“Content is king” – over the last two years email marketing experts have said everything there is to say about that topic. Yet to me, nothing is more convincing than opinions from actual practitioners – real email marketers.
That’s why I was very pleased to find out two of Jim Ducharme’s “Customer Spotlight” guests made the same claim: the ratio of content to sales pitches is a very important aspect of effective email marketing.
Check out how they answered this question:
What is the biggest mistake email marketers make, and how can it be avoided?
“Too much selling, not enough content. If you can provide real value, folks will stick around for the sales pitch. If all you do is pitch, they’ll unsubscribe, and with good reason.”
~Jon Bard from CBIClubhouse
“Don’t be too commercial for your company. Give them something. With our SEO tips newsletter, 90% is straight free info and news and the other 10% is an affiliate promo link to the topic or an event/product we are offering. We want people to say, “we learned something and we want more.”
~Nick Hunter from Nick’s SEO World
So today, instead of providing you with raw theories, I’ll show you how email marketing practitioners go about the subject – a selection of content-filled emails from my personal inbox.
The easiest method is to separate content from sales offers and publish a cyclical content-filled newsletter. Then you need not be bothered about maintaining a healthy balance between content and sales offers or about the direct ROI ratio.
Content tip: be time relevant, but go beyond the topics directly related to your business.
Boots weekly is always very timely: in summer – how to avoid sunburns; in winter – how to combat winter fatigue; and in spring – how to get back in shape before summer.
PetFoodDirect doesn’t come in or regular basis, but always at the right time.
Now, if you think you don’t have much to say you’re obviously wrong. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started.
Show your recipients how other people do it. Get independent experts, your co-staff or ordinary customers to share their style or workshop secrets. There can be no better recommendation of your product.
Topshop promotes their in-house editors and stylists.
West Elm presents their bloggers picks.
Piperline calls in some fashion celebs.
Be socially responsible and engaged, and talk about it. Show your subscribers what you care about and what’s on your mind. It’s a great way to add the personal touch to your marketing and create a brand image that people can truly identify with.
Ben&Jerry’s initiative proves that ice-cream can be a serious matter.
Athleta publishes a dedicated quarterly newsletter to promote their CSR program.
Provide a free product, service or application that’s useful and fun.
West Elm’s free and timely “Send an e-valentine” engages more than a seasonal discount.
Scoutmob regularly offers freebies such as apps.
Offer tips and inspiration rather that a ready-made product offer. Create a tutorial, but give your customers a choice to use (or not) your product to achieve the expected effects.
Bplans provide you with free advice, which you may (or may not) implement by their services.
Shopbop issues a style tutorial illustrated with their products (but you may as well use your own picks from elsewhere).
Provide lists of bestsellers, forthcoming season hits, top spots to visit, checklists, etc. Make them general rather than product specific – and only then link them to your shop.
Video marketing remains the king of content, as it can boost your click-through rate by more than 90%. A link to your YouTube channel is not enough. Maximize the engagement of your subscribers with video tutorials, presentations, and events coverage. People love them, as they provide a fresh alternative to plain text and can make difficult things simple.
And they’re just the perfect type of content to share and create buzz.
One thing is certain – in modern, highly competitive marketing, being simply a seller of products and services is not enough. Your customers need to identify with your brand. Using engaging content is the best way to help them get to really know you.
Have an idea that’s missing here? Had a content-rich newsletter that boosted your rates? Let us know – we’d love to learn more, quote your opinion, and maybe shine the next “Customer Spotlight” on YOU!