***This blog about using email marketing in your content strategy originally went live in August 2018, but I’ve updated it to include more up-to-date information and resources. You can also listen to an episode I did on the Stories in Small Business podcast about the topic.***
If you’re not using email marketing in your content strategy, you’re missing a huge part of your audience on a regular basis. Not only should you consistently work to build your list, but you need to use that list (as in, send emails to it!) regularly too.
It took me a long time to get on board with email marketing in my content strategy, far longer than it should have. I was busy helping clients with their content, growing their email lists and supporting their content goals.
As a result, I’ve hit many hills and valleys in my business over the years. (This is as true today as it was in August 2018 when this blog originally went live.) I’ve been so busy that I’ve had to subcontract out work and I’ve been so slow that I’ve started applying for jobs. Honestly, I only have myself to blame for that.
First, I wasn’t consistent in any of the content I was creating for my audience. And I certainly wasn’t building my list or connecting with the very small crowd that was following me.
Nope, I relied on word of mouth, social media posts and client referrals to keep me afloat. Sure, all of those methods worked, to a point. But eventually it was time for me to step up and create a real content strategy that focused on meeting my audience where they were–in their inboxes.
Why is email marketing such an essential part of your overall strategy? So glad you asked! The benefits of email are so often overlooked that it’s scary. Here are just a few of them.
You own your email list
What if Facebook shut down business pages…tomorrow? Or Instagram decided that your account had to go? Scare tactics aside, it could happen. (I mean, it probably won’t, but you never know.)
But honestly, algorithms change every other stinking day and it’s more and more frustrating to try to gain followers and encourage engagement. People aren’t seeing your posts like they used to, which means they have no idea what you’re up to.
That’s where email comes in. Your subscribers have trusted you with their email addresses because they like what you have to say and they want more of it. And no one can take that away from you, except the subscribers themselves.
[bctt tweet=”Your subscribers want to hear from you, just one reason why email marketing needs to be part of your content strategy.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Pro Tip: Use those email lists to reach your audience in their inboxes and stop shying away with the I have nothing to say excuse. You do have something to say–look at what you’re posting on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube! So change up the message, add to it, provide more value and send that email already!
Online business owners are forever trying to find the least expensive way to reach their audience. This often leads them to free email services, like MailChimp, which doesn’t do much for your open rates or deliverability. I personally recommend one of the paid services (my favorite is ActiveCampaign) because you’ll still see an ROI that’s up to 4x higher than social media.
Think about it. If you have 1,000 subscribers on your list, you’re only paying $17 or $49 per month (depending on what features you need) on the bottom two tiers of ActiveCampaign. That’s less than $50 per month to reach 1,000 people who want to hear from you. Maybe your open rates are about 40 percent, which isn’t unheard of if you’re delivering quality content consistently.
So now you have 400 people on your list who you know will open and read your emails every week for less than $50 per month. That’s about $.12 per subscriber per month (less if you have a better open rate). Compare that to Facebook ads, where you have to jump through Facebook’s ever-changing hoops, create graphics or a video and design a targeted audience that you hope will click on the ad (and then convert). Not only can it be costly, but it can also be really frustrating.
Of course, Facebook ads can be an effective tool in your overall marketing strategy. However, for small business owners just trying to establish a community among their followers, email marketing is a better bet.
Need help with your content strategy? Join my FREE Content Strategy Clarity Challenge!
[bctt tweet=”Email marketing is one of the most cost efficient ways to get your message out–even when using a paid provider.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Pro Tip: Stay away from the free email providers and use a paid service like ActiveCampaign. With open rates and ROIs as high as they are, you’re much better off spending your money there vs. Facebook ads and other paid services.
Drives traffic to other content
You send an email that links to your content. Someone clicks on that link, enjoys the content and shares that content on social media. Others see that content, click on it and you get more traffic to your content. And the cycle continues.
Of course, you don’t want to simply share a list of your recent blog posts, podcasts or videos. But when you can naturally link to your (and other) content within your emails, you’ve found the secret sauce. Case in point: You wrote a killer blog post this week that includes your recent YouTube video. You email your subscribers to tell the story behind that blog post and link to the blog within the body of the email. Boom. More traffic to your website.
Or maybe you went live on Facebook and started a new conversation you don’t want your subscribers to miss. Within that Live, you included a link to a free challenge you’re offering. Not only can you send your subscribers to that Live (which then increases the engagement even more and improves your findability on Facebook), but you can also get more people signed up for your challenge as a result.
Not everyone sees everything you post on social media or your website. That email helps to drive more traffic–ensuring that your subscribers (the most important people in your audience) see your content and that you’re improving the overall reach of that content also.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t copy and paste content into your emails, but do include strategic links to drive traffic to it.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Pro Tip: How often do you share content on your podcast, blog or YouTube channel? You should email your audience at least that often, linking to that original content.
Delivers exclusive value
Your subscribers should be excited to open your emails every week, knowing that you’re giving them something that you’re not giving to anyone else online (at least not anyone who’s not on your list!).
It’s like you’re dating. You wouldn’t buy just anyone in the bar a drink. You’re only buying a drink for that special someone (or someones) you’re courting. When you’re enjoying your drinks together, you’re getting to know one another and learning. It’s how you decide if you want to see the other person again and how you determine if your values match up. (Are they good for a few dates or are they someone you want to spend time with long-term?)
Email is a great place to really get to know someone and to let them get to know you. It’s the perfect place for more personal stories, more value and even exclusive offers. Regular, consistent emails that are full of exclusive value help to build brand loyalty because subscribers get something that no one else does.
[bctt tweet=”Every email you send your subscribers needs to be stuffed full of exceptional value–not sales messages.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Pro Tip: Deliver value with every email. Teach your audience something new, something you didn’t include on your podcast, blog post or YouTube channel. When your audience learns that your emails are stuffed full of new information, they’ll learn to start opening them. This improves your deliverability and puts you in a great position when it’s time to send sales emails.
Allows you to deliver exactly what your audience wants
When you segment your list, you can deliver just what someone wants, instead of spraying and praying that someone’s paying attention. It’s key when using email marketing. According to MailChimp (nope, not my favorite service but this is good data), campaigns sent to segmented lists get more than 14 percent more opens and more than 100 percent more clicks than campaigns to non-segmented lists. And unsubscribes are also lower when you’re delivering exactly what your audience wants in that segmented list.
So how do you segment? Within your emails, especially your welcome sequence, ask questions like What’s your biggest frustration with ABC? and provide several options for subscribers to choose from. You can tell your email service to tag subscribers based on what they clicked on, allowing you to deliver content that helps them move past that frustration.
You can also segment your audience based on what they’ve opted into (a specific freebie, challenge or webinar) or what they’ve purchased from you. Other segment ideas include geography, business experience, age of their children, health goals, etc. Whatever is important for you to know when marketing to your audience.
[bctt tweet=”Segmenting your list is the perfect way to deliver exactly the right message to the right people.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Pro Tip: Make segmenting as simple or as complicated as you need in order to establish the groups you need for your business. I recommend starting small and simple and expanding slowly from there. The more segments and tags you have, the more complicated your email sequences and funnels will be. Don’t jump in too far too fast.
Ties all your marketing avenues together
What types of marketing tools are you using for your business? You can promote every single one of them with email marketing. This includes podcasts (whether you’re the host or guest), blog posts, videos (no matter where they live), online summits, free challenges, contests, etc. You can even retarget your subscribers in ads, increasing conversion rates of your content.
Publish an article on Medium or LinkedIn? Let your subscribers know about it! Get quoted in an industry-specific journal? You guessed it! Are you speaking at an event? Email is a great way to let your subscribers know about it and even promote the event for the organizers.
Hopefully everything you do in business and online somehow points back to your mission, your values and your products or services–even if that connection is loose. Because if it doesn’t? Then why are you bothering with it in the first place?
[bctt tweet=”Your email marketing strategy is what ties all your marketing avenues together.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Pro Tip: Keep tabs on where you’re showing up online (um…have a strategic plan behind it). And include links from one piece of content to the other. Even better, also include links to all those marketing pieces within your regular emails. Don’t overdo the links within each email; you’ll end up confusing your audience if you do. But do be sure to share where you’re publishing and being published with your audience.
Of course, none of the benefits of having an email list makes any difference if you try to sell something in every email. Or if your emails aren’t aligned with the other content you’re publishing on a regular basis. There needs to be a clear strategy behind what you’re emailing. Make sure your strategy is aligned with your business goals and other content.
The most important thing? Start growing your email list and start sharing your valuable, exclusive content with those who subscribe.
Need help with your content strategy? Join my FREE Content Strategy Clarity Challenge!
Some links in this blog post contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through those links. I only recommend and support services and products that I have used and trust.