Content marketing has been and continues to be hot. On average, marketers spend more than one-quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing, according to B2B Marketing Insider. Many digital marketers who are responsible for email, search, or more traditional return on investment (ROI)-focused digital programs have often viewed content marketing as fluffy or not even marketing but just words to help fill the page. But that perception is changing, and this Huffington Post and Leo Burnett announcement demonstrates that content and commerce are married – whether it is a shotgun wedding or a perfect match.
Email marketers have largely missed this big opportunity to engage with content marketing, but it is not hard to see the potentially symbiotic relationship between the two. Let’s look at five ways to leverage these dual threats.
1. Good content works. Period. Consumers rarely think about which channel is giving them what, but instead what brand provides what they are looking for. Some brands are offer-driven, some are engagement-based, and some provide a great user experience from end to end.
What enables the digital user to navigate the full spectrum is often great content. Sixty-one percent of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and that they are also more likely to buy from that company (according to a study from Custom Content Council). Your blogs, landing pages, white papers, social media, and email program should all leverage that special content to deliver a full experience, and the inbox can be the best way to deliver the reach needed to justify a bigger content investment.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Many email marketers I talk to lament the difficulty and time it can take to develop robust content. However, good content often already exists elsewhere, sitting on a blog or some isolated digital island. Email marketers should see themselves as the airplane pilots directing people to destinations. Especially, neglected but incredibly successful nurturing type programs have aggressive tactics but lack the finesse that relevant and personalized content can provide. It’s worth marrying the two, as lead nurturing emails get four to 10 times the response rate compared to standalone email broadcasts, according to a Silverpop/DemandGen Report.
3. We all need more customers. Email’s historical weak link has been customer acquisition. HubSpot’s research pointed out that blog frequency impacts customer acquisition and, more specifically, 92 percent of companies that blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. It makes sense – email’s cash machine gets revved up when frequency is increased. While you can be blind to the negatives of any kind of uptick on marketing noise, this is an area where high-volume email marketers can borrow content and hopefully also their brand is acquiring new subscribers and/or customers.
4. Go where the money is headed. Seventy-eight percent of chief marketing officers (CMOs) think custom content is the future of marketing (from real estate media firm Hanley Wood). It’s no surprise that big-budget brands, dynamic new market leaders, and SAAS marketing leaders like American Express, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, and LinkedIn are rated among the best content marketers. You can bet that aspirational brands and emerging leaders will likewise make content marketing a pillar of their marketing efforts. Email marketers will be savvy to be able to ride shotgun with this surge and ensure they are front and center as well on the revenue- and relationship-focused delivery of this content.
5. Email is the backbone of digital – content is the blood. Align your teams and don’t let email just be told “what to blast” or let awesome content be left to die without the attention and eyeballs it deserves. If you have not done so, ensure your content marketing and email calendars and teams are plotting out 2015 in a collaborative fashion, and a well-oiled machine is yours ready to deploy.
What brands do both content and email marketing really well?
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