Without a content strategy for email, the success of your campaign is based on luck. Developing a strategy will not only increase your results, but it also prevents futile effort and wasted monetary resources.
Recent research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs shows that over 63% of business owners do not have a documented content marketing strategy for email.
Holy moly! This is amazing because we all learned in the 4th grade that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Follow these steps will help you create a content strategy that grows your business without wasting money, time, and effort.
How to create a content strategy for email
State your purpose and goals:
Even before defining your audience, you’ll want to identify your purpose and goals for creating this content strategy. Write them out clearly so you can focus on what you want to accomplish.
This could be in the form of a short statement. Your statement should outline your target audience, define the type of content to create, and the benefits you’ll expect to receive.
Evaluate the success rate of your previous content: Many businesses have a lot of content, but is that content working to achieve your goals? Before starting a new content marketing strategy, it’s vital to understand if your previous content is helping you meet your goal.
You’ll need to do a content audit. Make a list of all your content, emails, and blog posts. Look at your current content with Google Search Console and your email platform analytics.
What’s working? What have you had the most success with? Examine the failures to see what’s missing and identify new areas that need your attention.
I keep a Google spreadsheet with all my blog posts. I use a Zapier Zap to automatically fill in the spreadsheet when I publish a blog post.
After writing this post, I’ve kept track of my post promotion via social media and email. Then once a week on my planning day, I check my Google Search Console to see where my traffic is landing on my website and update my spreadsheet with the comments and shares I’ve had on my blog.
My newsletters consist of my blog posts, so I pay attention to any Mailchimp links coming into my blog posts.
Know your target audience:
Defining your audience helps you create engaging content that meets their needs. When I went through this exercise in Marie Forleo’s Bschool it was mind-blowing.
One of the things that Marie insists is to have one ideal client, not several. This was super painful for me as I thought I had several different audiences.
But when I finally gave in and dissected my ideal client Marie’s way, I discovered that my several audiences had so much in common that they were really only one audience.
Now I know my ideal client so well that I can think and speak like them. It’s easier to create content they like and love because I can talk to their needs and their fears. I know what causes their stress and keeps them up at night.
Pick a topic:
Knowing your audience isn’t enough; it’s essential to create content that meets their needs. Before choosing a topic, brainstorm to make sure you’re creating unique and engaging content.
Create unique content:
This is the most critical and time-consuming task you have when creating content. To have a successful content strategy for email, you must create unique content that is compelling enough to make your viewers read.
Here are a few tips to help you create unique content.
- Research the content – Even if you know all about the subject, go a bit further and a little deeper to see if you have gaps in your knowledge. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.
- Use an active voice – When I read an article that uses passive voice or is preachy, I don’t read long. I always do my best to use contractions wherever possible. It creates an immediate intimacy with the reader.
- Break text blocks into shorter sentences – Big blocks of text are psychologically exhausting.
It’s like your looking at a big block wall of text that you have to climb over to understand. Yes, you can do it, but you’d rather not have to. Break text into no more than 3 to 5 lines in a paragraph.
- Remove as many words as possible – Don’t droll on and on and on. Make your article succinct and eloquent. Don’t use 10 words when you can use 5.
- Proofread your content to guarantee it’s error-free – I read my articles out loud and scan them from bottom to top to make sure my article flows, and I’ve corrected all the double periods and misspellings.
- Speak the language of your audience
To write is human, to edit is divine.-Stephen King
Define your Key Performance Indicators:
To meet your goals and objectives, clearly define your key performance indicators (KPI), which must be measurable and specific. By doing this, you’ll know exactly when you’ve reached a milestone in terms of traffic, sales, and revenue.
For instance, your KPI might be to get x number of email subscribers in a week or to hit a specific number of incoming inquiries in a month.
Design for mobile:
It’s vital your audience can easily read and use your email using their mobile devices. Nowadays, almost everyone uses their mobile device to access their email. Therefore failing to optimize your email for a small screen will get your message ignored, and your efforts are wasted.
Create a Content Calendar:
Develop a content calendar with send days and times. For me, if I don’t put something on my calendar, it never gets done. You can use Google calendar and add dates for each article and email send.
My friend Bridget Willard has a brilliant and helpful content planning worksheet at a very reasonable price. You might want to grab one to use for your email marketing content calendar. Bridget’s Content Planner Worksheet
Deliver your content:
All your effort in content strategy, writing, and designing your email is a colossal failure if your email doesn’t land in your reader’s inbox.
Evaluate your strategy:
A successful content strategy is a continuous process that’s evaluated, optimized, and refined for maximum performance. Evaluate what your stats to know what areas you need to work on.
Measure these metrics:
- Inbox placement rate
- Bounced emails – check for misspelling and transpositions
- Open rate
- Click-through rate (purchases)
- Unsubscribe rate
- Marked as spam rate
Finally, creating a content strategy for email is so beneficial. This may make you cringe, but create a strategy and plan to hold yourself accountable for success.
Planning will increase your return on investment, and guarantee the right messages get to the right audience. You’ll stand out from your competitors.