Email may be the most powerful aspect of your integrated content marketing strategy. It’s a one-on-one conversation with a reader who has chosen to opt in and hear what you have to say. Best of all, thanks to its versatility and trackability, it’s the perfect avenue for communication with customers.
But, as mentioned in my Using An Integrated Content Marketing Strategy article, your marketing efforts will be far more effective when your activities are coordinated pieces of a larger machine rather than scattershot events each functioning in its own silo.
Why Email Matters
It’s in vogue to say email is a dying medium. After all, people are communicating via social media and text messages with increasing frequency. Since people are so quick to embrace these new mediums, where does that leave email?
As it turns out, email may just be more important than ever. According to a study by Litmus, nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile devices. This means that although people may be buried in their phones at alarmingly high rates, that makes them much more likely to read your emails. Combine that level of engagement with an audience that chooses to receive your emails, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
How Email Fits
When done correctly – specifically, as part of a well-planned and well-executed campaign – email can be wonderfully efficient. Email isn’t just a way to send out a generic mailer about a sale you’re having. It’s so much more, and it can even become an indispensable part of the lives of the recipients.
Suppose you’re a book company, and you want to promote your latest book offerings. You can use email to assist you in a variety of ways. You can send notices about soon-to-be released books to build a buzz. You can email people asking them to pre-order a book in which they may be particularly interested, or ask readers to submit reviews on popular sites such as Amazon.
However, the best use for email is to drive traffic to your website. Using the book example, a great way to do this is to send an email with a link to an excerpt from a book. This allows people to read the excerpt while simultaneously exposing them to your website, where you have a lot more to offer. It’s an organic visit to your website, with the added benefit of knowing exactly what brought that reader to your site and tracking where they go from there.
How Important is Email?
Your email list is the most critical part of your integrated content marketing strategy. Think about the other pieces of this strategy. Your mailers might not reach their destination. Your website can sit there untouched unless there’s a way to drive traffic. Your social media accounts could get no engagement, and your print ads could conceivably never be seen.
On the other hand, your email list is full of people who have told you that they want more of what you send. You can see if they open the email, if they click the links in the email, or if they make a purchase on your site. Not only does email give you the exclusive audience you want with the customers who are most likely to buy, but you can track their activity. That’s a big help as you plot future strategies; once you know what people want to see, it’s much easier to deliver the goods.
Email Best Practices
Email is a great tool – if you use it correctly. Here are some tips for using email to its fullest potential.
- Think of your emails like you’d think about chess. Always think a few moves ahead. Have a purpose for all of your emails, and know how you’re going to follow up those emails.
- Schedule your emails carefully. Don’t send them too frequently, or else you’ll risk alienating your customers. At the same time, don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach people by not sending out emails. Once a week is fine, as long as you have a legitimate reason to send out that email.
- Always include links in your email that direct to your website. Ideally, give readers just enough information so that they’re curious enough to click through.
Remember that nobody ever bought anything via email. The purpose of email is to attract readers to your website. That’s where you can strengthen their connection with your company.