In Part I of this three-part series, I described an unsuccessful promotional email to Medical Devices Group members.
“We have had ZERO sales,” my client said.
Once he showed me what he sent out, I wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“Tell you what,” I offered. “I’ll contact my members on your behalf for free if you let me write an educational piece about it for my blog.”
“Deal,” he agreed.
What’s wrong with this email?
1. It screamed “Hi, I am an advertisement.” It was flush with color. Someone wanting to talk with you doesn’t spend a lot of time making it super-duper pretty. They just talk.
If this ad talked, it would say, “I know you weren’t expecting me but hear me out. Wait. No! Don’t click delete! I wasn’t ….”
2. It used reversed-out white type. This is a big no-no. From my hero:
Never set your copy in reverse (white type on a black background), and never set it over a gray or colored tint. The old school of art directors believed that these devices forced people to read the copy; we now know that they make reading physically impossible. —David Ogilvy
This is a really important point. Read this short article, “The impact of reverse type on reader comprehension.” If you just want the highlights, this table will do the trick:
3. It wasn’t about you until the bottom. After the clickable opening graphic (good), you read about 10 strangers who won something you didn’t. On the very bottom was a link called “Medical Devices Group Exclusive Offer.” That should have been much higher up.
4. It was hard to reply. You know how the default color for an email reply is dark blue? Well, this is what dark blue looks like on dark gray.
5. It went out too late. The winners were announced on May 22. This email didn’t go out until two weeks later. So it was up to a month after contestants entered the contest. Entrants probably forgot about it by then.
6. One email followup is inadequate. An old direct-marketing maxim says you can expect 50 percent more responses if you remail the same content two weeks later. (That was for physical mail). I’m not sure what correlation is for email but the idea of trying again makes sense here too. If the first campaign bombs, try something new – which is what we did and will share with you in the last installment, Part III, of this series.
7. No phone numbers doesn’t mean don’t call them. In order to improve our response rate, we didn’t ask for phone numbers. But we did know the name and the company. A little work from an intern could generate most of the phone numbers. And since entrants understand the value of an AED already, I bet a telemarketing campaign would be extremely worthwhile in this case.
I offered the Medical Marcom reader with the best diagnosis an hour’s consultation with me.
We got some great answers. Thanks to all who shared their insights.
I chose Karen Anderson’s answer as best. You can read it here. Her strategic and tactical analysis hit upon many of the points I made above.
Do you agree with my analysis? Did I miss anything?
Next week: How we salvaged the program.
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