Alright folks, it’s time to evaluate the relationship between you and your subscribers. Think about your last two weeks' worth of marketing emails, or maybe even your last month’s. How often did you give your customers something that was engaging, inspiring, educational or just plain fun?
After a quick dig through my inbox, it looks like most companies are still just trying to make their sales numbers, instead of trying to build lifelong relationships with customers.
But, these four quick stats show that content marketing can have a positive effect on a customer's view of a brand and a positive impact on a company’s reach and ultimately, its bottom line:
And here comes the one you'll want to share with the big wigs in your office...
While there are countless other stats that prove the value of content marketing, they're not much help when you’re not sure where to begin.
To give you a little inspiration, here are three ways companies are using editorial content to connect with their customers. They just might help you find a way to connect with yours.
1. Encourage them to get engaged
At the bottom of this email, Anthropologie gives you a quick look at their current store windows. When you click through to their blog, they show you nine more photos and invite you to share and tag your own window pics on Instagram with #anthrowindows. So far, up to 1600 photos have been tagged.
From Abercrombie & Fitch
A&F asked its fans to tweet their questions to featured stars, including actors Steven R. McQueen, Debby Ryan and Diego Boneta. Over a month later, fans are still asking Diego whether he has a girlfriend and/or how to get one.
Although I’ve been married a couple of years now, when I got this email I just had to click on that Take the Quiz link to “find my bridal style”.
Quizzes are easy to create, fun to take and even more fun to share. Why do you think those Buzzfeed quizzes (“Which Full House Character Are YOU?”) are filling up your Facebook feed? If you have a lot of merchandise, something like this can help your customers narrow their search and give them something fun to share on their lunch break.
This LEGO email is absolutely packed with fun content—as it should be! In the top module, there’s a building contest for readers that’s tied to this year’s super successful LEGO movie. Then there’s a bottom module filled with tips and tricks for a LEGO webgame, and right next to that is a LEGO Friends “How do you juice?” quiz—it even generates a recipe based on your answers.
2. Give them a little inspiration
The team at Burton sends out a monthly email called Features + Videos filled with some of their latest blog content. This one had a post on how they used their new pack on a quick trip to NYC, plus an inspiring behind-the-scenes video of their spring/summer photo shoot that just made me want to start planning my Memorial Day Weekend trip.
From The North Face
The North Face has a blog called Never Stop Exploring—perfect for their audience of adventurers and athletes. At the bottom of this email, they feature a story about a ropeless, free-solo mountain climbing adventure in Mexico. If you’re a thrillseeker, how can you not click on that?
Pinterest creates its own content and leverages its user-generated content to inspire pinners throughout the year. This February, I received an email that included recipes pinned by users for the perfect Super Bowl party...
...and another with special Valentine’s Day pins for you to share created by Pinterest’s own team of designers. Cute!
3. Teach them something new
Just in time for spring, Campmor sent me an email with a blog post called Foraging Wild Edibles. They know camping season is right around the corner and they want to get their readers in an outdoor state of mind. Here, they mix their educational content with promotional content by showing related books right below.
I think my friends and I have been trying to master the smoky eye since the 8th grade. Sephora somehow knows this and featured a how-to video by one of their makeup pros at the bottom of a recent email. Even though this three-minute video was first posted in December, it’s pretty much timeless and they do the smart thing by reusing it in an email at the end of February for those who might’ve missed it the first time.
On the high end, Frette has a Featured Hotel Series that it’s been promoting for almost six months. About once a month, they send me an email with a quick history of one of their favorite, most luxurious hotels from around the world. If you click through to the landing page, you’ll find an interview with the hotel’s general manager. Oh...and at all of these hotels, you’ll find Frette’s superluxe linens. Brilliant.
So hopefully those examples got you thinking about your own content marketing strategy.
Think about the content you already have and what you think your readers want or need to see. This can include in-store photos, social contests, catalog editorials, in-app features, interviews with your fab designers, interviews with your CEO, how-to articles, a summer playlist on Spotify, a short video of your office mascot, a cool new microsite, posts from your blog, a fun quiz and so on and so on.
Then think about which content works best, when, where, and for who.
Remember, email marketing is a lot like dating. You won’t get that first or second date just because he or she smiled at you (in this case, signed up for your emails). You have to keep them interested in what you have to say and get them talking back to you. Once they see that you’re passionate about what you do—and that you’re not just into them for their credit card digits—they’ll begin to trust you, they’ll begin to tell their friends just how amazing you are and before you know it, you both might just find yourselves in a long-term relationship.
Are there any other companies out there giving you a serious case of content envy? What kinds of content have you included in your emails? Share your thoughts below in the comments.