Commentary

Maximizing Results When Email Isn't About Sales

Email is very well known as a direct-response tool, and there is plenty of free advice available to help sellers maximize their results and measure them effectively. But what about tips for editorial emails designed with content instead of sales as the primary driver?

Here are the top five things you should do to get the best results from your email content:

1. Know your goals. If you have content to send in an email, you're being measured on something. It might be website visits, audience size, or click-throughs. Whatever it is, you need to understand the goal in terms of absolute numbers and growth. This will lead to metrics and measures that are right for your business.

2. Cross-promote your content. Your sports content could be driving interest in other sports, business, or general news content -- if only you'd think to ask for a subscription. Most of us forget to do this. Start by looking at your existing subscribers who read more than one of your content emails, and see if there's a pattern in what they choose to subscribe to. You'll want your "recommended reading" to include one or two items that similar subscribers found engaging, one or two items that you think are closely related, and potentially one item that's a complete wild card. Make it easy for subscribers to sign up for more content, and you'll be surprised at the response.

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3. Don't give your content away. It's tempting to put an entire article into an email and send it off, knowing that your subscribers will engage with that content while they read the article. But it's not likely to help you meet your goals. Instead, tease your audience with the headline and first 25 - 50 words or the first paragraph of your article, and then provide a link to read the full article online. This is basic for some of us, but I'm always surprised by how many publishers still give away their content without asking for a measurable action in return. Content has value. Even if your subscribers aren't paying for that value with real money, they should be exchanging something for the content you provide.

4. Consider display media. If you have a website, you probably have the ability to display ads in emails as well as on your site. Stop hardcoding the ads in your emails. Instead, serve them properly so you can maximize value.

5. Dynamically serve content. You might consider dynamically serving some pieces of your content. You can do this to cater to smaller segments without creating a ton of new content, or to test the value of some content and let a dynamic serving engine act on (and therefore immediately maximize) your results.  Either way, it's an advanced way to continually test the value of your content. And yes, you should definitely be testing.

What are you doing with your editorial email content to maximize results? Share here.

2 comments about "Maximizing Results When Email Isn't About Sales".
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  1. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International, March 22, 2011 at 12:13 a.m.

    I totally agree Gretchen about the link. Send them to the full version at a blog or dedicated page. By doing this you have engaged them in some way. Our bets results for clients comes from getting email marketing recipients to click through to a site and then make a couple of more clicks to get the Offer. Conversions are higher. I like the idea of dedicate post because you can grab that URL and send it out through social media sites with a teaser header and subscribers are taken direct to the post. Cheers Kurt - Australia's Leading Email Marketing Strategist to the Small/Medium Business Market.

  2. Gretchen Scheiman from Liveclicker, March 22, 2011 at 1:07 p.m.

    Kurt, a dedicated post is a great idea. It can be challenging to find the bounds of how to share your content across social media, but when you can share it's a great way to gain new interest. Thanks for commenting!

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