Make Email Essential to Your Content Marketing Strategy

If you go to any internet marketing event, you’ll be sure to hear one thing over and over again: content marketing. This hot new art and science of being an effective brand publisher is more than just a trend; it’s the atomic bomb of all marketing.

As content marketing rises in importance, email marketing is also becoming a tried and true channel for reaching people where they gather every day: their inbox. Why? Because people are constantly checking their email. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields an estimated 4,300% ROI.

While these seemingly separate practice areas of content marketing and email marketing are marching forward in parallel, they’re actually on a collision course.

The intersection of content marketing and email marketing is delivering branded editorial content via email. Here’s the big opportunity: Use email to re-engage users with personalized content selected based on their history and demonstrated interests across other digital channels.

So, why does content marketing deserve special treatment? Branded editorial has some very distinct challenges and opportunities that set it apart from typical promos and offers:

  • Content is has a long shelf life. The best brand content never expires. This is because people who are interested in a topic, say Garden Homes, are likely to be interested in that subject for an extended period of time.
  • Content has a ton of meta data. Editorial content has many words and a variety of formats, so there’s much more meta data that can be used to select it.
  • Brands have a lot of it. The best content marketers have hundreds of pieces of content. A content personalization solution needs to be able to analyze, classify, reformat and target large volumes of content.

The same thinking applies across categories. For example, consider Delta Faucet, who through its Inspired Living hub offers a range of how-tos, design ideas and trend articles. They knew that their content portfolio covered a wide range of interests that didn’t fit neatly into a one-size-fits-all or segment based approach. So, by individually personalizing their overall content experience, Delta Faucet has been able to drive a nearly 30% lift in engagement.

The best content marketers are now thinking about email and content as connective tissue for the broader digital saga. Leveraging data across channels to develop a predictive approach to content selection — in email as well as other channels — is proving to be an essential technique for driving repeat engagement and ultimately building long-lived relationships with customers.

But, how does this method of cross-channel content sequencing actually impact your email marketing efforts though? One major, US grocery brand recently added such personalized content to their email newsletter programs — leveraging past topic interests in other channels — and saw up to a 180% lift in the email click-to-open rate. Importantly, they reduced the time needed to manually curate editorial sections of email by 99%.

How can your brand start moving the needle on this front? Here are three steps the best brands are taking to unify their email and content strategies in the most optimal ways:

  • Audit your content. It sounds basic, but it’s absolutely essential to have a complete and comprehensive understanding of your content portfolio. Key questions: How many pieces are there? What formats and lengths are represented? What types of topics and subtopics are reflected and how often are you publishing?
  • Audit your email. In other words, know what you’re sending. Key questions: What is your brand’s total email footprint? For any given type of subscriber what does the totality of volume and types of email look like? Which email products are best poised for including or featuring personalized content selections and which ones should potentially be exempt?
  • Define success. You want to make your content and email marketing strategies work together better and deliver a more personalized experience. What does actual success look like and what are the key metrics that tell you you’re doing well?

Bringing the two worlds of content marketing and email marketing together to support each other can be highly beneficial and it can help your brand capitalize on two of the most important practice areas of modern marketing. By taking a data-driven approach and pursuing a well-defined marketing technology roadmap, today’s modern marketers can effectively serve their customers better than ever.

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