Email marketers lament "subscriber fatigue" as more and more marketers start sending email but are at a loss for what to do. The result is more mailings but less subscriber engagement.
However, you can combat over-mailing and subscriber fatigue with magazine-style editorial material that humanizes your message and shows subscribers how to incorporate your products into their workplaces and lives.
In this column, we will explore how you can effectively use editorial content to add new life to your email program and grow your business.
Think Like a Magazine Editor
Subscribers are looking to you for solutions. They don't want to sort through a mass of content to try to find what they need.
They clamor for three kinds of content that are mainstays of many consumer magazines:
In email marketing, these kinds of stories in your newsletter can draw some of your highest click-through and open rates.
Three Steps to Upgrade Your Editorial Format
1. Change your style. To be effective with an editorial style, marketers must change their approach to driving engagement. One of the most effective methods is a full publishing style where your content resembles magazine content.
Repurpose and highlight quality content that you have previously used in blogs, traditional newsletters, social media, and other sources to help keep this content approach scalable.
How-to tips, news stories regarding hot topics, and expert advice are some of the most effective types of content for this purpose.
2. Offer curated selections. Daily deals emails are among the biggest contributors of irrelevant content. Subscribers must sort through these to find the information they need to run their businesses.
Go the opposite way with your revamped email-marketing program: Send messages that offer up-to-date, industry-related developments and happenings for subscribers.
Emails like these add value and give your subscribers confidence that your business is an authority in your industry.
As subscribers learn that your email messages continually deliver high value, they will seek it out every day, every week, or every month and share it with others.
Take a cue from One Kings Lane, a B2C marketer that demonstrates value with curated selections. Its content clearly states its emails contain "Curated Selections From Leading Design Visionaries." The copy provides credible information about the designer to establish her as an expert and provide a humanizing, informative dimension to the selection.
3. Leverage user-generated content. Allowing your customers to tell your marketing story through their own comments and stories is always more credible than marketer-driven content alone.
One of the best ways to find valuable content for your email marketing efforts is to harvest your on-site product reviews and Q&As. These can be added to your email newsletters and other marketing efforts.
Excellent sources include responses to post-purchase emails, social media, product or brand communities, verbatim from satisfaction surveys, and testimonials, references, or feedback taken from your website or collected from your sales organization.
Whole Foods identifies and leverages valuable social content and behavior across multiple channels. The company publishes subscriber favorites and comments, videos, photos, tips, and interests in its email marketing and social channels to affirm users' lifestyles and the brand's connection to them.
The company also allows its customer community to express themselves. Company reps converse with them frequently to respond to customer thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
The Last Word
Editorial-style content can help your emails break through the clutter and re-engage and energize your subscribers.
To be effective, you must plan ahead. Focus on customers. Send this type of editorial consistently because your users will come to expect it.
You must also build credibility around your curators and focus on providing your subscribers solutions by always putting editorial context around your products.
Finally, give your community and followers the opportunity to tell your marketing story by responding and sharing their own thoughts and ideas on how to use your products and services.
Following this formula will put you on track for keeping your subscribers engaged and anticipating your email-marketing mailings.
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Mike Hotz is a senior strategic consultant for Responsys, working with clients to design, develop, and execute cross-channel digital marketing strategies that contribute to their cross-channel digital marketing success. As an industry veteran, Mike has worked in e-mail marketing since 1998, designing, building, and executing e-mail and multichannel direct marketing strategies focusing on increasing customer engagement, nurturing leads, supporting sales organizations, and driving revenue for companies such as CDW, OfficeMax, Grant Thornton, and Digitalwork.com.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT