As we have seen, there is a strong consensus that content is king in email marketing. However, as Anne Murphy points out, while large portions of marketing budgets are being allocated toward content for lead generation, marketers are struggling to create successful long-term content marketing strategies.
Check out these 7 tips to help you develop strong content for your email marketing efforts:
Know Your Audience
The better you know your prospective customers, the better you can craft your messaging to address their specific needs, which will yield better results. The key actions here are Profile, Personalize, Segment and Target. Indeed, in offering tips on writing effective content, Fredrick Muriuki never actually provides any content creation or writing tips. Rather, Muriuki counsels businesses to define, profile and target customers.
Likewise, Jodi Dey asserts that the first step should be to personify your target audience by clearly defining your Buyer Personas, beginning with understanding their demographics and firmographics.
This will help you achieve relevance, which is the cornerstone of success. The better you know your audience, the more relevant you can make the communications and promotions you send to them.
Have a Plan
Formulate a clear content creation and execution plan that nails down the nuts and bolts of your campaigns, including the days and times you will send, the frequency and who will do the writing and designing (in-house talent, freelancers or a mix). Have analytics in place to measure the success and make alterations. This includes putting in place a system to address the different stages-early to late-of your prospects in the nurturing process to create emails that are appropriate for each stage. Also have a clear plan for the purpose of individual emails you send, including subject matter, tone and design. Before you write a single word, says Meg Hoppe, set a goal for each piece of content.
Feel Their Pain
The content you create should address your prospects’ chief concerns and pain points. The biggest reason for content marketing failure, says Angela Hausman, is not knowing what creates value for prospects, particularly their pain points. The content you provide should contain the antidote that relieves their pain and make their jobs easier. Likewise, says Meg Hoppe, your content should answer or solve your targets’ challenges, pressures, questions and pain points.
Be Unique and Original
Too many marketers are filling their content box with “tired old crap or me-too materials,” argues Danny Flamberg. The trick, he points out, is to create content that will set you apart and be intimately and uniquely linked to your brand. Flamberg goes as far as to say, “Be original or die.” Likewise, Kim Stiglitz notes, in order to stand out, you have to do things differently than your competition. For example, even for a less than exciting brand, instead of jamming product features and benefits down your prospects’ throat, focus on providing helpful resources and ideas.
One way to stand out is through engaging images and video. Joshua Hardwick is among those who believe video is underused and can be deployed to set you apart. “In my opinion,” he says, “video should be part of EVERYONE’s content marketing strategy.”
The guiding principle here is to milk your existing content sources to repurpose and reuse content. As Daniel Burstein says, never let a good piece of content be a one-off.
Among the sources of content for reuse are interesting product attributes, data sheets, press releases, blog posts, highlights from analyst reports, quotes from executives and other information from your website. You also can reuse infographics and link to resources like SlideShare presentations.
A good approach is to break down silos in which content is contained-including emails, blogs, marketing literature and social media-and leverage the content across these channels. Another content-generating strategy in vogue is to flesh out and enrich your content via content curation. Rebekah Henson suggests hunting down the best content in your area and presenting it as hand-picked content recommended by you.
Mine Your Business
Look within your organization for a valuable pool of untapped content for repurposing. As Danny Flamberg suggests, most brands have bits of information, underexposed ingredients, competitive nuances, surprising processes, and/or quirky people behind them. In a similar vein, Prasanna Bidkar notes that statements you make about your products, the business environment, your business philosophy, can be mined from blog posts. These buried content gems can be brought to the fore and placed in new settings that will allow them to radiate and resonate-in your email marketing.
Be Nimble, Be Quick
Keep an eye out and be prepared to capitalize on serendipitous moments that arise in the flow of the marketplace. For example, key off news events or industry developments by crafting messages that associate your brand to these events in an engaging manner. Rather than sticking to a rigid and formulaic approach, be agile and adaptable.
What are your tips to develop strong content for email marketing efforts? Share them in the comment section!
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