Email Marketing Messages: Same as Direct Mail?

By Al Bredenberg | Founder of

I’ve written a lot of direct mail copy, but I find that when I’m working with email I need to do some things differently.

Every piece of written communication has a “sound” or tone. Most direct mail letters are written with a “hard-sell” style — pound away at the offer, the benefits, the call-to-action.  And in direct mail, that style works.  Not so in email marketing.  People feel differently about their email boxes than their post office boxes. The email inbox is much, much more a personal space.  So the approach in your email marketing communications has to be more personal, friendly, low-key.

As with direct mail, you should focus on the recipient rather than yourself — use the words “you,” “your” and “yours” frequently.  But avoid over-use of such words as “free,” “save” and “money,” — and stay away completely from such hype-tinged words as “fantastic,” “unbelievable,” “first-ever,” “indispensable” — you get the picture.

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