When we talk about content marketing, many marketers immediately think about inbound marketing, simply said all forms of marketing (search, blog marketing etc.) where people find our businesses in the online world.
E-mail marketing is somewhat in a hybrid position, but it is clear that e-mail marketing is also - and often mainly - a form of outbound marketing. But this doesn't mean that content marketing and e-mail marketing doesn't coincide. On the contrary! E-mail marketers can improve the relevance of their campaigns a lot if they stay up to date on the strategic steps and 'best practices' of content marketing.
The role of content is after all increasingly growing in e-mail marketing, from various viewpoints.
E-mail marketing is under pressure
E-mail marketing is still the channel with the best ROI and the preferred interaction channel for business communication. All messages concerning the end of e-mail marketing are unjust, but one can't deny that e-mail is under pressure in times of overloaded inboxes. With the increased choice of media and the abundance of communication channels in an era where people have more and more control, e-mail marketing has to be more pertinent and personalized than ever before. Valuable content is crucial but we must also focus more on customized content. E-mail marketers wanting to score have to look at content in function of the needs of various segments and individual recipients, using tools and best practices to manage marketing pressure.
E-mail marketing is everywhere
In the past most people read their e-mails in desktop clients and most e-mail interactions occurred via the known, conventional way. Today we have web-based e-mail, mobile e-mail, social media and even digital television, to name but a few. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are also used to e-mail and it is important to look at these. The inbox and the placement of our e-mail in the inbox is becoming more and more fragmented. For example, if you have a LinkedIn Group where you have brought people or customers together around a theme, you can also mail this group every now and then. The same applies for other community-platforms. Even RSS feeds may form a part of an e-mail strategy because, if you allow them to, people can subscribe to a RSS-driven newsletter with blog posts. E-mail is far from dead, it is everywhere and for all these e-mail clients, platforms, formats and devices e-mail marketers have to ensure an adapted user experience and…adapted content. The recipient is the criterion.
E-mail marketing is integrated
E-mail marketing forms a part of a cross-channel approach where segmenting and lead nurturing are central. A prospect has different content needs than a client; a customer interested in a specific product group needs different content than a customer that purchases other products. Content is crucial in a cross-channel lead nurturing process, but also in e-mail programs for existing clients. The integration of e-mail with other channels and systems for analysis and segmentation of recipients and their communication behavior ensures that e-mail marketers have more options than ever before to serve the right content on the right moment. That is essential for the commitment of the subscriber and per definition also for conversion and even deliverability. The use of all these techniques to continuously offer efficient content is not a choice. It is a 'must' because people demand it in a changing communication landscape.
Therefore e-mail marketing and content marketing are actually very closely related and every e-mail marketer should try to be a good content marketer.
Don't be active in e-mail marketing without content strategy and learn about efficient content and how you can find it. And…don't forget to measure and analyze the ROI.