Content Marketing 101:
Email Sucks, but Statistics Show Email Wins
Your inbox is packed. You lose important emails and they just never stop coming! Email sucks.
Some marketers ignore email as a platform because they think prospects are inundated. They go to social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn instead to share their content.
This is a mistake.
Email clickthrough rates have been shown to be about 6x higher than Twitter, and generate 5x more impressions than a Facebook post to the same sized audience. (campaignmonitor.com)
Social media is all the buzz, but everyone is on email.
There are 3x as many email accounts as Twitter and Facebook accounts combined! (campaignmonitor.com) AND people actually check their emails and read a lot of them!
This is why email, as a B2B marketing strategy, wins.
Let’s get down to the good stuff and talk about how you can use this to your advantage.
Creating a Newsletter
A newsletter is an informational publication that is sent out routinely. We may think of them as sheets of paper as the name suggests, but in the web era, newsletters arrive via email. They come in many forms, but a couple possibilities are collections of links to articles or a summary of recent news.
An email newsletter changes the search and discover model, into a push model. Instead of the reader looking for your posts, they get them in their inbox without the effort of searching! A win win.
Before starting an email newsletter, you need to be clear on the value you will be providing to subscribers. You can accomplish this by providing news, sharing informational material or giving them special access to your blog’s new content.
If your company is providing IT solutions to businesses, think about what information you are currently reading and how you could summarize that to create an email newsletter. Maybe everyone in your office knows about which software updates are worth installing and not. With that expertise, you could start a newsletter targeted towards IT managers at companies.
Once people see the value of your content, they will see you as an authority on the topic. When your readers start to run into problems their small teams can’t handle, they’ll know you’ll be the right business to call.
Stuck for ideas? Check out all the email newsletter offerings that Chemical Processing has available:
Driving Email List Sign Ups
Once you’ve decided on the focus for your email newsletter, it’s time to get started signing people up! If you already have an audience enjoying your blog, asking them to subscribe is an easy next step. Blog readers are a natural group to convert to newsletter readers. The next place to go is to social media. You can post a link to sign up for your B2B email newsletter to get fans and followers on your list.
The next step you can take is to add something to your website in hopes to sign up visitors to your email list. Be careful with how you go about this. Incessant pop-ups can ruin the user experience. There are ways to gather signups without being obnoxious. One tool to accomplish this is SumoMe. With this easy plugin, you can select how long users have to be on your site before a popup appears.
A Word of Caution
Do not automatically add people to an email list! This is bad practice and could sabotage your email efforts. If someone starts receiving email they don’t want and they didn’t sign up for, they could mark it as spam. If a few people do this, your email address could start registering as spam in some inboxes and your emails will arrive in the spam folders of hundreds of your subscribers.
Make sure you always have people opt-in to your emails and it is easy to unsubscribe. It may sound counterintuitive to make it easy to unsubscribe, but if an annoyed person is faced with marking as spam or unsubscribing, you do not want them to mark you as spam.
Best Practices for Email Marketing
Don’t over promote yourself
Remember, readers should be getting something valuable from this email. No one wants to read an advertisement for your company every week. Share other people’s content, then sprinkle some of your own work in the mix. Hubspot recommends 90% educational content and 10% promotional
Give readers a reason to sign up. What’s the benefit for them?
Make your email newsletter worth opening and reading! The principle of reciprocity is key in any content marketing pursuit. By offering your subscribers something high quality for free, in the future they will feel more obligated to repay you (maybe by buying something or referring you to a future client).
Know your audience
Will your readers demand a well-designed email with stunning images? Or do they prefer to just get to the point and see plain information and relevant links. You can waste a lot of resources by doing the former when your readers would have been fine with the latter.
Make it mobile friendly
People are checking email at all hours of the day What’s in our pockets at all hours of the day? A phone! So make sure your email is mobile friendly, because over 50% of opens are going to be on mobile! (source)
Experiment with when to send your email newsletter
Mailchimp.com has an optimal send time feature where it calculates the time of the day in which people are most likely to open an email. It gathered lots of data and made some very informative charts. Here is one of them below.
Summary: 9:00 a.m. is about the best time for people in any industry, but don’t be fooled by this simplicity. The optimal time varies depending on other factors like age and time zone.
Ensure you have permission to email
Always have people opt-in to receiving emails. Never automatically add people to a list unless they have given you permission to do so.
Make sure that it’s easy to unsubscribe!
If you get marked as spam by one or two people, your emails could start automatically go in spam for hundreds of your other recipients!
Newsletters and Content Marketing
Like any B2B content marketing tool, newsletters are a way to provide value to your audience. Done right, this will establish trust and potentially convert readers into customers. For those who are already customers, newsletters can be a way to reinforce purchasing decisions by providing continuing value.
Starting an email newsletter doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need to begin is an email list. The next step is to gather interesting links, your own content, events, or offers to include in the email.
Everyone’s content will be different, so find the what’s right for you. You could even send out a survey to better idea of what your audience is looking for.
Before you dive in, know that creating a newsletter will take a few hours a week. You’ll need time to find good content and write the copy in the email. Designing the email will take extra time, though, if you do this right, you will have a template to use for future emails.
Select an Email Provider. Create Your First Email.
Select an email service provider (ESP) to handle sending out your emails. A service like this will ensure that you comply with various spam regulations and make your emails look better! Mailchimp.com is a great place to start sending out your newsletter. It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. If you’re interested in other options, this article reviews some alternatives to Mailchimp.
Once you have gathered a list of emails, import them into your ESP and start composing your first email!
This is the fifth post in our eight part Content Marketing 101 Series. Stay tuned for our next post about using video as a part of your content marketing strategy!