The Power of Value-Added Content in Email
If you look at your inbox right now, chances are it’s full of promotional emails. Sure, email is a great way to drive revenue and has the highest ROI among digital channels for many brands. Most emails, though, don’t deliver value-added content to engage users before they are ready to make a purchase or between purchases. This is such a missed opportunity for senders that can use email to deliver content that brings their customers closer to their brand and increase loyalty.
Content is having a day
Content is increasingly becoming the glue between brands and consumers. Consumers don’t just want to know what they are buying from a company, but want to be inspired by stories, editorial, and educational content. Brand values can come to life through contextualized stories that are much more compelling than “buy this shirt”. We can learn a lot about our audience by seeing engagement with content, too. Your customers and prospects are not always in the market to buy, so the opportunities to get more clicks and track engagement increase when you have something interesting to offer them that doesn’t require a purchase. Perhaps someone has purchased a moisture wicking shirt from you in the past, but if you can marry that data with how they clicked on your blog post about what to pack for a summer hike, you see a fuller view of that customer and their interests. This can help you to personalize their experience to get their business when they are ready to buy.
Why email for content delivery when there are other channels?
There are several direct channels are increasing in popularity and certain types of content can and should be delivered through all of them, depending on the context of the content, the channel and your brand. There are some shortcomings to note, though.
SMS and OTT chat apps (WhatsApp, Messenger) are increasingly gaining popularity, but they don’t have the ability to carry much content within the message itself. They lend themselves well to short messages that are intended to be actioned in real-time. (Alerts or conversations) And because this type of inbox can’t be easily organized, the experience can be chaotic for the user when there are many messages. With organic social media, content is often organized in some kind of feed and what you see is determined by algorithms. The content is fleeting and quickly falls out of favor with algorithms (if it was ever favored) once a short period of time has passed. Organic social can be a great carrier of content that is timely, catchy, and to the point, but users had better engage with it when they see it because their feeds might not show it again.
With innovations in foldering and filters, the email inbox is strategically positioned to be a place for deeper content consumption among an audience that has given you permission. When a recipient receives an email, it goes into the proper folder in the inbox. This is an advantage over disruptive SMS or chat apps with a messy inbox and organic social controlled by timing and algorithms. For this reason, your email program should be a natural place to share your best content that deserves recipient attention–when recipients are ready to give attention. Oh, and the better your content is in email, the more engagement you will have, which positively impacts your email deliverability. This is a win for your overall email program success.
What non-promotional and value-added content should you prioritize?
There are endless use cases for putting content in your emails. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Show them you know them
We love a good email that simply takes a lot of data and rounds it up to personalize an email for an individual subscriber. These emails aren’t easy to create, but they go a long way in entertaining your customers and using their data in a way that isn’t to sell to them.
2. Educate them
Educating your customers with skills they can use in their life (while hopefully using your products!) can build loyalty and trust. It also helps your customers better use your products, so they might be compelled to buy more later.
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3. Inspire them
Inspire your customers by taking them to faraway lands or helping them to imagine something exceptional that they wouldn’t normally experience. By inspiring your customers, you can build stronger connections.
Subject line: ☁ The 5 most colorful runs in the world. Which would you choose?
4. Mix it up!
Even promotional emails can have non-promotional content. If a customer isn’t ready to buy, give them something they can engage with in your emails. Sometimes good non-promotional content can actually lead to revenue if it’s compelling enough.
Subject: The small Canadian city that’s big on French charm
Good content delivered via your email program can go a long way toward addressing those awkward gaps between purchases and can even inspire more purchasing organically through content. We hope you try some of these ideas and then some. For more inspiration, check out our inspiration pages.