Email Marketing: A Content Marketer’s Best Wingman

September 26, 2013 Aaliyah Madadi

Yes, it’s been around for ages…but email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to build and nurture relationships with your audience and customers. Effective email marketing empowers you to send the right message to the right people at the right time – and this has never been more important than in today’s digital world where content clutter and mass marketing meet distracted audiences and lowered attention spans.

Ultimately, email marketing can be an extremely valuable component of your overall content marketing strategy. Let’s walk through an example of how this works: good content is the first step in funneling and attracting people to your brand. Your content intrigues them and makes them want more…so perhaps they subscribe to your blog.

Great! You’ve wheeled them in this far…but what happens to the relationship if you suddenly begin sending your content-yearning audience, sales-driven emails about free trials and promotions?

For one thing, it shows that you really weren’t listening to what they wanted when they entered this relationship with you. Instead, you’ve lost their trust and treated them like ‘any other fish in the sea’…

Relationship over and your content efforts gone to waste.

So what can you do to continue the promising relationship you sparked with your great content? Here are 5 great email marketing tips!

1. Build Targeted Lists

Just as you communicate and share different stories with your friends versus your boss versus your mom, it’s important to share different stories and messaging depending on which audience segment you’re speaking to.

This is precisely where lists come into play. Essentially, the more segmented and targeted your lists are, the better the success of your email campaigns. For example, lists can be segmented based on:

  • Content type (i.e. blog, monthly newsletter)
  • Product type/Service
  • Job title, geography, industry

The more information you have on your audience, the more segmented and targeted your lists can be.

Once you have your lists segmented, the next step is defining the goal for every email you send to this list. Perhaps your email goals fall into one of these categories:

  • Nurturing (i.e. nurturing existing customers with great content or updates)
  • Conversion-focused (i.e. addressing the pain points of trial customers and how your product solves it)
  • Content-focused (i.e. sending your latest content to blog subscribers)

By defining your goal, you can crosscheck it with the content of your email and subject line to ensure you’re hitting the mark.

2. Actionable Language

The number one rule for writing effective email copy is to focus on benefits, not features. People don’t care about all the great things your product/service/content does – they care about all the great things it can do for them. Bring your audience’s pain points into your email but remember to be brief and to the point.

You’ll only get a few seconds to communicate your message so try to get the main points across briefly and effectively. Also remember to speak to your audience by writing in 2nd person (you/your/ours) and not in 1st (me/mine/I).

3. Subject Line Magic

The subject line is the first thing your audience reads when they receive your email and for this reason alone, it’s arguably the most important part of your entire email message. Your subject line should be short and descriptive (no more than 30-50 characters), without being salesy or spam-like.

According to a MailChimp study, 3 words that negatively affect open rates are:

  • ‘Help’
  • ‘Percent off’
  • ‘Reminder’

The word ‘free’ in a subject line also dramatically increases the chance of it being marked as spam.

Subject lines (and email strategies in general) should be heavily tested and optimized over time. Try A/B testing subject lines, monitoring open rates, and optimizing as needed.

4. Only One Call-To-Action

Ever heard of the paradox of choice? It’s a phenomenon that happens when people are presented with too many choices – they end up getting flustered and confused about which option to choose, often times choosing neither. Direct the path you want readers to take by eliminating choice and options in your emails – this means including only one CTA.

Make your CTA action-oriented. Also make sure it’s relevant to the content on your page. The CTA should also be placed above the fold to avoid missing people who don’t scroll down. HubSpot recommends doing the ‘5 second rule’ by sharing the email with a friend and seeing whether they grasp the main message in 5 seconds or less.

5. Automate the Process

The key to email marketing success is consistency…if you want to build a relationship, you need to keep communicating! The best way to ensure success is to automate the process by using an email marketing tool, like MailChimp. We’ve also integrated Hubs with MailChimp so you can auto-magically keep your audience engaged with the latest content updates, creating those compelling CTA’s directly from your content quickly and easily – no IT required!

Do you have any more email marketing best practices to share? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

After graduating from the HBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business, Aaliyah launched her career as Marketing Coordinator at Uberflip! Prior to her HBA, Aaliyah also completed a Bachelor in English at Western University.

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