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Successful Ideas for your Email Marketing Content

Ask yourself what sort of content would be useful and interesting to your subscribers. What you need is someone with a few years of knowledge and experience in your field of work, a dose of insight, a spoonful of common sense and a creative mind to top it all off.

Let’ s face it, your email subscribers are getting dozens, if not hundreds of emails in their inbox every day. We know this, because we do too.

And we all know that most of the emails are considered ‘ noise’ : the ‘ not really needed’ nor wanted consequences of having ticked a permission box on some vaguely remembered website sometime in the distant past. At the time, we thought it was a good idea and that they would actually provide us with some valuable information. We read their first email, maybe the second… and then life took over and now their updates are just part of the ever-growing pile of unread messages we systematically ignore.

But not all email marketing efforts turn out to be in vain. Here at LeadGenerators, for example, some of our team members are loyal readers of the weekly and sometimes even daily email updates of certain organisations that somehow manage to provide us with content that we actually look forward to receiving. We would probably miss it when it’ s gone.

So how is it done, you ask? With the risk of disappointing you, my reply would be that there is no all-encompassing, universal answer to that question. However, when teaching business leaders about online marketing, it has always proven useful to use real life examples to show my delegates the ideas and possibilities that exist, even in their niche, as this tends to inspire really good ideas.

And this is what I would like to do in this post for you.

Frank Orman presents 8 #EmailMarketing #Content ideas that work. Click To Tweet

What Content Do Your Subscribers Crave?

The question is so simple, and if you look at it the right way, answering it can actually be quite simple too. The secret is to know your audience and to be able to identify those areas in which you can provide real, lasting value to them. If you want to build a durable email marketing campaign that remains effective over time, you should put the wants and needs of your subscribers first –and not yourself. Let’s look at some examples of what others are doing to help inspire us for our own businesses.

Education: The Email Course from the Social Marketers

As someone who lives by the mantra of ‘If you teach them, they will come’, and as someone who has built my entire business on this model by providing seminars and training as an extremely effective way of generating new business, this example is one of my personal favourite methodologies for getting potential customers to sign up, subscribe, and actively engage with the delivered email content.

Twitter page of The Social Marketers.

Twitter page of The Social Marketers.

The Social Marketers (Jonathan and Susanna) have 30.1K followers on Twitter, 75,000 members and an active blog which demonstrates their own social marketing skills. The free email marketing course that they offer sends one email each day for 6 consecutive days and teaches subscribers how to generate reliable web traffic for any website. This educational content marketing approach ticks off many of the important aspects of crave-worthy content. Firstly, it establishes the Social Marketers as experts in their field, which is superb market positioning for both Jonathan and Susanna. It also builds a much stronger relationship between the expert and the reader. Remember that we can all find generic content on any topic easily by just making a search in Google. However, the problem is that there is just so much information out there, which takes time to sort and consume, and most of us tend to just get overwhelmed and drown in too much information. By subscribing to this email course, readers are provided information in a much more structured and organised manner. Time is valuable and more formal training tends to give us the knowledge that we need while saving us huge amounts of time that we need for the other demands in our lives. And the other important aspect for J&S is that when people sign up for their course, they get names and email addresses, and possibly other valuable information from each delegate.

In Depth Expertise: Egencia’s White Paper Series

For some readers, bigger is better.

For them, the format of a longer document with more in-depth and detailed information is perceived as more trustworthy and more valuable than bite size feeds of information. If you believe that there is a group of potential customers who take education very seriously and would prefer to make the effort of taking a few hours to sit down and read, you might consider producing a regular white paper on various related topics and use your email campaigns to promote and provide this content to your readers. An example of the white paper approach in the travel industry comes from Egencia, the business travel branch of Expedia. The extensive, informative documents cover topics such as‘ The Future of Travel’ , the impact of internal organisational models on travel purchasing behaviour, and the real cost of business travel.

Whitepaper series by Egencia Business Travel

Whitepaper series by Egencia Business Travel

The News Feed with a Difference: The Daily Skimm

I love this idea, as it is a great example of how a relatively small start-up is able to compete very effectively against the big brands, simply by doing the same thing differently.

Newsletter head of the Skimm’s daily email updates.

Newsletter head of the Skimm’s daily email updates.

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg collate and deliver news headlines by email every day. But what makes them different is that, while they remain intelligent and insightful, they report the main stories in a fun and rather cheeky way, and deliver it in short, bite-size chunks, making it really easy to consume.

A news story as covered by the ladies of the Skimm.

A news story as covered by the ladies of the Skimm.

Desiree in our office is one of the hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and what I found really interesting is that Desiree has told me in the past that she finds world news rather tedious and depressing. So when I asked her why she reads and follows this one her response was: “it’s just so much fun to read”. Rather refreshing!

Not a Newsletter from a Plumber! – HMS Plumbing

This is an example of something that we did here at LeadGenerators, and one that I am personally very proud of.

We were approached by an old web design and SEO client of ours, a commercial plumbing firm on the east coast of the States. They were looking for a newsletter strategy in order to help keep in contact with past customers and to help generate repeat business. The problem, however, was that they were a plumbing company. And, while they were very skilled and professional, we somehow did not believe that customers would really relish the idea of getting news and tips related to plumbing. So, instead of sending out regular tips about how to stop your pipes from freezing in winter (how many times can you give that kind of advice?), we needed to find a fresh new approach that would help achieve more of a relationship-building objective with the local business community.

How to create successful #EmailMarketing #content... even for a plumbing company. Click To Tweet

HMS Commercial Plumbing is based in a town called Manassas in West Virginia and, having already represented them for a number of years, we were aware of how proud the people of Manassas are about their town. For this reason, we decided to create a persona out of Hervé, the owner of the business, and produced a newsletter where Hervé wrote about all the things that “we” are all so proud about. This included articles about how proud Hervé was of the younger generation of Manassas, who had been involved in a local clean up of the river; how he loved the new flowers that had been planted in the town centre; how a new business had opened up and how the community should all support them to show local solidarity; how another local business had just achieved something noteworthy and how proud he was, and more.

The purpose was for Hervé himself to become the ‘ voice’ of his local community and to embody the heart and soul of Manassas. By doing so he was able to build relationships and personal loyalty with other members of that community, who were then more inclined to come to him for their plumbing needs. And because we all like to do business with people that we‘ know’ and people who share the same values, by taking this approach we were able to help Hervé expand his business network in a very profitable manner.

Newsletter of HMS Plumbing: tapping into the pride of Manassas

Newsletter of HMS Plumbing: tapping into the pride of Manassas.

Other People’s Competitions – InsureMore Travel Insurance

Sometimes the product itself is simply not interesting enough to write about. And this represents quite an interesting challenge when it comes to creating crave-worthy content for our clients. However, in the case of a travel insurance client of ours, we took a very different approach and found something that is very crave-worthy. Travel competitions. While everyone knows the chances of winning a competition are low, lots of people seem to love them. If you carry out very basic keyword research, it is an eye opener to see just how many people are looking for them.

Now, you might think that to provide competitions to your readers you will have to give something away for free and, if that is the case, then those in charge of your company’s budget might not be too fond of that idea. Wrong. What we have done in the case of InsureMore Travel Insurance (and for some of our other clients too) is to find and collate a monthly selection of travel competitions that other companies are offering. It’s a classic case of content curation. Our basic message to our subscribers is that we will help them find and win travel competitions from around the internet and, wherever they ended up travelling to, the client is happy to give them a quote for travel insurance for that trip. That way we are able to give away something that is very valuable to subscribers at no cost to the client.

InsureMore’s curated travel competitions.

InsureMore’s curated travel competitions.

Your Own Competitions – Worldhotels

However, we can’t always find a way of taking full credit by giving away other people’s competitions, and sometimes it is more effective to create and fund your own competitions.

In the case of our client WorldHotels, a collection of over 500 independent luxury hotels across the globe, we ran a massive email marketing campaign aiming to familiarise readers with the WorldHotels’ proposition and to persuade them make their next hotel booking at a WorldHotels property. For the campaign, we chose a different city each time and ran a competition with one of the WorldHotels member hotels in that destination. Guests were invited to find a chef’s hat, hidden somewhere in the hotel, for a free dinner specially prepared by the chef of the establishment.

Worldhotels competition newsletter.

Worldhotels’ competition newsletter.

Tips: Money Saving Expert

Someone who in our opinion has really taken tip-giving to a whole new level is Martin Lewis, the British money-saving journalist, consumer campaigner and media personality better known as the Money Saving Expert. His website has 13 million unique monthly users and his email newsletters are like small encyclopaedia of money saving opportunities ranging from home insurance to mortgages to this summer’s holidays with the kids. Money Saving Expert is deemed to be an independent and reliable source of advice and information, not in the least because of its transparency and proven expertise, and makes money from indicated affiliate links alone.


Martin’s Money Tips Email.

Martin’s Money Tips Email.

When it comes to someone who puts his passion, experience and expert knowledge to the use of the public with great fame and following as a result, we think Money Saving Expert is a textbook example.

Offers & Discounts: Birchbox

So far, the email marketing content ideas that I have discussed might all seem to be pretty ‘ altruistic’ . Indeed, in content marketing it is all about providing value to the readership and building trust and familiarity. However, we need to remind ourselves that the reason we need to work so hard to be valuable and useful to our potential clients is that we want them to want to buy our products and services. And, as we all prefer to do business with those we know and like and trust, we need to direct all our relationship building content towards the ultimate outcome, the sale. Don’t be shy to promote your products and services by sending out the occasional sales email promoting a special offer or a discount under certain circumstances. Don’t forget that if your content has been good, then your offering will be of extra value to your new customers.

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Discount emails by Room Mate Hotels, London Stansted Airport and Photobox.

You can also use discounts to try to maintain or ‘repair’ relationships with ‘lost’ clients, as Birchbox does when website visitors abandon their cart. The 20% off discount is sent out 24 hours after cart abandonment to provide visitors with a reminder and incentive to come back and complete their subscription.

Birchbox uses discounts to give visitors who abandoned their cart to come back and complete their registration.

Birchbox uses discounts to give visitors who abandoned their cart to come back and complete their registration.

And because it comes from a friendly and familiar voice, your offerings will probably have a substantially higher conversion rate, resulting in more sales. And that is what this entire crave-worthy content thing is all about.




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