Email marketing is one of the best and easiest ways to reach your whole client list, with the least expenditure and the most significant ROI. Yet even though we know this is true, somehow, we always seem to struggle with email content ideas.
What should you say? Even the most unenlightened marketing person knows that non-stop promotional material and sales copy are a one-way street to getting flagged as spam or blocked.
There are no hard and fast rules about what you should put in your marketing content. However, a few solid guidelines will ensure you don’t end up caught in a spam filter, getting blocked or reported. Be aware that social expectations and demands are continuously evolving, and you will need to develop your content ideas with your clients to stay on point.
Why do you email your clients?
There are two primary reasons you email your clients and two distinct types of email you send. They are Transactional emails and Marketing emails.
Transactional emails are recognition of their transaction with you, whether it is a confirmation of their purchase, a subscription to a newsletter, or a welcome message. These are messages sent to the client in direct response to their active interaction with your company. Sometimes they can be an indirect response to their interaction with you, such as not completing a checkout process with a basket full of goods or failing to follow through on a course of Botox. Cart abandonment is not truly a lack of interaction but more a failure to follow through.
Marketing emails cover practically everything else. Everything from promotional offers to cool and exciting facts falls under the marketing banner. The only exception would be security and safety messages, such as product recalls and security breaches. However, these should be minimal if you can possibly help it.
The content you use for each of these will be very specific. That’s not to say transactional emails can’t have elements of marketing. They can. However, the primary goal of transactional responses is to make a direct link to the action. Anything else should be minimal and easily ignored. Conversely, promotional emails can’t also be transactional.
At the same time, marketing emails can have multiple purposes;
- increased spend
- inform/educate – informed choice reduces buyer’s remorse
- inspirational – inspired to spend
- humour – laughter sells the fun
Email Marketing Brings Value
Yes, you can bring value to the client with a well-timed and engaging offer, a new collection of products and services or a nice flashing discount code. But what about non-monetary importance?
One of the key identifiers of brand loyalty and why clients choose one brand over another is how they differentiate themselves from the competition. One way that brands outshine their competitors is to bring massive amounts of value to the company/client relationship—things like keeping clients informed of exciting or crucial changes to your industry. Maybe you’re providing informational value to assist your clients in making the right decisions for them. Perhaps you have an engaging brand story and development arc that draws your clients into your company.
How you keep the interest and value for your clients will be worth so much more, in the long-term, than a relentless barrage of spammy promotional emails.
How to keep your audience engaged with new content ideas
You need new content ideas to justify sending emails to your client list. If you keep churning out the same old promotional material, your clients will get bored and either report you or block you. It’s not always about the actual content either. Sometimes, you can make an email marketing campaign include so much more than text and images. Can you have short videos and gifs? Maybe you can include audio? Whatever you do, don’t just stick with straight text – there’s no better way to turn people off.
So, aside from straightforward promotional activity, what new content ideas can you use to engage with your client list?
Occasionally, you might want to switch things up and curate some 3rd party content and information that is also beneficial to your clients. Technically, I would class that as a form of client-focused content – it’s for the benefit of the clients rather than the company.
So, let’s go!
Company-focussed content ideas
These are about what going on with you, your company, your staff and your industry.
Company Updates & Developments
New products? Maybe you have a change to the way you deliver services or open a new location. Whatever your news, if it affects clients and customers, they want to know about it. As long as you frame the information to benefit your paying clientele, they will love you for letting them know.
Anniversaries & Milestones
Celebrating an achieved milestone such as 20,000 Instagram followers or newsletter subscribers is an excellent way to put your company in the minds of your client list without making a massive production of an email campaign. Anniversaries are a good time to make a big deal of an offer.
“Happy Birthday to … US!
But it’s still you who’s getting the gift.”
Awards & Nominations
Whether it’s a local trade nomination in your industry or nationwide recognition, shout about your achievements. Awards and recommendations are how people notice you are doing better than your competition. With external and impartial examination, you are proving time after time that you are doing things right. Don’t hide your light – let it shine. What does it mean to you as a manager and as a company?
By all means, introduce yourself if you are a sole operator, but if you have more than one staff member or location, let your potential clients know about the people behind the service they receive. What sparkling talents do your people bring to the table? Make sure your clients can see how much you appreciate the people who work for the business. It’s becoming more important to have a healthy and valued workforce, especially in the client’s eyes.
Your loyal client could become the best hire you ever made – but only if they’re qualified. Sometimes clients make the best new hires because they already know and love your brand, and that’s something you simply can’t teach or even advertise for.
Client-focused content ideas
This is where you focus on the clients, what’s good for them, their stories and inspirations, informing and educating them about the best of your business.
Information, teaching, and making the right call
What do your clients need to know about what you do for them? When they are well informed about the ins and outs of your services or products, they feel more empowered that they are making the right call by choosing your business. Well-informed clients are more convinced they are making the right choice than those who continually question their choices.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Do you have a handy hashtag? Is your business one that attracts visual demonstrations of your products and services “in action”? Curate some of the best examples of UGC to help other clients see and be inspired by others. Instagram is a perfect source of UGC
Polls, Surveys & Feedback
It’s all about the client, and the best way to discover whether you’re on the right track is to ask your clients. If you’re considering making changes to your business, adding services or creating new products, ask your existing clients if you’re thinking in the right direction. Polls for a new scent in your natural skincare range, surveys about client opinions and requests for feedback are all ways you can find things out.
Even better is that you can create multiple content streams for the returned information.
Do you have an expert your clients can ask for advice? When you get questions that aren’t answered on your FAQs, you send out the new information to your client list. Maybe you can create an advice column and make your clients aware that they can “Ask Aunty” (or Uncle). And when you answer the new question, you can also update your FAQs with the updated information.
3rd Party Curation
No company is the only service or product a client will ever need; there will always be someone who does something better than you. And if you want to offer your clients the best possible service or product, you had better be sure you know the best way to enhance your business without losing customers.
Curating valuable information about products and services that complement and enhance your own will make you appear more reliable and trustworthy to your clients. You wouldn’t recommend a substandard make-up artist to enhance your artistic hair creations, just as an artist wouldn’t suggest a terrible picture framer.
SimplyBook.me doesn’t have a complete accounting and bookkeeping feature, but you can integrate with Quickbooks and Freshbooks – two of the most popular options today.
Similarly, we could talk about the ability to integrate with SMS Gateways, Social Media platforms or Google Business. We’re not about to take on Google, but we can work with it.
And when you have used all of these ideas, you can use everything to build a newsletter. Letting clients choose the frequency of their contact with you means that a monthly newsletter can be a nice catch up instead of a daily trickle.
Content ideas & the 80:20 guideline
Your email correspondence with your client list should fit roughly into the 80:20 model of Informational: Promotional materials.
That means 80% of your contact with your client lists should fall into the content ideas covered above. Only 20% of your emails should be sales focused. It is a guideline only, and depending on the industry, you could deviate up to as much as 70:30. However, not continuously.
You already know how to promote your seasonal sales, gift vouchers, holiday offers, and your sales. Keeping your clients interested the other 80% of the time can sometimes cause a few headaches.
Try out some of the approaches above, try all of them if you like, and see if you get better engagement and loyalty from your clientele.