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In Email Marketing, Content Rules the Roost

Nov 13, 2012   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

What attracts prospects and wins business is the content you provide, which is why so many experts assert that “content is king” in email marketing.

Indeed, states flatly that your content IS your marketing, pointing out that “interesting content is cited as the most important motivating factor for steadfast loyalty.”

What content must ultimately achieve is engagement and conversions, which hinges on recipients finding your content compelling. This is why relevancy and content are so interrelated, with the best content being the most relevant to users’ tastes, interests, and needs.

The relevancy of your content is the measure of its value to recipients, as reflected in surveys like the CMO Council and InfoPrint Solutions study that showed that, of the 91% of consumers who opted out or unsubscribed to emails, 46% did so because the messages were not relevant. Likewise, a GI Insight survey showed that 53% of consumers said that almost all of the email they received was not relevant.

Content and relevancy are also closely tied to deliverability. As Christina Belmont notes, the new content-rating tools like Google’s Priority Inbox and Hotmail’s Sweep rank email according to response and relevancy, with badly ranking emails consigned to the nether realms of user inboxes. As Belmont and others point out, getting your messages past these new content-quality tools makes segmenting your lists even more obligatory.

To rank highly in this environment, subject lines acquire particular importance, which is why Dara Meyers asserts that “Strong subject lines are your most powerful gate openers.” Meyers counsels marketers to move away from simply offering deals and try a number of fresh approaches to boost engagement, including repositioning emails as newsletters. As Meyers notes, “The smallest bit of quality content can make any email feel like a valuable, must-read publication.”

Adam Blitzer agrees that the most effective messages are those “with a compelling subject line, one central idea, and a clear call to action.” Blitzer advises marketers to test a number of elements-including different personalized headlines, simple text versus HTML, image placement within messages, call-to-action language, and the offers that are made, such as a whitepaper vs. a discount. also advises marketers to try different content concepts and track the resulting response, then carefully examine the numbers “to see which articles, products, or banners are clicked-on the most.”

There is no shortage of advice for generating engaging content, including primers from Constant Contact and HubSpot. A final approach that email marketers can adopt to steer readers to quality content is content curation, which as Susan McKittrick of the Content Marketing Institute explains, is a poorly understood marketing tactic that can be a powerful community-building tool. Content curation mixes original content with quality material drawn from the best sources. As Mckittrick explains, marketers can use content curation to establish a reputation as a trusted resource in a particular area, and to build an audience that eventually buys.

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