Email Marketing Part 3: The Content

So far you have defined the reasons why you want to contact your subscribers and the frequency with which you will contact them via email.

Now its time to work out what type of content you will be sending them that will not only stop them from unsubscribing but create a perception that encourages the subscriber to react the way you want them to.

The best approach we can recommend in order to provide great content to your subscribers is ask yourself the following two questions:

“What would I be interested in receiving?” and “What would I not be interested in receiving?”

Common sense in this area is fundamental to success. For example would your subscribers be really interested in an email that only contained the following:

  1. How fantastic your product/service is.
  2. How many awards your product has won.
  3. How fantastic you are.
  4. How bad your competitors are.
  5. How fantastic you and your products/services are together.

Would you like to receive an email from a business that just contained sales talk?

We wouldn’t and we know most of your subscribers wouldn’t either.

What they would like however is:

  1. Interesting and helpful information about the product/service they are interested in hearing about.
  2. Great deals on your products/services.
  3. Other news or information covering the topic of interest. For example if you are providing information about computers then a good idea is to supply information about topics that would be of interest such as the latest virus or the latest gadget.

A Word on Personalisation

Personalisation can be very powerful when used within email content. For example using “Hello Marc” instead of just plain “Hello” gives a perception of intimacy with the subscriber and makes the subscriber feel that the message is purely for them.

However you can quickly go over the top with personalisation and in fact scare the subscriber off! For example if you are a mortgage broker and through legitimate means you knew if your subscribers had mortgages with the top banks:

“Hello Marc,
Since you live in Wellington, New Zealand and have a mortgage with BNZ we would like to offer…”

Now as a subscriber would you be worried about what the mortgage broker is doing with your private data?

Research conducted by the College of Business at the University of Illinois on the subject of personalisation within emails further enforces our recommendation.

  1. Displaying a recipient’s personal information just for the sake of it can backfire: recipients may feel threatened.
  2. If you do display personal data, only do so where there is an explicit connection between this data and the email’s content. Like this:
    “As a resident of Wellington, we’d like to invite you to the opening of our new store in town.”
  3. The more useful your emails, the more recipients tolerate sub-optimal practices.
  4. Most important:Personalisation is more about tailoring your email’s content based on what you know about the recipient (demographics, past clickthrough behavior, purchase records etc.) and less about showing off to recipients how much you know about them.

Placement of Important Information within Your Email

When thinking about the content for your email campaign we suggest you prioritise the different topics in order of their importance. The more important the topic the closer to the top of the email it should be.

Research has found that information “above the fold” will have higher clickthrough rate than information at the bottom of the email. It makes sense but not many people put it into practice.

“Above the Fold” is a term used to define the part of the email that appears in the preview pane of an email client (see image above for an example).

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