Email is the ultimate relationship-building tool. If used correctly, marketers can effectively increase customer retention rates and lifetime value for pennies on the dollar. The key to creating such results? Email engagement.
The thing about email marketing that “scares” people is that there are so many different variables to consider. While it does take a lot of testing, monitoring, and research; the ROI of email marketing is undeniable.
As I mentioned earlier, email is a nurturing tool. But what exactly do smart marketers use to initiate contact, build credibility, and boost email engagement? Relevant Content.
Content marketing was the buzzword of the year in 2011, but the actual practice has been around forever. Create useful information that people care about and they’ll stick to you like glue. The question is how do you create such content? But we’ll get to that.
What Type Of Content Should You Create To Boost Email Engagement?
Relevant content, the insanely useful kind to be specific.
Insanely useful content is like virtual glue, it’s the stuff that binds your brand and your customers throughout the entire relationship. Content consists of text, data, graphics, video, and audio. When you create the right marriage between email and compelling content, the type that resonates with your subscribers, email engagement skyrockets.
Email can be employed to share relevant industry news with your subscribers. Is there an upcoming industry conference you think they should know about? A new law being passed that’ll affect their business? Or a new technological breakthrough on the horizon?
Whatever the “beat” is, email can act as a time-sensitive news reporter.
One of the strengths of email is it’s turnaround time. There could be a major announcement, and you could hit your subscribers’ inbox within the hour. Think about the type of email engagement you’d get by sending an email including a recap of the Apple event announcing the iPhone 5?
AWeber recently sent me this email about an upcoming workshop they’ll be having in Philadelphia. Now I like that they’re using the data they’ve collected from me, which is evident by the personalization of the greeting (Hi Dewane).
I’m not exactly sure why they would send me an email about a workshop in Philly, but maybe they’re targeting a number of states in the Northeastern region of the U.S.
That said, I still enjoy these type of informative emails because they keep me in the know. Who knows, I might find enough value in the workshop or the people attending to head out there.
Strategies, Tips, Techniques
How-to content is extremely popular. Humans strive to achieve autonomy, so helping them learn how to do something that will add value to their lives will position you as an authority in your industry and add credibility.
Be sure to provide specific advice, case studies, how-to guides, and in-depth tutorials. All your subscribers have to do is whip out their phone and hit their inbox to receive useful information, instead of searching tons of Google results and blogs online.
This email by Survey Monkey provides some great food for thought for their users. I can’t think of one time that I didn’t think about what question I should be asking when surveying my audience.
Find a way to provide useful tips and tricks of the trade that allows your subscribers to get immediate results. The easier it is to execute or the quicker they can see results, the greater the perceived impact of your tips.
Content from Other Sources
Curating content is wildly popular in the social media age. Compiling a list of the most buzzworthy content from across the web will satisfy your subscribers hunger from high quality content.
Copyblogger sends out a weekly round up of the best “content marketing” content from around the internet for that past week. While they do share the links to their content from that week, content from other source are given prominent real estate in the email’s design.
Product and Service Offerings
Sales-driven email serves two main purposes; to inform your subscribers about your offerings and move them deeper into your sales funnel. It’s definitely not something I advise overdoing or you’ll risk your subscribers getting numb to your emails. Marketers often discuss email frequency, such as the best time and day of the week to send emails. What’s more important is not oversaturating your subscribers’ inbox with a bunch of sales pitches without providing a proportionate amount of helpful content.
People don’t like to be constantly squeezed for money. Hard-selling is the quickest way to kill engagement and out the door for mass unsubscribes.
GoDaddy is notorious for blitzing my inbox with promotions on domain registrations and other services they offer.
As a result, I usually hit delete before even opening but if you can find a way to sprinkle such email offers within your compelling content emails, you’ll find that email is a very effective channel for driving sales.
Keep In Touch
Email’s most attractive quality is its ability to build relationships. It’s absolutely mandatory that you have some type of keep in touch system in your business. Retention-based emails are great for building trust and increasing customer lifetime value. Take things slow and focus on providing as much value as humanly possible. Relationships are about longevity.
Newsletters (a.k.a. relationships builders/conversation starters) are perfect for touching base with your subscribers and building more trust.
I recently connected with DJ Waldow, who runs Waldow Social. DJ sends out a value-packed email newsletter to his subscribers every Friday, called The Waldow Social Weekly. He includes relevant content from around the web, upcoming industry events, and a personal message that does a great job of building rapport.
How can you create a relevant retention-based newsletter like The Waldow Social Weekly?
Have some big news you want to share with your customers? If so, email is the fastest, most cost-effective way to spread the news.
Product releases, software updates, new hires, rebranding, and special events are just a few of these announcements worthy of sharing with your subscribers.
GetResponse recently revamped their branding and sent me an email inviting me to “Meet the new GetResponse”. Once you’ve built a certain relationship with your subscribers, this type of email will almost always result in a click-through.
This email is clean, engaging, and informative. It communicate its message in a very simple yet effective manner. (The ideal goal)
What To Do Next…
1. Evaluate your email marketing strategy. See how you can inject these content ideas into your campaigns to increase email engagement.
2. Create a list of other types of content you could use in your email campaigns. (ie: expert interviews, detailed reports. etc.)