Use content marketing principles and hack email marketing for better email response rates.

If you use some content marketing principles you can easily hack email marketing for better response rates and more positive outcomes.

Ask five marketers what their preferred marketing channel is, and you could get five different answers. Everyone has their favorite method of getting their marketing message across. The methods will differ across different target groups.

77% of B2B purchasers said they would not even talk to a salesperson until they have done their own research. Click To Tweet

According to Statista, social media marketing is the most popular choice for small businesses across the United States at the moment. Email marketing comes in as the third most popular choice. Content marketing comes in very close to the bottom of the list. See for yourself in the chart below.

content marketing types
Source: Statista

This is a shame because content marketing can bring in three times the number of leads that paid searches can. Also, research shows that 47% of consumers require three to five touchpoints before they?re ready to make a purchase.

Content marketing has value, but it is a long-term strategy. It is difficult to work out the real return on investment here. That?s why it?s often a hard sell for marketers. What I?m suggesting instead is to apply content marketing principles to your email marketing campaigns.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is marketing that includes the production and sharing of online (digital) material.

Examples of content marketing elements include videos, blogs, audio, infographics, white papers, eBooks, and social media posts that do not promote a brand but should stimulate interest in its products or services. It’s what HubSpot calls inbound marketing.

Why Use Content Marketing Techniques with Email Marketing Campaigns?

Think about it for a second. If you’re sending out your typical sales emails all the time, what real value are you giving your subscribers? Sure, they’re getting information about a great new promotion, but there?s limited value to that.

If the person is looking for that product or knows someone who does, you’re in the money. If not, you’ve effectively wasted their time. If all your emails to them are sales-related, they might ignore them or unsubscribe. That’s counter-productive for future campaigns.

If you’re sending them valuable content, they’re more likely to read and share your emails. You’ve helped to improve their day, rather than to interrupt it. They’ll be more inclined to open your next email.

As an added advantage, they’ll help you grow your subscriber base by forwarding your emails. And, there’s nothing stopping you from having a small bit of advertising in the same email.

The added bonus is that when you create content for the emails, you have content for your blog.

How Would That Work?

Content marketing is more about building your brand than an actual sale. It’s about writing content with the emphasis being on how useful it is to the reader.  You might not even include any marketing message at all. The security firm, EveryCloud provides a great example of how well content marketing and email marketing can work together.

Have a look at one of their latest blog posts below:

email and content marketing
Source: EveryCloud Blog

What Can We Learn from the Example Listed Above?

There’s a lot that you might want to emulate here. Let’s have a look at what lessons you should take from the example.

They Put in a Consistent Effort

They create and publish a new post every week on Tuesdays. They then email that post to all the subscribers on the list. Subscribers and readers alike know that there are some great tips coming on Tuesdays.

The company is consistent with its posts, so there are no guessing games about when, or if, new content will be sent out.

They’ve Made It Easy to Subscribe

As you’ll have noticed from the example, they’ve created a simple link at the top that makes it easy to subscribe. It makes no difference whether someone sends you an email or you stumble onto the website it is easy to subscribe.

Denver digital marketing agency
Matrix Marketing Group

They?ve Created Useful Content

Looking over their past content, you?ll find that they?ve been consistent in providing useful tips and tricks. You?ll see an assortment of free tools, books to read, and simple shortcuts. If you were an IT professional, you?d be interested in these tips. You?d be happy to send them on to colleagues because they?re good tips.

They Keep the Advertising to a Minimum

The company does work some advertising into their posts. That said, it’s just a paragraph or two at the top of the post. The tips provided always make up the bulk of the messages they send out.

They’ve Made it As Simple as Possible for the Reader

Almost every post has a screenshot of the site, book, or tool they are talking about. From there, they’ve included simple links that take you straight to the website concerned. By doing this, they’ve made it even simpler for the reader.

They Encourage Engagement

Readers are actively encouraged to either email in tips or post them in the comments. When someone sends in a tip, they’ll always acknowledge the sender. This helps to further the sense of community amongst readers.

advertising firm

How You Can Incorporate Content Marketing Principles into Your Next Campaign

It’s a lot simpler than you might think. Here we’ll go through the process step by step.

Start by Segmenting Your Subscriber List

This is not new advice if you’ve done any recent research on how to hack email marketing, this is the first tip you probably learned. What I’m suggesting is to take this a step further. Consider looking at segmentation in terms of the point that the client is at in their customer journey.

CRM software can help you narrow down the prospects to those who:

  • Have bought nothing
  • Have been looking for more information
  • Have already made a purchase
  • And so on.

From there, you can opt to segment each group in terms of their demographics, location, or whatever makes the most sense to you. Then create content for each group. It’s a lot more work this way, but it also allows you to create the perfect targeted message.

You can provide the perfect piece of information at the perfect time. Take those people who have bought nothing. They might not realize that your product is the perfect solution. So, it would make sense to lead them to that conclusion.

When trying to rank for new product planning, Matrix Marketing Group was able to rank in the #1 spot in less than 3-months and its getting about 40 clicks per day. That’s great traffic.

organic keyword search

As a result, it could work to send them information related to the industry. Say that you sell water bottles made from glass because they’re more eco-friendly. You could start off with a general article about how long it takes different materials to decompose.

You could then create an article about why recycling is not the ultimate answer. Recycling is useful but requires energy. As a result, it’s better to cut back on consumption.

From there, highlight the benefits of glass bottles over plastic. Do you see where I’m going with this? Each post is related to the industry and brings you one step closer to why your product is the better option.

42% of B2B marketers say they're effective at content marketing. Click To Tweet

Each post will answer questions that your prospect might ask. You’re giving them all the information that they need to conclude that a glass water bottle is the better choice. They’re getting those three to five contact points they need to make the buying decision.

Maybe in the next post, you could offer them free shipping on their first purchase. If they’re clients that have bought from you before, you’ll do things a little differently. They already understand the benefits of using glass over plastic.

So, you’d need to lead them on a different journey. Perhaps you could create articles like gift guides, or simple hydration tips. You might follow through by offering them a discount on a matching product, or on a second purchase.

The beauty of segmentation is that you’re creating more personalized content. You’re speaking directly to a targeted group of your subscribers.

Get Ideas for Content


My advice here is to set up a simple survey checking what kind of content the person wants to receive. This email can be automatically sent out when someone subscribes, or a day or two later. You must work out what will work best for your target audience.

This survey will ask questions like:

  • What content they?d like to see more of. Ask them if they?re interested in tutorials, whitepapers, videos, and so on. You want to establish what their favorite form of content is. This can be used later to segment your subscriber list.
  • Ask what topics they?d like to see covered. If we look at our water bottle example again, you might ask if they?d like to see articles about going green, or saving money by reusing items. The answer to this question will help you come up with article ideas.
  • Ask how often they?d like to receive content. This is a great way to judge what your posting schedule should be.

Ask Your Audience to Help You Grow Your Community

social media public relations

You might assume that people will automatically share your content if it?s good enough. This is an assumption that you can?t afford to make. It never hurts to ask your audience to help spread the word.

You could use a simple appeal such as just asking them to share the email with someone else. You could also ask them to share the posts on social media. The point is ask them to assist. If you?re doing your job, they?ll be happy to help you out here.

The next step is to ensure that every email that goes out has a Share button on it.  You want to make it as easy as possible for them to share. We?re a busy society. We don?t have time to copy and paste links. So, if you want them to share your links, make it as simple as possible.

Click to enlarge

Be Consistent with Your Marketing Content

Your email campaigns and content marketing must tie into all the advertising that you use. You want the company to have the same tone of voice for all communications with the audience. You don?t want to create a sparkling email campaign that sends people to a blog filled with dry writing.

It wouldn?t be a good fit. Depending on the platform you?re operating on, you might need to change the format of your messages a bit. On Twitter, for example, you?ve got a limited number of characters to use. Instagram requires more visual content.

Though, all of the content needs to be consistent with your brand?s voice. That is what will help you the most in creating a cohesive and strong brand image.    

The second aspect of consistency is to create a publishing schedule and stick to it. We?ve all seen YouTube videos that start with something like, ?I?m sorry I haven?t posted in so long.? How professional does that look to your audience?

It?s better to create a lighter publishing schedule that you?ll be able to keep up with. If you can?t post daily, it?s better to post once a week on a specific day. That way, your audience is always getting a fresh supply of content and knows what to expect from you.

Being consistent means that your company is always kept in the prospect’s mind. Perhaps they don?t need your product today. That?s fine, but when they need to buy again, or someone they know does, your company will be top of the list.

Final Notes about Content Marketing Principles

Content marketing can highly effective when approached correctly. I can say the same in email marketing. Using the principles, we?ve learned from content marketing to boost the results you get from your email campaigns makes sense.

Using these principles in your email campaigns means that you?ll deliver valuable content to your target audience every time. That is valuable in improving your brand image. Instead of coming across as the company that?s always selling something, you’ll be seen as a valuable resource.

This makes it more likely for customers to share your content with those that they know. It’s an almost effortless way to build your brand and your subscriber list. It’s a smart marketing strategy that can have a huge impact.

And, factor in that you can lead clients to the conclusion that they want your product without trying to force on them, and you?ll like the results you get. 

We?re listening.

Have something to say about your experience with hacking email and content marketing principles? 

Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or our LinkedIn.

Chris Usatenko is a Computer geek, writer, and gamer. He is interested in any aspects of the PC industry and video games. Freelancer in his nature, he is willing to get experience and knowledge from around the world and implement them in his life.

General FAQ’s

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is marketing that includes the production and sharing of online (digital) material.

How can content marketing help a small business?

MARKETING CONTENT = ASSETS. In financial terms, an asset is a building or machine. In content marketing, the content you create is an asset, just like the email workflows and processes you create to go with them. Content marketing methodology creates assets that have a compounding effect because they continue to generate value (leads) over time without additional investment. The marketing assets, e.g., blog post, acts like an annuity that keeps giving back.

What are examples of content marketing?

Examples of content marketing elements include videos, blogs, audio, infographics, white papers, eBooks, and social media posts that do not promote a brand but should stimulate interest in its products or services. It’s what HubSpot calls inbound marketing.

SaaS Marketing Case Study

TrackVia also saw the potential inbound marketing offered to attract visitors, convert leads, and close more deals.

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