How to Create Electronic Direct Mail

Electronic Direct Mail (eDM) form an integral part of any marketing communications toolkit and are often the workhorse for lead generation campaigns. Getting familiarized with the fundamentals of creating eDMs and the constraints you may have to work around is therefore crucial.

Let’s explore some of the fundamentals for more effective eDM creation.

Keeping Subject Lines Short and Sweet

A subject line should help convey your key message upfront. Where possible, let readers know what the message is at a glance and what’s in it for them should they decide to open your eDM.


When a Picture Isn’t Worth a Thousand Words

Getting images in your email disabled by email clients is common. Design your email content such that the message gets across with or without images. If you are including images, accompany every image with relevant ‘ALT text’—this is the text that shows up in place of a disabled image—that way, readers know what the image is about at the very least.


Limit Use of CSS

Well-designed layouts using CSS may look good on internet browsers but they are generally not well-supported across email clients, not to mention the differing email protocols of mobile devices. To play safe, stick to the use of html tables for layout. It may be old-school but it gets the job done.


Optimize for Mobile: Give a Heads-Up with Pre-Headers

If character counts have to be short for eDMs, they have to get even shorter when displaying on mobile devices. Where possible, try conveying your key message within the first 15 characters and include pre-header text to give a preview of what the message contains; if your header captures readers’ attention, your pre-headers can build upon it.


Optimize for Mobile: One-Column Layout

Create content that can be easily scanned by users, mobile users in particular. Adopt a one-column layout which frees users from the need to scroll horizontally. The easier it is to read, the more likely it will be read.


Optimize for Mobile: Finger-Tapping Good

Design your CTAs to be at least 44px by 44px in dimension (when using buttons) to make tapping on them finger-friendly; and make it easy for readers to spot them by leaving ample white space around any of these buttons.


CTA which are Focused

Limit each eDM to one CTA, or if more than one are required, develop a hierarchy, in which readers are cued via visual prominence, as to which CTA is the main one. For example, if an eDM is focused on getting sign-ups for an event, designing the sign-up button or link to be the most prominent makes sense, with less emphasis on a secondary CTA such as “Learn more about Our Company” or “Click Here for Directions to Event”.


Don’t Cramp Everything into a Single eDM

Including more content may result in none being read. Instead of including more text, be sure to include ample white space and a clear visual hierarchy of what is most important in your content. Whether it is through the use of headers, typography or design layouts, maximize impact, and finish it off with an unambiguous CTA.


Get them Loaded Fast

All the effort that goes into a well-designed edm will go to waste, if the file size gets too large. Large file sizes may prevent content from loading as fast as they should, encouraging readers to head for the exit. This is especially true for mobile users who may face more limited bandwidth and distractions.


Large file sizes may also trigger spam filters. To avoid deliverability issues, design your eDM to be approximately 100kb or less in size. Keeping your eDM within the recommended file size also means limiting the size and number of images in your eDM; a high image-to-text ratio such as 80% images and 20% text may raise the red flag on spam filters.

Doing More with Less

As can be seen, doing more with less, particularly in the case of mobile eDMs, is increasingly required for eDMs to be effectively received your target audience. Start working with your team on creating eDMs that do more with less.

How Verztec can Help You

Verztec is a leading ISO 9001:2008 Global Content Consulting Company that offers website development and localization services in over 100 languages, supporting companies across various industry sectors, in addition to having expertise in communication design. Verztec applies its diverse expertise to serving clients’ specific needs by taking a bird’s eye view of clients’ strategic needs and organizing the relevant expertise which work as one unified unit to achieve the objectives of clients.

Drop us an email at or call +65-6577 4646 for a discussion on website development solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.

About the Writer

Jonathan is an Editor at Verztec Consulting. Coffee and travel photos may get him hyped up for conversations. Alternatively, simply toss him an idea or two for a storyboard or a write-up on technology, design and marketing.

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