A well-crafted email newsletter is a perfect way to bridge the gap between generated leads and happy clients. The people who you’re speaking to are the ones who willingly gave you their email, who downloaded your eBook or subscribed to your blog, and are basically saying, “Alright, show me what you got.”
We all know that marketing teams in, well, basically every industry are notoriously spread thin, so the thought of adding another channel to your strategy might seem a bit daunting. But, trust me when I say that an email campaign with regular external communication is well worth the time.
Scott Yates pinned it down pretty perfectly in this article on HubSpot: “Content is King. Email, however, is the best chariot the King has to get into the hands of readers.”
These six reasons below can help convince you (or your higher-ups, perhaps) that dedicating time to sending out weekly newsletters will move people through the marketing funnel and drive sales, all while strengthening your brand’s identity.
1. You can establish your brand’s voice
Most likely, you’ll have captured an email from someone who clicked on one of your perfectly placed CTAs. They took the extra step because they trust you and want to hear more from you.
These leads are ready for you to curate content for them on a regular basis. (How regularly? In a study conducted by MarketingSherpa, 61 percent of customers would like to receive emails from businesses at least weekly.)
However, this doesn’t mean that you should just link to a couple blog posts, include a CTA for gated content and call it a day. You should be using this opportunity to show your readers who your company is and what sets you apart from the rest.
In the midst of linking to your newest or most relevant blog posts, include anecdotes from your company. Did you recently go to a convention? Share your thoughts on that. Is there any news in the marketing world that you feel strongly about? Add in a few lines about how you think it’ll affect the industry.
Even if your audience prefers emails that are shorter and to the point versus something that resembles a letter to a close friend, there are still ways to provide your expertise and personality in your communications. Use bullet points to explain WHY you’re including each article or share a few lines about your current thoughts on the subject matter.
The more people read from you, the more they’ll be able to differentiate your company from all the others sending them B2B marketing newsletters.
As you can see in this example from HubSpot, Clifford doesn’t write a long novel, but you can still pick up on the brand’s voice with just a few sentences. Including the very top line about the song he was listening to while compiling the newsletter is a nice personalizing touch.
2. Newsletters are an insanely effective lead-generating tool
In a report published by McKinsey, we learn that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than through Facebook and Twitter combined.
A lot of new subscriptions are people who are putting feelers out, testing the waters on which companies they like and would potentially want to work with in the future. They’ve signed up because they want to know more. So, give them more.
When you see that you have a new potential lead, whether it’s from a manual subscription, a gated content download, or through a contact form, you can direct that user to the appropriate place. For example, are they curious about how to generate more leads and increase traffic? You can point them toward your products and services that help solve those problems.
3. More opportunities to drive traffic to your past content library
While mapping out your blog strategy, you should make sure that evergreen content makes up a large part of your content calendar. Besides being essential to your SEO success, housing a backlog of unique, timeless content on your blog is an incredible tool for your email marketing campaigns.
Evergreen content is anything that doesn’t have an expiration date. Some examples include:
- Fundamentals of your industry
- A glossary of commonly used terms
- Reviews and lists of tools and resources
- How-to guides
- Thought leadership pieces
Don’t feel like you need to create pages of new content for each newsletter or that your weekly emails only should include your most recently published articles. You can totally include old blog posts in your current email strategy!
The example above shows how Ann Handley introduces herself to new subscribers by establishing her brand voice (friendly and casual), as well as by including links to five evergreen posts.
Diversifying your traffic sources for your previously published articles can breathe life into less-visited pieces and get still-useful content in front of more readers’ eyes.
Tip: Lead your newsletter with your most recently published article and then choose supplemental blog posts to include that follow a similar theme.
4. Segmentation and campaigns allow you to personalize emails for all audiences
Not all prospects are the same. Your newsletters shouldn’t be either. Content that would be a perfect fit for someone just starting down the path of the buyer’s journey wouldn’t necessarily make sense to send to a prospect that’s one step away from making a purchase.
Each lead that’s coming to you has different goals, audiences, industries, products, boards of directors to answer to, etc. By developing segmented campaigns, you can curate different email strategies for each specific situation and prospect.
Worried that creating multiple different types of emails to send out every week will add another page or ten to your to-do list? Let this give you some motivation: According to the Direct Marketing Association, marketers have seen a 760 percent increase in revenue from segmented email campaigns. Well worth it, I’d say.
5. You can get valuable insights about your audience
Once you get the ball rolling on your email strategy, you’ll be able to start digging into some trends and data. Having a regular set of email campaigns can help you determine so many things about your audience, such as what makes them actually OPEN emails, what they click once they’re reading it, if they make a purchase after clicking a link in an email, and what causes them to opt out of receiving messages in the future.
First, you need to decide which metrics matter to you and which you find important to measure. Once you have that set, you can start using your findings to craft an effective experience for your different segments. Here are some examples of trends you might notice:
- Some industries might have a lower CTR on emails that are over 500 words, while others might go through and click links that appear in all sections of a long-form message.
- You might find that you have a better open rate on emails that have a straightforward subject line, rather than something more click-baity.
- Perhaps you’ll start to see an increase of opt-outs for a certain segment if you send too many emails in a one-week period.
- Some segments might be more inclined to click promo links than others, some might be more apt to forward to a friend, etc.
Analyzing these behaviors in your list can help you tailor what you send out to best match what your reader wants to see and interact with.
Also, once your audience size is large enough, you’ll be able to start A/B testing and trying out some experiments. For example, when we saw that Moz was sending out full-length blog posts in their emails, we wanted to see how our audience would react to the same technique.
6. You’re able to cultivate post-sale relationships with customers
And lastly, one of the biggest reasons why email campaigns are so important to your content marketing strategy: You’re able to continue your relationship with clients after they’ve completed a purchase and turn them into return visitors and, hopefully, repeat buyers.
Using email marketing as a tool to grow post-sale customer relationships can be simple. It really just is a matter of prioritizing follow-up and maintaining continued campaigns. Here are just a few ideas:
- Send them new and updated content relevant to gated content they’ve accessed previously
- Ask clients to complete a survey about their experience and attach a promo as a thank-you
- Reach out to them when new products and services are available
- Utilize clients as a focus group by sending out “sneak peeks” of new content and asking for feedback
- Invite recipients to exclusive gated content opportunities, such as webinars and more niche blog posts
A well-planned email newsletter campaign is an integral part of your content marketing strategy
Now that you know why you should have an automated email marketing campaign as part of your content marketing strategy, it’s time to start planning. It might seem overwhelming at first, especially when you start thinking of all the different audiences you’d like to reach at each specific stage of their buyer’s journey, but just start small and go from there. Begin with one campaign, determine the content, theme, cadence and KPIs, and see how your audience reacts.