When I was younger ( about 15…….okay a lifetime ago ! ) and first fell in love….I would often look at my girlfriend and ask her WDILYSM? ( Why Do I Love You So Much?) and then we’d talk hours on the reasons. She loved these conversations ( for they flattered her so ) and for me – somewhere, subconsciously, it reinforced the belief that we were right for each other. We got married after a decade of the first time I asked her that question and in the 16 years since, I get different answers to this question every time it comes up …..WDILYSM?

So, I began asking this question to myself whenever I found something that endeared me – places that I fell in love with, food that I wanted to keep having, Long Island Iced Teas, chilled craft beers, barbecued chicken wings and more…..surely, in time, this trickled down to my work in general.

What also happened is that since my work involved Direct Communication, I could not help but flip this question and allow the brand or the product in the proposition to ask the very same question to its audience. Drilling it down to the most recent object of my affection – Digital Direct Marketing, well eMail Marketing in particular. So I got down to it and tried to figure out what endears someone to engage with communication sent to him. What I realized was that there is almost a one on one analogy. With apologies to the bard of Avon for the tweak “Why do I love thee – let me count the ways”.

Here’s a list of a few things that would endear a communicator or communication to the recipient.

The Subject Line – crack this and you’ve found a place in the heart !

Subject line – opening line – conversation starter or ice breaker it’s one or all of these. For what all reasons would someone ever ‘like’ a subject line leave alone LOVE it?

  • It had an actionable in it. An action I’d love to see myself taking.

Eg. Take Mum to the movies this weekend – for free! Instead of Buy one get one free.

  • It showed me a value that others did not

Eg. Why don’t you compare the emotional quotient of “Save your kids eyes from the summer sun with sunglasses from xyz” with that of “kids sunglasses at 40% off” < Thank you Saurav Patnaik>

  • It was personalised with Demographic information and some sort of buying behaviour :

Roses are Red Violets are Blue – This email Amit or <Insert First Name> comes especially for you.

Eg. Compare “Amit, Save your kids eyes from the summer sun with sunglasses from xyz” with “kids sunglasses at 40% off”

Tip : Personalised subject lines are served best with segmented mailers ! Accompanied by relevant content this is one potent combination for a loyal following and interested subscriber base. By the way I’m going to delve into segmentation for success in another post Divide and Rule <coming soon>

  • It was honest

Eg. A subject line like Upto 90% off on Major Brands and the proposition saying conditions apply in fine print is nothing but dishonest. I’d open it the first time but I’d surely build an image of a sly – you told me you’d give me something but you shoved me some something else – seller.

The Body – as the cliché goes – beauty is not always skin deep !

If you’ve caught the interest with the subject line, your open rates would have risen, try the hook now.

The content must always be relevant, never vague and always fresh.

  • Love at first sight: If you can generate content that is relevant to recipient, presented such that it renders perfectly in the device the recipient is holding, you’re making an impression. It is important to plan how the communication looks and its Usability on mobile as well as desktop devices.

Eg: Number of navigation tabs can be lesser in the mobile version of a mailer.

Tip : Responsive Design, Adaptive Design, Scalable design are important new developments that you just cannot ignore.

Rendering tests using special responsive design tools is important in today’s context. A very large percentage of the mailers are rejected at first sight because they did not render correctly in the device the recipient used.

  • Come Hither looks: A strategically placed, above the fold call to action is akin to the ‘come hither’ enticement or the ‘talk to me’ smile that one seeks. It tempts the reader to take an action. Visit the webpage, call the number, click on the link….

Tip: Testing the location of a Call to Action button or link using an A/B Split will be a good idea. See that your ESP can help you with that.

  • Strike it while it’s hot: Long body copy will not bring any additional returns. Even if you have more content, push the reader to a landing page after a teaser on the email. Remember, you have 8 seconds before the reader begins to fade out. That’s how long it takes to create the impact and ask for the action!!
  • It’s not me it’s you: The content should talk of benefits to the recipient not the features or strengths or functions that you – the brand or marketer – are offering. The more you use the term You, Your…. In your mailer, the more you sound appealing to the reader.
  • I changed myself for you: Today, there are emails that will push content based on the Device, Location, Weather, Date, Time and other factors. This content can be different and as individual as the person receiving it. That level of personalisation is endearing. Will always draw an “awww!!” from the object of your attention.

Tip: Look for Real Time Personalisation tools. They will help create that zebra print experience for each recipient. Hundreds of possible variants, will bring huge stickiness to your campaigns. Also, follow up trial campaigns with this technology with survey mailers to find out if you made an impression.

So, I shared some of my reasons to love a piece of communication……. What are yours?

(Contributed by: Mr. Amit Sarna, Vice President-Client Success & Partnerships, Kenscio Digital)