Email Content Marketing: Examples and Tips

Does Your Business Stand Out In The Email Inbox?

Mail made magnificant -1Check your email inbox and you’ll see everyone’s gotten the email content marketing memo.

Let me explain.

Astute marketers know email addresses are the marketing gift that keeps on giving.

Specifically if you send a promotional email, you’re sure to generate sales. (Unless you abuse this privilege by over-mailing causing recipients to unsubscribe.) This is why Content Inc author, Joe Pulizzi, laser-focuses on his email acquisition numbers.

Yet many of these marketers overlook the power of email content to build relationships with prospects, customers, influencers and readers.

Think old-fashioned letter writing delivered one-to-one or one-to-many. (BTW—When was the last time you received a personal, handwritten letter?)

Email content marketing example: Doctor

While I still get promotion-filled Teflon emails, selling stuff that quickly gets marked as junk, I’m finding more quality content from unexpected people and businesses, like my doctor.

I agreed to let my doctor email me appointment reminders. They’re useful and avoid robocall reminders. So I was surprised to receive this useful information update about diet.

Example of Doctor's Email

Example of Doctor’s Email

Email Content Marketing Spotlighted

Email Content Marketing Spotlighted

2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines On US Government Site


  • Translated important information into a quick easy-to-consume format. (Don’t believe me, check the government version.)
  • Highlighted key points in red.
  • Written by a nutritionist, a trusted source for this type of information.
  • Was timely. It arrived in January when people think about going on or changing their diet. (Who doesn’t want to eat healthy?)
  • Has my doctor’s branding. It helps they’re associated with a major NYC hospital.


  • Used a templated format, although many emailings do.
  • Contained stock images. It’s a safe option for a large organization like a hospital.

Bottom line: I read, remembered, shared and acted on this email content marketing. That’s a home run in my marketing scorebook.

Actionable Email Content Marketing Tip:

  • Simplify existing government content for your subscribers. Every business should be on the lookout for this type of information. You have simplify and make it easy-to-read. Don’t forget to link to the original and give them credit. Jay Baer calls this Youtility.

What does this mean for your email content marketing?

  • You must stand out in the email box or you’re deleted in less than a New York minute while waiting for the subway via a smartphone. (BTW, most NYC subway stations have free wifi!)

Email content marketing example: Media company

As a marketer I get a ton of email, especially from other marketers. But MarketingProfs got my attention with this email, entitled 11 Images That Prove B2B People Are The Best People.”

MarketingProfs Email Content Marketing

MarketingProfs Email Content Marketing

When I emailed the MarketingProfs team that it was the best marketing promotion, Ann Handley asked me why? (Amazing how those little questions make you think.)

The subject line says it all: Images and people.

The email does what great content marketing should do. It has a unique personality and pulls the reader in.

The photographs not only put a human face on MPB2B but also they have emotion.

What’s missing? An over used email template and a ton of text.

Ann Handley Plays At MPB2B

(BTW, Handley did it again. She gave her team credit. ”Jo Roberts on our team did it. I thought she did an amazing job of capturing the spirit of the event.”)

Actionable Email Content Marketing Tips:

While it’s hard to improve great content, here’s how MPB2B could have taken their email content marketing to the next level. (Sorry but the teacher in me can’t help but teach!)

  • Add names and Twitter handles underneath every photo. Your audience may not know who the people are. Give them their 15 seconds of social media fame. It shows your love for your attendees, sponsors and speakers! (Hat tip: Rob Zaleski who did the foot work on the photo credits.)
  • Make the photographs and the email content sharable. People want to show that they’re part of your tribe. To share these photos, I have to work to make them social media friendly. Most of your audience won’t do that.

7 Actionable email content marketing tactics

Want to give your email content marketing a boost to yield better results? Incorporate these 7 actionable tactics into your email marketing.Mail made magnificant -1

1. Give readers a reason to open your email

Otherwise your email is trash. Literally. Don’t forget to tell your audience: What’s In It For Me (aka WIIFM)?

Don’t limit your email communications to sales push. Even though your content isn’t focused on making a sale, you’ll lay the foundation to develop relationships with your community by making them feel that they know you.

2. Show your personal side

I learned this lesson from Top Dog Social Media’s Melonie Dodaro. I always read her emails. Why? It’s like talking to a good friend. (BTW, check our author interview with Melonie.)

Dodaro confided that she always included a personal note in her email newsletters since these communications resonate with her readers. They make readers feel like they know her personally, even though she hasn’t met many of them.

Based on Dodaro’s advice, I started sharing more personal stories in my weekly Actionable Marketing Guide newsletters (Sign up here!).

Note this doesn’t give you permission to over share. Don’t make your private life public.

3. Take the time to thank your audience

Here’s another traditional form of correspondence to which any newlywed can relate. Write a note. Tell your customers: thank you!

I’m not talking about auto-responders that check up on whether you’ve received the product or are willing to review it.

Write an email message that your customers will open. Give them help to make their purchase more useful to them.

I received an email from the owner of an inn where my husband and I stayed in Maryland, a quiet gem of a place. While we were at the inn, we never met the owner. The staff (especially her grandson) was gracious.

Her email was a very personal note from the heart. She thanked her guests for their support during what was a difficult period for her and her husband. I was touched by her willingness to be open and thankful. (BTW, we have another reservation this May.)Email Content Marketing Lesson

4. Figure out how to break into your reader’s inner circle

Attention remains your audience’s scarcest resource. You have to earn the ability to appear in your subscriber’s inbox with every email.

Remember there’s LOTS of competition to get into the email inbox. Don’t forget, it’s not just your competitors! It’s every other person or business that wants your audience’s attention. 

You must earn your audience’s trust. This means don’t just add people to your list without their permission.

5. Move your readers to take action

This doesn’t mean buying. It can be sharing on social media or via email. Remember it takes multiple impressions before people purchase.

6. Resend your unopened emails

A week after you email your list, resend the email with a different subject line. Don’t forget to suppress people who opened it. This increases your reader rate with limited incremental effort. (Hat tip to AppSumo’s Noah Kagan.)First Email Results-OkDork-Noah Kagan

Second Email Rate-OkDork-Noah Kagan

7. Optimize your content for mobile use

Email is one of the biggest activities people do on a smartphone, especially people who have work email addresses.

Remember to think mobile first. (Here’s the lowdown on 2016 Mobile Marketing charts included!)

Related reading: Why Email Remains The King of Social Media: 10 List Building Tips

The email content marketing bottom line: Offer your email subscribers more than just promotional push communications.

Where possible, get personal by showing your readers insights from your personal side.

What email content marketing resonates best with your readers and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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