Targeting Seasonal Emails to the Right Audience

Fall is finally here, and with the changing of the seasons comes ample email marketing opportunities. For those of us in the United States, the following holidays are right around the corner:

  • Halloween, October 31st
  • Columbus Day, Second Monday in October
  • Veterans Day, November 11th
  • Thanksgiving, Fourth Thursday in November

…not to mention religious holidays and football games (but I repeat myself). But what if your subscribers are located around the globe and not just the United States? What if they are more interested in Oktoberfest or Harvest Festival, but not so much Columbus Day or Thanksgiving? In this blog post, you’ll learn how to segment your mailing list so that your fall-themed emails are sent to the right subscribers at the right time.

Use Smart Groups to Segment Your List

For the purpose of this blog post, let’s assume that you have a fall-themed email campaign lined up that’s most appropriate for your subscribers living in the United States. Maybe it’s related to Veterans Day or another holiday that’s not celebrated in other countries. How can you send your campaign to just U.S.-based subscribers? The answer is by using Smart Groups.

Smart Groups are a feature in Direct Mail that lets you filter your subscribers based on various rules/criteria that you choose. One of the supported criteria is “Most Recent Location”. Direct Mail determines the location of your subscribers based on the IP address they use to open and read your email campaigns. Let’s create a smart group that contains subscribers based in the United States:

  • Open your Direct Mail Project
  • Choose “Addresses > New Smart Group…” from the menu bar at the top of your screen
  • Give your smart group a name (e.g. “USA Subscribers”)
  • Select the groups you want to pull from, or stick with the default setting “All Groups”
  • Now let’s set up the filtering rules. Change the “First Name” pop-up menu to “Most Recent Location – Country”
  • In the text field, enter “United States”

When you’re all done, the smart group settings should look like this:

Click “OK” and Direct Mail will create the smart group and populate it with addresses that match the rules you specified. Smart groups automatically update as you add new subscribers, or when Direct Mail detects that their location has changed. When it comes time to send your campaign, select your smart group from the list:

That’s it!

About Geographic Location Accuracy

As mentioned above, Direct Mail uses the IP address of the subscriber to determine their geographic location. For most users, the location reported is accurate down to the city level. However, some subscribers may use technologies (like VPNs, proxies, or iCloud Private Relay) that prevent Direct Mail from determining any location, or only allow for country- or region-level accuracy.

Fall Holidays Outside the U.S.

The techniques described in this blog post apply equally well when targeting countries outside the U.S., too. Here are some upcoming fall holidays to be aware of for a non-U.S.A. audience:

  • Canadian Thanksgiving, 2nd Monday in October
  • Oktoberfest, Germany, Late September to Early October
  • Mid-Autumn Festival, China and Taiwan, September or early October
  • Harvest Festival, UK
  • Tsukimi, Japan, September or October
  • Diwali, India, mid-November
  • Dia de los Muertos, Mexico, October 31st to November 2nd
  • Beaujolais Nouveau Day, France, third Thursday of November


The fall season is full of holidays, festivals, and other opportune times for email marketing. If your subscribers are located in diverse locations, increase the effectiveness of your campaigns by targeting the right message to the right audience. Smart Groups in Direct Mail make it easy to filter your mailing list down to subscribers located in certain countries, or matching other criteria you choose. Targeted campaigns will always yield better results than generic ones. Have questions about smart groups? Please reach out to our customer service team!

Tip: Checking for Broken Links

The last thing anyone wants is to email out a broken link to thousands of subscribers. Don’t worry, Direct Mail has you covered! Our built-in link checker tests all of the links in your email (even the ones in the footer you forgot about) and alerts you to any issues before you send.

To test your links, choose “Message > New Spam Test” from the menu bar, or click the “Spam Test” button in the toolbar. You’ll get a handy report of any issues that Direct Mail found in your message, including broken links.

Tip: Organize Your Messages with Folders

Depending on how often you send, it may not take long for you to accumulate a large collection of messages inside your Direct Mail project. Need to bring some order to that chaos (and don’t want to delete your past emails)? Try message folders!

You can use folders to organize your list of messages into whatever scheme makes sense for you: by topic, by year, by month, etc. Folders can contain nested folders, for fine-grained organization.

To create a folder, click the pop-up arrow next to the New button in the toolbar and choose New Message Folder. You can add message (and folders) to your folder by dragging and dropping message thumbnails from your list into the folder. Happy organizing!

Tip: Share Your Email Campaigns on the Web

Whenever you send an email campaign, Direct Mail automatically creates a version of your message that can be read in a web browser and shared online. This is a really handy way to share your campaign via social media, add it to your website, or share internally with colleagues. Here’s how:

  1. Send your email campaign
  2. Go the Reports tab
  3. Select your campaign report
  4. Click the “Share” icon in the toolbar and choose “Share Message”

Email Automation: How to Send Follow-Up Emails To Your Subscribers

Direct Mail’s email automation features save you time and energy, letting you focus on the core of what makes your business unique. There are a number of automations available in Direct Mail, but this blog post focuses on one in particular: autoresponders. Autoresponders make it easy to send email automatically to people on your list based on certain events and criteria that you specify. One common example that you may be familiar with is a birthday or anniversary email. We want to introduce you to another use case: sending automated follow-up emails to people who engage with your newsletters.

Sending follow-up emails can be a great way to provide relevant information or support to a lead or customer in a timely manner. For people who express an interest in your newsletter (by clicking a link, responding to a poll, etc.), you may wish to send them additional information, schedule a call or meeting, or just thank them for their response or interest. We explain how to set up this kind of automation below.

Planning Your Automation

Let’s cover what you need to get this automation up and running:

  1. Your mailing list
  2. An email newsletter that you plan to send out to your list
  3. A follow-up email to send to people that engage with your newsletter from step #2

Let’s skip over #1, under the assumption that you already have your mailing list set up in Direct Mail.

Let’s talk about #2. Make sure that your email newsletter includes links (or a feedback poll) that people can click on or interact with. It could be a link to a page on your website, social media post, video, or other content that your subscribers may find interesting and click on. The click will be what triggers the automated follow-up email to go out.

Lastly, create the follow-up email that will be used in step #3. Just like any other email in Direct Mail, you can include any kind of content you like (text, images, videos, links, etc.) and use mail-merge tags to personalize your message for the recipient.

Creating Your Automation

Now that you have all the pieces in place, let’s create the automation. By the time we’re finished, you will have sent your newsletter and configured an automation that sends out follow-up emails to the people who click your newsletter links.

Schedule the Newsletter Campaign (Or Save It as a Draft)

The first thing to do is schedule delivery of the newsletter that you created in step #2 above. You don’t want to send it out at this step, but you do need to schedule it to send at a future date (to give you enough time to set up the automated follow-up emails).

This is done by clicking “Send” in the toolbar, then clicking the “Schedule” pop-up menu and choosing “Schedule for Later” (if you know when you want to send it) or “Save as Draft” (if you’re not sure when you want to send yet).

Configure and Start the Autoresponder

Choose “Window > Autoresponders” from the menu bar, or click the Autoresponders button in the toolbar.

Give the autoresponder a name— this is just for your reference, your recipients won’t see it.

Next, click on the pop-up menu and select the follow-up email that you created in step #3 above. This is the email that will be sent out automatically.

Next, choose the event that will trigger the follow-up email. In this case, choose the option titled “Clicking a link in an email campaign”

Next, choose which email campaign you want want to watch for clicks. This should be the newsletter campaign that you just scheduled to send. You can pick and choose which links in the newsletter will trigger the follow-up email. You may choose all of them, or just the links that are relevant for your follow-up email.

If you want to delay when the follow-up email is sent, or adjust other advanced options, you can do so by scrolling down to reveal those settings, but the defaults should cover most cases.

The final step is to click the Start button in the toolbar (look for the “play” icon ▶️). Congratulations 🎉, your autoresponder is up and running!

Monitoring Performance

When your newsletter campaign is sent out, the autoresponder will watch to see who clicks the links that you specified. As soon as the link is clicked, your follow-up email will be sent automatically—even if Direct Mail is not running on your Mac at the time.

Just like regular email campaigns, you can review the performance of your autoresponder campaign in the “Reports” tab in Direct Mail. You will notice some additional date-based filtering options to help you evaluate recent performance versus overall performance. The “Recipients” section of the campaign report will show you who has received the autoresponder thus far.


What happens if a recipient clicks a bunch of links, or the same link multiple times?

Don’t worry, your autoresponder won’t send duplicate follow-up emails. They’ll receive the follow-up email after the first click, and subsequent clicks will not trigger an email.

What if I need to edit my follow-up email?

Your follow-up email cannot be edited while the autoresponder is running. If you need to make changes, pause the autoresponder (in the Autoresponders window), make your edits, and then resume the autoresponder.

When does my autoresponder stop running?

Autoresponders run indefinitely until you pause them (in the Autoresponders window). Note that autoresponders will be automatically paused if you remove your project from the cloud, or transfer ownership of your project to someone else.

What’s a draft?

When you schedule your email campaign to go out, there is an option to instead “Save as a Draft”. A draft campaign is simply an email campaign that is scheduled to go out, but that doesn’t have a send date specified yet. You can send a draft campaign at any time by selecting it in the Reports tab and clicking “Deliver Now” or “Schedule Delivery”.

Can my follow-up email be triggered by a click on an “email”, “telephone”, or “anchor” link?

No. Only “URL” links can trigger autoresponders. The other kinds of links (email, telephone, and anchor) are not tracked by Direct Mail and do not show up in the campaign report.


Spend your time focusing on the core of your business, and let Direct Mail’s email automation features take care of the rest. Our Autoresponder feature is a great way to automatically follow-up with subscribers in a timely manner as they engage with your newsletter content. Nurture leads, grow sales, build customer relationships, and more, all without lifting a finger.

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