According to many technologists (as well as hopeful office workers), email should have gone the way of the dodo years ago. And yet technology market research firm The Radicati Group estimates that there will be 306 billion emails sent each day by 2020.
Part of the reason email has survived technological extinction is that marketers and platforms have gotten smarter with how they use it. Spam filters can catch the lonely hearts and come-ons for magical supplements; solid marketers use permission-based tactics (e.g., email newsletters) and targeted approaches (e.g., drip campaigns) to reach their prospects; companies like HubSpot and Vero have made automation and personalization easy; and GDPR has made marketers focus on opt-in — all good things for the long-term health of email marketing.
Another reason for email's survival is that it remains effective. According to the 2018 Email Marketing Industry Census by Econsultancy and Adestra, email marketing continues to be the most effective marketing channel by ROI, with more than 70 percent of client-side marketers rating it as "excellent" or "good."
So email is important and should be a key part of your content marketing strategy. But should you spend your time developing a well-crafted drip campaign to nurture your leads to a sales decision, or should you focus more on growing an email list for a curated email newsletter to share valuable information and stay top of mind?
The answer is yes.
A drip campaign is a series of automated email messages that members of your audience receive when they take certain actions, like downloading a piece of gated content or signing up for a webinar you're hosting. Drip campaigns can be as simple as automated check-ins with prospects to provide resources based on their stage of the buyer journey, or they can be as complex as emails triggered by various specific actions members of your audience take (or don’t take) on your website.
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Drip emails are essential to effective content marketing because they allow you to automatically deliver personalized messages and highly relevant content to your audience members and nurture them to a desired action.
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By identifying your target audiences and their unique needs, you can begin building campaigns and crafting messages that deliver the right content at the right time — a practice that's integral to good distribution and the value of your content strategy.
Because you have a multifaceted content strategy, you have a lot of great content to share with your audience — and not all of it can (or necessarily should) fit into drip campaigns that are specifically designed to nurture recipients to a decision. Use your content for ongoing engagement and education and to maintain top-of-mind status with your audience by sending email newsletters.
What better way to provide additional, ongoing value to your list than through a curated newsletter filled with links to blog posts, articles, and resources that will make your audience members' lives easier? Email newsletters are the ultimate show-don’t-tell opportunity for thought leadership that proves you know the ideas, trends, and people that are affecting your industry.
Your email newsletters may not be triggered by specific actions in the same way as your drip campaigns, but they should still be customized to your audience's interests. You can create newsletters to share the content you published over the last month, for example, or content on a specific topic.
Influence & Co. recently launched a pair of email newsletters highlighting some of the best articles on marketing and entrepreneurship we read over the course of a week. The newsletters allow us to share great examples of contributed content from the publications we work with — including some articles contributed by our clients. (Check out our email newsletter featuring some of the best articles we see each week in publications that focus on marketing and entrepreneurship.)
Our attachment to our phones has made it easier to check email constantly throughout the day (even bathrooms appear to be fair game for popping into Gmail). Drip campaigns and email newsletters create opportunities for you to reach your audience members when, how, and with what content they want to be reached.
They also give you the chance to get more mileage out of the content you're creating. That whitepaper you just published would be a perfect value-add to an email in a drip campaign to follow up with attendees from your last webinar. It can also be featured in your monthly newsletter along with a related article you wrote and a link to an episode of an industry podcast that featured you as a guest. Consistently sharing the content you create helps you become a valuable resource for your audience, keeps your brand top of mind, and gets your message out there to the right people.
Marketers focusing on opt-in lists and getting better at personalization and measurement have helped make email a key part of any content strategy. And a desire to get better control of their time and filter out the noise has brought many people back to email, an activity with a defined beginning and end, in contrast to the rabbit holes of social media.
By implementing a regular email newsletter that your audience looks forward to getting on a regular basis, as well as drip campaigns tailored to each client’s and prospect’s interests, you can take advantage of a channel that continues to defy the rumors of its impending demise.
Like a good game of Tetris, I love connecting people and ideas. Exploring new places, new technologies, and well-crafted stories make me a better person. I am on a crusade to bring back the handwritten thank-you note.