Now Read This! Does Email Marketing Still Work?


If your inbox looks anything like mine, you spend the first half-hour of your day deleting unwanted emails. Sometimes they’re spam. Sometimes they’re from well-meaning businesses. But they’re all unwanted.

I have to admit that some of this is my fault. I often don’t take the time to unsubscribe from spam emails the first time I get them. I just hit delete and move on.

Of course, I’m eager to open emails from many businesses. When I’ve subscribed to their newsletter and I get useful information once a week (and no more than once a week), I often read through their entire email and may even click on a link. I may even go to their website. It happens. Good email marketing works on me.

This gets at the heart of the email marketing problem. How do you get someone to not only open your email, but also read (or at least skim) your message? Better yet, how do you convince them to take action and visit your website?

Step 1: Grab Their Attention
First of all, you need to clearly understand your goals and the purpose of the email. Is it an educational piece? A notification for an event? A promotion for a product? (I don’t mind the occasional promotional email from a company as long as the vast majority of them aren’t blatantly selling.)

Next up, write a great subject line. “Great” is subjective, of course, but… See what I did there? I tried to be clever. And it didn’t work. The tone of your subject line should reflect your brand. If the rest of your company’s messaging is playful, by all means, be witty with your subject lines. If not, stick to your own brand strategy.

Deliver on your promise
Regardless of your tone, be creative while using tried and true attention-grabbing language. For examples, see this MailChimp article for some of the best and worst subject lines. It includes open rates and comments about why each subject line is effective/ineffective.

A good rule of thumb is to be specific and clear about what your reader can expect when he or she opens the email. If your subject line promises “3 tips to get more leads through LinkedIn,” your email better not be a promotion for your lead generation software. The old bait and switch is a good way to increase your unsubscriber rate.

Step 2: Get to the Point
Now that you have our full attention, it’s time to craft a compelling message. Although the body of your email will obviously depend on a broad range of factors, generally speaking, you want to keep it short and sweet. Get to the point quickly. At best, your casual readers are going to skim it, so they better see the value right away.

Integrate email into your content marketing strategy
When your goal is to keep prospects and clients engaged with your brand, integrating email into your content strategy can be very effective–if you do it right. This is especially true for attracting more qualified traffic to your blog and increasing the reach of your articles.

You can improve everything from email opens to click-through rates to engagement by using this simple but effective strategy. We use it with clients in our content marketing program to leverage the articles we write, optimize, and post on their sites.

Here’s what to do once a new article is live on your blog:
1. Assuming that you’ve already written an intriguing headline for the article, you should be able to reuse it for the email’s subject line. Easy enough.
2. Write a short introductory paragraph for the email. This “teaser” should concisely describe the article, providing just enough information to pique the interest of your readers. Follow this with a call-to-action that includes a link to the article on your blog.
3. Don’t forget to include the image you used for the blog post as well.

This approach lets your subscribers quickly digest the reason for your email, and then decide whether to click-through to read the entire article. Even better, rather than just giving everything away in the email, you’re encouraging them to interact with your website. If they find your content to be valuable, there’s also a good chance they’ll browse other blog posts. Plus, they’re much more likely to dig deeper into your site to view products and services pages.

Give your prospects what they want
Repeat this process once a week as you continue to grow your subscriber list. It’s a sure-fire way to attract your target audience to your website and encourage prospects to interact with your content. It won’t take long for you to become a trusted resource and even be seen as a thought leader in your niche–all while shortening the buying cycle.

Do you use email marketing as part of your larger content marketing strategy? Share your experience and results in the comments section below.

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