How to Maximize the Value of Your Audience Communications
In today’s dynamic landscape where people use social media and mobile to communicate, many marketers overlook the potential of email, the original digital social media that allows for two-way communication with your audience.
Roughly 60% of marketers view mobile, including smartphones and tablets, and social media as the top two developments that’ll have an impact upon email, in the next year according to Marketing Sherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.
For most businesses including solopreneurs and bloggers, email fuels content marketing because you can control it even if there are issues with other channels (Penguin or Panda anyone?)
7 Email marketing factors
Here are seven email factors based on Marketing Sherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report to integrate into your overall content marketing plans.
- 50% of respondents felt list growth was somewhat positive but slow. This makes sense since email is a mature form of content marketing. Further, many marketers underestimate the value of building their email house file to supporting their overall marketing efforts. Use every interaction on your owned and social media to increase your email list. Concurrently, offer alternatives for recipients who think that you’re contacting them too often.
- Three out of five companies don’t design email to be read on mobile devices despite the fact that one quarter of email recipients read it on mobile devices. This behavior is surprising since Blackberries, the first smartphones, were developed to consume email efficiently. Further, email consumption on a mobile device tends to be an activity done on a snacking basis between other events.
- Marketers use email for a variety of triggered and customer life cyle events. Maximize your marketing opportunities by testing each option for your marketing plans.
- Only two out of five use email for retention or post sale follow up. Since acquiring a new customer costs significantly more than retaining an existing one, leverage this opportunity by using email to solicit other sales. Are there any other email opportunities you’re missing?
- Only a third of marketers track their emailings’ revenues. While deliverability and open rates are important to ensure that your audience received your information, it’s critical to know what content contributes to driving profitability.
- 60% of respondents feel email yields ROI. (For more email ROI details, get your copy of MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.)
- Staffing resources are a key issue for over half of email respondents. This finding is consistently an issue for content marketers.
10 Actionable Content Marketing Tactics
To help you build your email house file and effectively execute an email content marketing plan, here are ten actionable marketing tactics based on these research findings.
- Always build your email house list. It’s a form of owned media that you can use for a wide range of objectives even if you have issues with another form of media. Additionally, it’s got low incremental cost. Consider where you can engage prospects and ask them for their email address. Check out what affiliate marketers are doing with regard to email since they’re experts at driving demand.
- Offer content in exchange for email address. Surprisingly the MarketingSherpa research found that content in the form of white papers and ebooks performed better than discounts.
- Provide content in your emailings that your target audience views as valuable. Consider how you can reformat or curate existing information for your readers. A major brand I worked with didn’t understand that the information they viewed as recycled content, their recipients found valuable.
- Reduce amount of information requested to improve results. Use email to reach the largest audience possible to maximize your marketing opportunities. Don’t try to qualify customers or leads upfront since it’ll reduce your profits. Extend your reach by incorporating social sharing in your email and making it easy to register for other emailings from your email.
- Incorporate on-going content and triggered emails in your promotional plans and editorial calendars. The goal is to ensure that you’ve got the content you need. By planning ahead, you can maximize content creation efficiency.
- Make your email content mobile-friendly. Understand that the proportion of your audience reading your email on a mobile device is only going to increase. This is particularly important in terms of the subject and the number of characters.
- Always send a welcome email. Once you’ve got a new registrant, welcome them as you would any guest or customer. The benefit of a welcome email is to engage with people when they’re excited about your content and offering.
- Send purchase confirmations where relevant as well as post purchase follow up emailings. Use these emails to provide additional content to help customers use your products as well as to cross sell and upsell related products. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to get customer reviews.
- Continue to test different aspects of your emailing. Use A/B testing or multivariate testing to determine what’s working and what’s not. The beauty of email is that there’s always another opportunity to try something else.
- Measure strategic content marketing results. Go beyond the top level information of how many people got and saw your content. Examine what topic resonated with them and helped qualify and close sales.
The bottom line is that email marketing is a profitable way to utilize your content to build customer relationships and drive sales. Treat email like an on-going conversation where you don’t want to burn your audience out by only talking about yourself.
BTW—Buy your copy of MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Benchmark Report by March 22, 2013 and save $100 using discount code: 435-BM-4012! It’s 209 pages that distill the most essential email insights to help you run successful email marketing campaigns.
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According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.
Join the CMO Council on Wednesday, October 29, at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a one-hour webcast that will invite industry experts in content marketing and user-generated content who are effectively leveraging authentic storytelling as part of their content marketing strategies. We will also feature an interactive Q&A session at the conclusion of the speaker presentations.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rene_schlegel/8259829261/
PS- All links to MarketingSherpa’s Email Benchmark Report are affiliate links. Buy before March 22nd and use discount code: 435-BM-4012 to save $100 off the total price!