Direct email marketing (DEM) is one of the most important disciplines in digital marketing. Indeed, it’s highly unusual to find a brand that doesn’t communicate with customers via email, whether through newsletter subscriptions, order confirmations or sales promotions.

Email is just one of the many channels you can use to reach your audience, but one with significant benefits in terms of high personalization and interaction with your brand. It’s also relatively low-cost.

You can learn more about improving your DEM performance in another article but here we’d like to offer some expert insights from one of our own experts, Valentina di Sabatino, who has developed strategies for clients of all types and sizes.

Q: Hi, Valentina. What are some of the most common goals for clients who decide to launch DEM campaigns?

A: The most common goals are to promote the business, seek new customers and cultivate a relationship with already acquired customers. Achieving such goals must be done in the simplest and most direct way.

The potential audience for a direct email marketing campaign is very large. Just think that every web user has at least one email address, and thanks to smartphones, checking email regularly has become a common habit.

Q: What are the most common challenges you face in your daily work?

A: Each client has different needs in terms of production, starting with a static graphic style to a more dynamic one. You have to know how to position the messaging based on the format. Often in e-commerce, you work at great speed because economic trends never stand still and you may decide to create a flash promotion and plan a DEM in a couple of days.

Q: When we think about DEM, we mostly think about e-commerce and retailers, but is it beneficial for all kinds of businesses?

A: It is definitely one of the most popular methods in the world of e-commerce because it’s simple and cheap with obvious advantages. I think it’s also advantageous regardless of the type of business because DEM allows you to create a direct link with the users. If the emails are well designed, the recipients perceive that this is a communication created specifically for them. They appreciate the attention and interaction.

Q: What are the main advantages of this kind of marketing?

A: Definitely customer usability. It’s not necessary to have a savvy customer base because an email is already a simple and common form of communication for most customers.

Q: Does it work in combination with other marketing strategies (e.g. social media and content marketing)?

A: Of course! Social media helps companies that want to have visibility and most social media users are also using email. With direct email marketing, you can promote content you may already have on social media.


Q: What do you consider to be the main elements of a good DEM strategy?

A: There are four pillars:

1) Setting clear and potentially achievable goals

2) Attracting visitors to your site and turning them into new customers.

3) Creating content that is suitable for the type of e-commerce or business

4) Having good software for marketing automation is also essential to optimize the process.

Q: Why is it so important to track and analyze results?

A: By monitoring and analyzing the results, you can understand what captures the customers’ attention, what engages them and what triggers the click and leads to a sale. Only by analyzing the opening rate and the clicks can you measure the effectiveness of the DEM campaign, further improving communication with the customer. With more information, you can optimize your strategy to create more sales.

Q: Is it an affordable activity for small and medium businesses?

A: Absolutely. The main investment is in creating relevant and effective content based on knowledge of the audience.

Q: Any tips for brands and companies thinking about launching their first DEM campaigns? 

A: The goal is to be simple and direct while providing information that is eye-catching. When you open a newsletter, for example, it must be immediately clear where you need to click to visit a site or buy a product. As customers and as web users, we are naturally lazy. We don’t want to waste time looking for meaning or next steps.

Q: And finally, what do you like best about your job?

A: One great thing about this job is seeing the transformation of something intangible into something concrete. Seeing html code come alive in a newsletter with animations, text and graphics is a great feeling.

Thanks for your time, Valentina.

What are the challenges of working on DEM?

Probably the most challenging aspect is trying to meet client’s expectations. This includes the clients’ requests in terms of productions and deadlines.

What businesses can use DEM?

All kinds of businesses can create a successful DEM strategy. It’s not limited only to e-commerce and retailers. Also, small businesses can take advantage of the benefits that DEM provides.