Marketers are familiar with the credo, "Content is king," a concept that's as wildly popular today as it was when Bill Gates started a craze with his column in 1996. With so many sources of content, it's a challenge to get your customers to pay attention to (and share) your content unless you're saying something pretty interesting — or, of course, unless you're sending a laughing baby video. While we can all appreciate the value of a good YouTube video, it can be hard to fully grasp how this trend applies to the average email marketer. Not every piece of content will go viral, nor should it. How will you create content that nonetheless stands out?
While special offers and coupons are an effective way to reward subscribers and increase revenue, and while a funny video can occasionally do the trick, recipients really want to hear the knowledge and expertise that you have. This is a form of content marketing that positions you to engage your fans and strengthen your brand. What sort of specialized knowledge can you provide? If you can answer this question — and build a strategy around your content — you'll expand your brand's reach without ever having to discount services.
This article does a great job of demonstrating this trend, even breaking it down by answers for B2B and B2C marketers. It includes a visual representation of ongoing research by the "RF Intent Index," which studies the reasons that people go online. Some examples are to shop, to do business, for personal expression and to learn. The results may surprise you.
As the article explains, selling, informing and entertaining make for successful messaging balance. We're all pretty familiar with sales goals, right? And entertaining finds its way into a content strategy pretty easily with the right dedication to a bit of humor. But, based on this research, the opportunity to learn is the clear winner that drives people to go online.
This concept is easy to understand but harder to implement in email. Still, it doesn't take anything revolutionary or out-of-the-box. Sharing your expertise in an accessible, human way is often all it takes.
Let me take a moment to share a few examples from my inbox. My insurance agency emails me tips on driving safely on ice and keeping my home safe from burst pipes, which is simple knowledge to them, but not necessarily to me. Since it's helping to keep me (and my home) safe, I'm always interested.
I also welcome advice from furniture stores and home-related blogs that teach me how to maximize a small space. I enjoy getting cooking secrets from well-known chefs, and a recent footwear brand's email included links to videos of "barefoot running," a new hobby of mine. Clearly, each brand is hoping that I will continue buying, and they're making sure that their sell/inform/entertain messaging is balanced to keep me interested throughout the entire customer life cycle.
Think about the best ways to share your expertise with your fans, or if you're an Emma Agency, how you can encourage your clients to effectively share their own. If you have questions along the way, let us know.