Side note: It's funny that so many marketing executives use the term “EDM”, but don't know what it stands for. I'll save you the Googling. It's Electronic Direct Mail.

Most marketers think very selfishly when it comes to mass emailing. They even use terms like “email blast”. Who are you even “blasting”? Would you like to be blasted? No. Then why blast your customers?

Stop selling, man.

Then, there are people who'd design their emails like a brochure. In their mind, an “email blast” is all about selling, selling, and selling!

The images got to pop. Show the discount. Put links everywhere.

Unfortunately, the very practice of doing this causes your email to suffer. Your email enters the spam box, open rates drop, and click-through rates drop.

That's because both email service providers (ESP) and humans smell a selling intent.

If all your email does is sell, sell, and sell – an ESP like Gmail will put your email in the promotions box or worse, in spam. That kills your email open rates.

Second, the moment you lose your reader's trust, they don't bother opening or clicking your emails anymore.

Real open rates.

Let me show you the difference between sending an email that looks like a brochure vs. one that just feels like a personal message.

Variation #1: Simple email

I know what you're going to say. Dang, that looks ugly. Isn't it too simple, Reuben?

Well, in fact, I'd simplify the email even more if they had allowed me to. I'd get rid of the buttons and headlines – writing it like just writing to a friend.

Variation #2: Brochure-style email

For the second variation, we designed the email complete with images, beautiful buttons, and colors to attract eyeballs. We even made different graphics to show for mobile and desktop views.

Here are the results:

Did the numbers surprise you?

Both variations were sent to a small email list of 535 engaged subscribers. But look at the open rate. The difference is HUGE.

The email that was made to look like a brochure probably ended up where it should be. That's right – the promotions or spam box.

The best emails are personal.

Different marketers would have different opinions – and test results! But from my experience and data, it's clear.

Write emails as you would when you're emailing a friend.

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