How to write a mailshot

An article on how to write a mailshot for your wet leisure business, making it an effective piece of marketing for customers interested in pools, saunas or spas.

Keeping in touch with your customers.

Mailshots are bulk mail advertising that your business sends out to the names that you have built up in your customer database .

Traditionally, mailshots were sent in the post but these days the term more often applies to sending emails to that list.

Obviously, the first thing that you need is your list of recipients, and you can find some more advice and tips about that if you follow this link.

What do you want to achieve?

With any marketing activity, it’s important to be clear in your own mind what it is that you want to achieve.

Do you want to announce a particular offer or promotion?

Do you have a new product line that you think your customers should know about?

Do you want to remind people that it’s time to open their pools or drain and fill their hot tubs as well as stock up on chemicals for the season?

The next thing to be clear on is what’s in it from your customer’s point of view?

Why – in emotional as well as rational terms – would they want to take you up on your offer, learn more about those new products, or book your service engineer to open their pool for them.

If, what you are going to be writing about, solves a problem for them, then a good way of opening the mailshot is to state that problem and offer to solve it; a classic approach but one that works.

The difference between junk mail and a successful mailshot is its relevance and value to the people who receive it.

Choosing the right words.

You might decide to employ a copywriter to produce your mailshot or commission an e-marketing agency to generate it, but there are costs involved and if you write your own mailshot it will have that personal touch and be in your own tone of voice.

Lots of people are quite nervous about writing, but computers have made it much easier in two significant ways:

  • Spellcheck and grammar checking will help you avoid any basic mistakes.
  • It’s easy to change things, save things and try a few different approaches before you choose the final copy.

The secret is to start. Changing and improving is easier than gazing at a blank page.

It’s a good idea to have someone in mind when you start writing. Pick a typical customer that you know and who would be interested in the offer that you are promoting and write the mailshot to them.

  • Think about what they already know about you, your business and this particular product or service.
  • What do they need to know about what you are offering? Why is it right for them?
  • What are the obstacles to them taking up the offer? Can you help them overcome them?

One of the great things about email is that if you send HTML messages then you can include images, graphics and links that can take the reader to your website or even to a page where they can order or learn more about what you have to offer.

There are no hard and fast rules about how long a mailshot should be. It should be as long as it needs to be and no longer, so write your first draught and then see if you can make it shorter. You’ll be surprised about how many words you can take out and how that makes it easier for people to read.

Before you send it out, get someone else to read it. Feedback and other people’s opinions are always useful. You don’t have to do what they say but on the other hand they may spot something you have missed.

Tips and tricks.

  • People open an email and scan it quickly to see if it’s worth reading, so get to the point straight away.
  • Show that you understand the customer’s problem and tell them that you can help solve it.
  • Explain what you are offering and make sure the main benefits are clear to see.
  • People read differently on a screen, they scan things, so use short words and short paragraphs. A one-sentence paragraph is fine.
  • End a paragraph with a question. Doesn’t it make people want to read on?
  • Read what you have written out loud. If it sounds wrong, it is wrong, so change it.
  • End the mailshot with a call to action. If someone has read through to the end, you have done a great job so capitalise on that and ask him or her to click a link or ring you.
  • Encourage an immediate decision by offering a free gift or further benefit if they respond within a certain time period.
  • Make sure you send the mailshot to the right people. The best-written mailshot in the world turns back into junk mail when the wrong person gets it.

Mailshots can work really well for your business and you might even find that you enjoy writing them. They are a great way to stay in touch with your customers but you do need to make sure that your list of names and addresses is kept up-to-date.