Guide to Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) Marketing Campaigns

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 4, 2022

Published May 25, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

EDM marketing, or electronic direct mail marketing, can help you personalize your existing email marketing efforts and increase your return on investment. EDM marketing can be used in many industries to effectively reach more subscribers.

In this article, we discuss what EDM marketing is and how it compares to email marketing, explain the benefits of using it, provide an in-depth guide to how to create an EDM campaign and list tips for making yours as effective as possible.

What is EDM marketing?

EDM marketing is a tactic used to target a large group of current and potential customers through multichannel campaigns. It uses multiple media outlets, such as print, social media and text messaging, to reinforce a campaign message in related but separate areas of the real and virtual world. This type of marketing focuses on building relationships to increase sales. Some of the most popular types of EDM communication topics include:

  • Case studies

  • Company newsletters

  • Event information

  • Industry news

  • New arrivals

  • Product launches

  • Reorders

  • Sale reminders

  • Special offers

  • Tips or advice

  • "We miss you" reconnections

  • "Welcome" connections

Related: 12 Marketing Tips for Your Marketing Campaign

EDM marketing versus email marketing

EDM is a more in-depth counterpart of email marketing. Traditional email marketing is broad and covers all possible email communications that come from marketing and sales departments. It uses only the email communication channels to build a client list and share a campaign message. In contrast, EDM marketing uses email blasts, which are targeted email campaigns, as a starting point for a company's advertising efforts, but then it takes that information and expands it to other advertising ventures.

These additional campaigns do more than restate the information in the email blasts. They expand upon an email blast to create a more comprehensive, personalized message. This strategy relates directly to the marketing Rule of Seven, which states that a potential customer interacts with your content and message at least seven times before they take action with your company, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service.

Related: Q&A: What Is Email Marketing?

Benefits of EDM marketing

Using EDM marketing as a part of your company's marketing campaign is beneficial in the following ways:

Flexibility and versatility

Engaging in EDM marketing allows you to customize your content and messages easily and craft emails and other posts that your customers actually want to read. When using this tactic, you can create some content for everyone that encourages purchases or makes a call to action. You can also provide content that makes your reader feel you crafted just for them. This may make your interactions feel more authentic and be more useful to your audience. It also allows you to experiment simultaneously with other marketing channels to find out the best way to spread your message across platforms.

Cost-effectiveness

Starting with email marketing before expanding your messaging to other platforms can help save you time, money and resources. Generally, collecting names for a subscriber list doesn't cost much. If you have in-house marketers and graphic designers, you can create your email templates and other visual marketing implements without the help of third parties, cutting another cost. Going digital can also help eliminate printing, shipping, delivery or placement fees for advertising.

Relationship creation

Using EDM marketing allows you to provide value to your customers without requiring anything from them in return. Though you're often suggesting that they purchase a product or browse a new piece of content, it doesn't cost them anything to be on your subscriber list and interact with these types of advertisements. Your list has also already given consent to receive your communications, so they're interested in what you're offering.

Communicating directly to your audience through these channels can help build bonds of trust with them and make them more likely to engage with your content and convert into a paying or returning customer.

Data tracking

Measuring the progress of your campaigns using EDM marketing can be easy thanks to the tools you use in creation. Many of your content management systems and design tools exist online and have built-in features to help you monitor metrics relevant to your content and campaigns. Having this data can help you make more informed decisions about future campaigns.

How to build an EDM campaign

Use these steps to learn how to build an EDM campaign:

1. Choose a service provider

Pick from a variety of email service providers (ESPs) to help you create your initial email campaigns. These third-party systems can create content materials, track data and provide a host location to create and edit your subscriber list. Consider taking advantage of free trials with ESP programs to discover which one offers the features you want and which works best with your campaign model.

2. Build your list

Your subscriber list is a key element to your entire EDM campaign. Consistently reviewing and reevaluating it to eliminate fake addresses and inactive or suspended accounts can help you reach just your legitimate target audience. Uploading your list into your ESP can help you complete these tasks. Choose an email list-building strategy to help you gain more subscribers. Some options include:

  • Going offline: Get people to register for your subscriber list offline, like offering a sign-up form at in-person events or meetings.

  • Providing lead incentives: Offer engaging promotional options like free trials, discount codes or quizzes to entice members of your target audience to subscribe to the list.

  • Setting up a landing page: Create a landing page on your website where you can direct all potential subscribers and use links on your other channels to point to the content.

  • Using various tools: Include a variety of ways for people to subscribe to your list, such as forms, pop-up boxes and floating buttons.

3. Divide your list

To further personalize your EDM messages, section off your list to create groups for targeted marketing. How you make your segments depends on your objectives and the information you collect from subscribers. Some of the most common segmenting categories include:

  • Demographic: Looks at specific characteristics of your audience, like age, gender, ethnicity, income and other surface-level factors

  • Psychographic: Looks at interests and personalities of your audience, like hobbies or life goals

  • Geographic: Looks at where members of your audience live, such as country, region, state, county or city

  • Behavioral: Looks at how your audience interacts with your brand and content, such as their spending habits, browsing habits and brand loyalty

4. Create an email campaign

Start your EDM campaign with email marketing. Send an email blast to a segment of your list. Keep the email on brand, make it visually appealing and use a catchy subject line to entice your audience to engage with it.

Related: 7 Types of Email Marketing You Should Be Sending

5. Create autoresponders

Autoresponders are emails that get sent to subscribers automatically based on certain actions they take, called triggers. These actions can include things like signing up for a list, product recommendations, birthday greetings or billing and shipping confirmations. Sending these types of emails further personalizes your marketing messages and keeps your company in contact with consumers without creating a lot of additional manual work.

6. Track your results

Keeping track of analytics can help you fully understand the impact your campaigns have on your marketing aims. Many ESP programs provide automated metric tracking information for you in areas such as:

  • Open rate: How many people open an email

  • Click-through rate: How many people click on a link in an email

  • List growth rate: How many new people subscribe to your list

  • Email sharing rate: How many people share your email online

  • Unsubscribe rate: How many people unsubscribe from your list

Related: 20 Marketing Metrics and KPIs

7. Create other campaigns

EDM is successful because it can help you expand your marketing strategies into channels other than just emails. Your individual company goals may help you decide which other channels you can use to spread your message. Some may include:

  • Pay-per-click ads

  • Print advertising

  • Social media advertising

  • Text messaging

  • Web push notifications

Tips for creating an EDM strategy

Use these tips to help you create the most effective EDM strategy:

Go mobile

Many people use their mobile devices to check email, browse the internet and visit social media apps and platforms. Optimizing your EDM strategy and content for mobile may help you not only reach more potential customers but make their interactions with you more pleasurable. This could lead to better conversion rates.

Conduct testing

When creating graphics and layouts in your content management system, run tests to ensure it looks the same when sent to customers on different devices as it does on your screen. You can also consider running A/B or split testing on your actual campaigns to see which elements and changes produce better conversions or results. Testing can help you decide which content is most effective, and it may also inform you of the best times of day to send your emails or post and share your information with other channels.

Use lead profiling

The more you can learn about your subscribers, the better you can segment your audience and target your campaigns. Lead profiling can help you learn more information about your clients and potential clients. Consider sending out periodic surveys to collect information or ask for certain preferences on your intake lists to help build these profiles.

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