The most effective content marketing method is one you may already be using. Can you guess it? That’s right — email content marketing! With 4 billion daily email users (myself included), you can easily get your brand in the eyes of your most devoted followers.
I know what you’re thinking. Stephanie, you’re crazy! All of those emails probably go into the spam folder. Sure, you have a point. But you would also be surprised how many people will subscribe to your email newsletter if they like your content.
That’s the case with one of my blogs; I don’t promote my email newsletter as much as other bloggers, but I have the option to subscribe on my website.
Sure enough, I still get subscribers without me even promoting my newsletter! I can also use my own mom as an example. She loves online shopping, and she subscribes to her favorite companies. She’s so devoted to where she reads their emails every morning.
If I experience these benefits with my little blog, imagine how much your customer loyalty will increase if you start email marketing.
Now that you’re convinced you need email marketing, how do you create a campaign? Read my email content marketing guide to learn the basics of building an email list, creating a strategy, the most important regulations, and some other helpful tips.
Bottom line up front:
The right email marketing strategy can attract more prospects and engage existing customers. With email marketing, you can send important information with newsletters and/or promote your products/services. The key is to create an email marketing strategy, build a subscriber list, and ensure your emails stay compliant. You should also create a branded voice that coincides with your customer demographics.
How Email Marketing Works
By targeting your prospects and already-devoted customers, you can boost revenue and conversions by sending regular email newsletters. The best email marketing newsletters I’ve seen offer valuable information so your customers can make an informed purchase.
Yes, email marketing does come with its downsides. I find most of my favorite email newsletters in the Promotions folder on my email. It’s also essential to know how to get your emails out of spam folders and into the main part of your inbox. I will discuss creating an email strategy in another section, but it’s important to approach email marketing with goals in mind.
Building an Email List
There are multiple creative ways to build an email list, with opt-in forms and other lead magnets being the most successful methods. Let’s first discuss opt-in forms and go into some other popular methods.
An opt-in form is any form that expresses interest in your products and services. By filling out an opt-in form, you’re consenting to be contacted by your company or another third-party email service. How do you entice customers to fill out your opt-in forms? First, create compelling copy that would make them want to sign up.
An attractive form design will also catch some attention. At the same time, you’ll want to keep your form simple. Only ask them for minimum information, such as their first name and email address. If you offer birthday gifts, asking for a birthday can be beneficial. Understand that not everyone feels comfortable giving out their birthday, so make this optional or only ask for the month and day.
Other Lead Magnets
A lead magnet is anything that attracts prospects to your business. In this case, you’re using lead magnets to attract potential and existing customers to your email newsletter. There are different types of lead magnets, some of the most popular being:
Your lead magnet has to be valuable in order for them to give away their email address. For example, one time I was looking for a press release template and came across a writer’s blog. She was offering a free PR template if you subscribed to her newsletter. I figured it was worth giving away my email address. Sure enough, her emails have been extremely helpful!
How to Avoid Spam Filters
One of the downsides of email content marketing is the possibility that your emails may end up in the spam and promotions folders. I actually regularly look at my promotions folder because so many of my email newsletters end up in that part of my email, not my inbox!
So, how do you avoid spam and promotions filters to ensure your emails appear in the main inbox? First, find the best email service provider (ESP). Some ESPs have a bad reputation with Gmail and other major email companies. Do your homework and find the best ESP that abides by anti-spamming laws and other regulations (will discuss this more in the next section).
Email Marketing Regulations to Know
When asking for an email address, you may not think you’re asking for sensitive information. However, this is still customer information, and there are regulations regarding using that data and why you’re using it. It’s essential that you comply with these regulations to keep your subscribers happy and gain revenue. Here are the most important email marketing regulations and laws.
The first law you need to know (if you don’t know it yet) is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU law outlining key issues that put European citizens at risk of a data breach. Even if your business isn’t based in Europe, everyone has to comply with these regulations since there’s a good chance your business has EU email subscribers.
What does the GDPR say about email? First, always give your customers a choice. Only collect and retain data necessary to your email subscriptions. Use clear language when asking for consent. Always have security protocols set in place.
Make it easy for contacts to unsubscribe. Delete data when requested and always offer a method so customers can ask for their data. Keep your records for GDPR compliance.
CAN-SPAM is a U.S. law that establishes rules for commercial emails and gives the right to recipients to stop emailing them.
The law is pretty misleading; CAN-SPAM is an acronym that stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing,” so many people think it applies to emails with adult content or any email that would be considered spam. However, it applies to all bulk emailing done on a commercial level.
In short, CAN-SPAM states that email recipients have a right to only receive requested emails. To comply with CAN-SPAM, your business needs to set up an easy way to unsubscribe from emails, include necessary company data in your emails, write subject lines that coincide with your business, and always use a real email address.
How to Create a Winning Email Marketing Strategy
At this point, you know how email marketing works, the basics of building an email list, and even know helpful information about avoiding the spam inbox and email marketing regulations. It’s time to create an email marketing campaign. Here are essential steps to follow in your strategy.
Create Customer Personas
Your first step is to create a persona of your ideal customer or audience member. To create a persona, you’ll need data-backed facts about your audience, which includes core demographics. This will ensure you target the right audience members and your marketing dollars will go toward the right people.
Which demographics should you track? Here are the ones that I see most frequently from my own clients:
Keep in mind that your persona may not be extremely specific to these demographics. For example, I don’t see companies targeting gender unless they sell gender-based products, such as beard grooming tools.
I also see more demographics targeting niche facts, such as the career a person may have, a company they might work for, and even their hobbies. Again, this all depends on your business. I do a lot of work in the music industry, and a company that makes guitars may have different personas for hobbyists versus professional musicians.
Brand Your Voice
There are so many examples of branding, but many people don’t consider branding their voice. Your brand voice should coincide with your personality and can tie into your customer persona.
This ensures you use words that connect with your audience. Let’s use a B2B company as an example. If other businesses are your market, your tone will be more professional compared to brands that target individual consumers.
Choose Your Topics
Always choose your email newsletter topics in advance. These topics should identify a need or answer a question. I see most businesses covering topics (not just for their email newsletters but also for their blog) based on what’s trending or what their competitors are covering.
While there are some benefits to this, such as creating evergreen content, I’ve seen content perform best when businesses chose topics based on customer pain points, customer interactions, the buying cycle, and data-backed behaviors.
Write Engaging Content
Now that you know your branded voice and the topics you will cover, it’s time to write high-quality content for your email newsletters. Your content should be compelling enough for your readers to move on to the next step, which is accomplishing the goal you lay out in your CTA.
Are you struggling to create content that converts? Here are some content writing tips that I learned firsthand:
- Write content that leans into your CTA
- Use active voice and wording that will give your readers a sense of urgency
- Write readable content; i.e. use short sentences and small paragraphs
- Cover the latest industry news
I also shouldn’t have to mention this, but always proofread your work. At the very least, use a platform like Grammarly. Your audience members will likely notice spelling and grammar errors, so you should be the one to notice them first before a potential customer does.
Design Your Templates
You should also use best design practices in order to create attention-grabbing emails. In other words, your email shouldn’t consist of only text on a white background. Images, different colors, various design elements, and even video can take your email newsletter to new heights.
But how do you go about designing your templates? In another section, I will cover using either pre-made or self-coded templates. In the meantime, let’s focus on best design practices. The design of your emails should be aesthetically-pleasing but also straightforward to not take away from your newsletter’s message.
Manipulate the font so your CTA and the most important information are bolded and/or in a larger text. Divide the text into sections so your readers can scan the email. Always optimize your emails for mobile view.
Make a Schedule
Creating an email newsletter schedule is extremely helpful. I have a content calendar, and it definitely keeps me focused and organized. How often should you send email content? This depends on the type of email content you write and your industry.
Is there a golden rule for email newsletter frequency? No rules are set in stone. That’s because the success of your email newsletters depends on your message and how your audience reacts to it. This is unlike blogging, which is the bulk of my writing career; with blogging frequency, writers must be mindful of Google’s algorithms and what works best for search engines.
At the same time, I have learned a lot about email newsletters from my own experience. If you send emails too frequently, your subscribers may become annoyed. I found the happy medium to be once a month — you’re sending enough emails to keep subscribers engaged but aren’t overdoing it.
However, most businesses will want to send emails a couple of times a month to coincide with necessary business goals.
That’s why I said email newsletter frequency depends on your industry; for example, I write for the beauty and fashion industries, and buyers expect content more frequently from these businesses. You may also need to send more emails during certain times of the year, such as during holidays.
Track Key Metrics
After you send email newsletters, you’ll want to know the success of your efforts. You can find this by tracking certain metrics. Here are popular email content marketing metrics I commonly see:
- Bounce rate
- Inbox placement rate
- Click-through rate
- Open rate
- Marked as spam
- Unsubscribed rate
From here, you can tweak, refine, and optimize your emails to improve your efforts. What if your emails are falling short? It’s time to move on to this next step.
Test Your Emails
There are different ways to test your emails. While it’s best to test your emails first, some businesses also test their emails after starting their campaign.
Here are a few different ways to test your email marketing campaign:
- Sending emails to co-workers
- Using different ESPs
- A/B testing
Keep in mind that you should be testing your emails before sending them out. This ensures that your efforts are successful.
More Email Content Marketing Tips
Starting an email newsletter campaign can be challenging. Building a subscriber list and creating high-quality content is something that one learns with experience. I do want to offer some tips, so you get your campaign started the right way!
Segment Your Audience
Let’s say your email subscriber list is pretty large. While this may seem like a reason to celebrate, your work doesn’t end here. Instead, I suggest segmenting your audience. This is when you separate your subscribers into smaller collections so you can target your audience better.
The way you segment your audience depends on your brand. If you own an e-commerce company, you can segment your audience based on prospective and existing customers. I’ve also heard of some brands separating their customers by locality if they own a brick-and-mortar store. Many email marketing platforms offer segmentation options to easily group your audience.
Create Useful Content
What makes you want to open an email? While the recipient will also matter, you’ll likely prioritize useful emails. What are some examples of useful email content? If you have a content email newsletter, like what I have, then any new posts or information will be most helpful to your audience.
I also decided to look at my inbox to find examples. One of the first emails I see has my name in the subject line, and they’re giving me bonus points as a rewards member. Even if you don’t have a rewards system, any emails with the subject line “discounts” and “deals” should result in clicks.
Reward Your Subscribers
Remember I used the “bonus points” example in the last section? As I said, that was a real email that showed up in my inbox. That’s why rewarding your subscribers is a good idea. Inform your subscribers about sales and new products before anyone else. I’m even seeing more brands sending samples and test products to email subscribers.
Keep Your Emails Short
Did you know the average person receives 100 emails a day? There’s a chance your customer or audience member has other important emails to read. Keep your emails short and to the point. As stated previously, writing short sentences and smaller paragraphs will help your subscribers scan your emails.
Is there a recommended email length? For newsletters, 20 lines of text is an ideal limit. For marketing emails, 50-125 words should convey your message.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show Personality
I mentioned branded voices earlier, but personality takes things a step further. If it coincides with your brand and audience, injecting some humor or a fun tone will take out the bore from marketing messages and will make your subscribers want to read your emails.
Know When to Code Your Templates
Remember I mentioned creating a pre-made template or coding your template? You should know when coding a template is a better idea.
Coding your templates is a good choice if you want more control over your email design. Otherwise, you can find free templates on various websites. Keep in mind that not all ESPs are optimized for custom coding, so be sure to choose one with more flexibility.
Automation is one of the most useful marketing tools out there. With the right automation platform, you can schedule your marketing emails.
There are automation platforms out there that will also send an email when a prospect or customer completes an action, such as signing up for your newsletter. I see Welcome and Abandoned Cart emails most frequently, though there are other examples.
There are other benefits to using automation. You don’t have to focus on sending the right emails to the correct person at a specific time — you can focus on creating high-quality content and leave the sending to your automation platform. Most platforms also allow you to track metrics and conduct testing with these automated emails.
Research Success Stories
Do you need some email content marketing campaigns for inspiration? There are many success stories out there. I will use Uber as an example.
I always get their marketing emails and find they use language that connects with me as a customer. Plus, their email templates are simple, they use just enough text to drive their message without crafting wordy emails, and the font they use is large and easy to read.
Question: What are the Different Types of Marketing Emails?
Answer: The most common types of marketing emails are:
- Promotional emails
- Welcome emails
- Customer loyal emails
- Guides and general content
Question: How Can I Improve My Email Content?
Answer: Here’s some general advice to improve your email content:
- Test different subject lines
- Familiarity is key — use the same language in all of your emails
- Write simple content that still gets your message across (I used Uber as an example in another section)
- Use H2 and H3 headers if your content is long
Question: What are the Five T’s of Email Marketing?
Answer: If you’ve been researching this topic, you probably came across the term “the 5 T’s of email marketing.” What does this mean? These are tactics that can drive customer engagement, build your brand, and increase revenue — and all of these strategies start with the letter T.
Here are the 5 T’s:
Have you tried email content marketing for your business or blog? Regularly sending email newsletters and/or marketing emails can help boost conversions and revenue. To start an email content marketing strategy, focus on building an email subscriber list. From here, you can create email content that promotes your products/services and/or touches on your customer’s pain points.
Take measures to ensure your emails avoid the spam folder and you stay compliant. Create a branded voice and know your target audience. Choose topics that will benefit your customers and coincide with your CTA.
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