Create great emails for your list

We send thousands of emails to our distribution lists every year at Education. This guide was designed to help you create compelling emails, or electronic direct mail (eDM), that deliver on your communication and engagement objectives.

eDMs are a highly effective means of communicating with a large group of people. eDMs can help you:

  • engage your audience
  • build trust, and
  • change behaviour.

This guide is full of helpful tips and best practice that you can use the next time you need to send an eDM.

Necessary components

There are a number of different elements to an eDM. It’s good practice to ensure your message is clear and consistent across all of them.

  • Subject line - keep it short (up to 50 characters), relevant and free of acronyms.
  • Preheader - preview text adds context to your subject line and can help your open rate. Keep it short (between 40-70 characters) and to the point. Use this space to help people understand how your eDM will be useful to them. Your subject line and preheader should work together.
  • Greeting - if possible, personalise your eDM by addressing the recipient directly.
  • Body - lead with the reason for your email and the most important information. Support with other relevant information. Use subheadings and lists to make it easier for your reader to absorb your message.
  • Call to Action (CTA) - this is where you’ll ask the reader to do something. Keep your CTA short and direct.

Why eDMs work

eDMs are up to four times as effective as any other digital marketing channel. eDMs give you an opportunity to:

  • personalise your message
  • earn the trust of your reader
  • reach a large number of people, and
  • measure the results of your campaign.

eDMs are also easy to make and distribute, which makes them a great tool for getting your message out efficiently.

When to send an eDM

There are a number of situations where an eDM, or an eDM campaign, will be preferable to sending a standard email. You should use an eDM when you need to:

  • reach a large number of people
  • send an important update to a group of people
  • request a specific action, such as a sign up or registration
  • announce something to a large group.

Define your message

An eDM should have a clear focus. Whether it’s an important announcement, an invitation to attend a training session, or a reminder to take a particular action, the main message of your eDM should be clear immediately.

Before you start writing, identify what that message is and plan how you will communicate it through your subject line, body copy and CTA.

Start strong

A good subject line can mean the difference between someone opening your email and deleting it. Ideally, your subject line should be a compelling introduction to your message. Make it engaging, personal and relevant. And keep it short and to the point. Keeping it short also makes the email more mobile-friendly.

Tell a story

The last thing you want to do is capture someone’s attention with a catchy subject line only to let them down with your uninspired body copy.

Write a compelling story, with a clear beginning, middle and end, to ensure that your message gets through.

Ask for something

Once you’ve made your case, it’s time to ask the reader to do something. This is where the CTA comes in.

The CTA is often displayed as a button or link the reader can click on.

CTAs should be short, direct and to the point. For example:

  • register now
  • sign up
  • read more
  • learn more
  • discover how.

CTAs should not be written in the reader’s voice. For example:

  • take me to my prize
  • activate my subscription
  • sign me up.
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