March 23rd, 2016

This is the first in a series of posts exploring forms of content marketing, both old and new.

In this first post, we focus on the resurgence of mailing lists and email marketing focussing on the ways it can be used to great effect to grow you brand.

Sending out emails to mailing lists may seem like old technology – why bother when you already have all those other social channels filled to the brim with followers? Well, the problem is that the lovely social content you’re posting is not likely to be reaching as large an audience as you’re hoping. Not only are you competing with a veritable torrent of other posts, but most likely as a brand, you may simply be being filtered out by a large number of followers.

A Monetate Report found found the conversion rates per session for email were bigger than search and social combined

There’s a growing set of businesses and entrepreneurs that are utilising mailing lists to increase sales and grow their user base. By writing quality content, which is focused on sharing knowledge and insight, they can build trust and long term relationships to loyal fans. The subscribers are not only opening and consuming the content sent to them, but they are actually becoming paying customers of their products and services as a direct result of this engagement. This is why, used correctly, a mailing list can enjoy much higher viewership and click-through rates than other forms of communication.

Now, this picture sounds pretty, but this is not the simple newsletter blasts utilised by most brands. There are four key principles that should be used to get effective results.

1. Content Value
2. Regularity
3. Niche audience
4. Strategic promotion

1. Content value

Maybe not surprising, but it’s a busy world out there, and consumers will not engage with your content unless they feel they’re getting value from it. A piece of content that has value would usually sit in one of two general categories:

i. Source of entertainment
ii. Informative or engaging

90% of the emails sent to a list should sit in one of these two categories. The key is that it should really try and focus, for the most part, on a particular interest area that really engages with the audience. If people on the email list feel like they are getting informative, interesting content, that makes it worth opening and you have a successive email. This content could really be on any subject, but it makes sense that it ties in with business or brand – it has to be relevant.

2. Regularity

This is pretty simple – emails should be sent at fairly even, regular intervals every 1-2 weeks. This means that you are both not bombarding the list with emails, but at the same time you are keeping a schedule, which keeps you ‘front of mind’.

3. Niche audience

Your brand may have very broad appeal, but you cannot appeal to everyone, so the key is to focus on a group that really align with element(s) of your brand’s ethos. These are ‘your people’ – the people who are really going to love who you are, and what you do.

4. Strategic promotion

The content you’re sending out can be used to tease and build-up to important promotions you really want to standout. This can be easily accomplished either as a header or footer to the email or seamlessly weaved within the main copy. So when you do send out full promotion emails that you wish to feature, they are less likely to fall on deaf ears as your list is already looking out for your next email.

This is a basic philosophy and it my take some experimentation to find a voice that really connects and grounds your brand as insightful and truly interesting to you readers. Once you’ve found that voice or what works within your audience email list can truly be a powerful tool.