name on it, instead of ‘Dear Valued Customer’? It also increases the chances of your email landing in their inbox.


Emails that make it to the inbox (and not junk) in the first place are more likely to be opened!­­

You may choose to ask for birth date details in the subscription form so that each year, you can send them a personalised ‘Happy Birthday’ EDM and provide a gift of some description. It goes a long way towards making your brand more memorable.


The same can be said for sign up anniversaries - an automated but customised anniversary EDM helps you start a conversation with your subscribers.





Our team is proficient in various email marketing platforms, including Mailchimp, WIX, Shopify and VinCreative. If you need assistance, we are happy to guide you. We’re experts in the field, and we are here to help you create effective EDMs that work for your business.