By Shawn Naggiar published March 12, 2012

Tips for Creating Effective Email and Landing Page Content

Every marketer has different needs, but one seems almost universal: the need to make content perform more effectively. As a content marketer, you spend countless hours writing and editing content to perfection, but if that content doesn’t grab your audience’s attention and engage them enough to continue reading, then you’ve wasted your time.

Email marketing and landing pages are two of the most popular marketing tactics that demand original, customized content. So I’ve compiled a list of tips that will help your content efforts in these areas to get noticed and be read.

Tips for email marketing content

1. Personalize content to suit differing interests. Chances are the interactions you have with prospects are not all the same. For example, some prospects may already be fans and follow you on social media, while others may have never heard of your company before. So, the messages you send to each of these customer groups will likely communicate different information — based on your various customer relationships and the information that each will expect to hear from your business. Highly targeted messaging will not only catch their interest, but will also help to position you as a friendly company that’s paying attention. Incorporating segmentation strategies can also help target campaigns to individual buyer needs. For example, lists can be segmented by demographic information, past behavior or even personal interests.

Email marketing is wonderfully customizable, allowing you to target your various audiences with different messages. Take advantage of this — and avoid blasting the same content to all contacts — by personalizing the content you send.

2. Build a relationship. We strive to build trust and create meaningful conversations in everyday relationships. The same applies to email marketing. To build trust, provide your recipients with opt-in opportunities, permissions, delivery preferences and privacy. In addition, avoid spam trigger words such as “free,” “discount,” or “click.” These words are not only spam triggers for email providers, but also for the recipients who read them. Instead, use relevant subject lines and to-the-point messaging that exemplifies your value to the reader in an honest, straightforward way. In an attempt to facilitate conversation, don’t ignore post-click engagements and opportunities to improve conversions. Give your email a “voice,” so it reads like one end of a great conversation. Ask their opinions, and present content that takes these interactions into account. It’s best if the email comes from a real person with an authentic interest in the conversation.

3. Track and test. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Start paying attention to your response rates and you’ll prevent some of the head-banging insanity that can result from bad email marketing content. One method is testing two versions of your email message to a small group of subscribers in order to determine the most effective message. This method is called “split testing.” Split testing allows you to adapt your content based on response rates in order to achieve optimal results. The most common factors to test are subject lines, greeting and body content and the call to action. However, it would also be extremely helpful to test the day of the week, the time of day, the sender or any factors that might impact engagement. You can then use the superior message as the foundation for your next campaign, and continue to test additional elements – thus refining and enhancing your email campaigns one test at a time.

Tips for landing page content

A landing page is a single web page that visitors arrive at after clicking on a link. Landing page links often appear in email campaigns, advertisements, registration forms, or any marketing materials offering specific information. In marketing, landing pages are often one of the first interactions a company has with a sales lead. Marketers can use landing pages to deliver exactly what the prospect expected or hoped for rather than forcing them to navigate through multiple pages of a website.

1. Design content to suit short attention spans. The internet is a busy place, so make it easy for people to follow your message from the site where they found it to your landing page. For example:

  • Keep the most important content “above the fold” – referring to the content immediately visible on the screen before scrolling down.
  • Use bulleted text and crisp, clean language
  • Make sure your offer appears completely on the landing page and doesn’t require the reader to scroll in order to find or follow it.

2. Don’t have additional navigation. It’s a common mistake to link to other products or offers on a landing page — these additional links can dilute your content or distract from your call to action. It’s also harder to measure the impact of your offer, messages, and page design when there’s more than one focus on a page. Concentrate on the purpose of the landing page and only provide information and links that will get your prospect to your intended end result. For example, do not include a top navigation bar that allows your audience to navigate off the page to unrelated content. Keep your landing page navigation as simple as possible, and it will keep your audience focused on the task you want them to follow.

3. Remember your target audience. Just like with email marketing, you will want to keep your landing page content focused to a certain target audience; don’t try to make it fit everyone. Half the value of landing pages is that they let you serve self-selected prospects with very specific needs. Getting traffic from people who don’t fit your target demographic won’t increase conversions. For example, if your company has created a landing page for a survey that specifically targets CEOs of large companies, the content and promotion will need to specifically cater to CEOs at large companies.

Are you engaging your audience through email marketing and landing pages? I’d love to hear what works for you below!

Author: Shawn Naggiar

Shawn Naggiar is Chief Revenue Officer of Act-On Software, provider of the fastest growing, cloud-based marketing automation platform for the Fortune 5,000,000. Act-On’s technology enables marketers to realize their creative expression to the fullest. Feel free to leave Shawn a comment or contact him on Twitter at @Shawn_Naggiar. For more marketing tips from Shawn, check out the Act-On Software blog.

Other posts by Shawn Naggiar

  • http://www.ContentEqualsMoney.com Amie Marse

    Comprehensive and concise – rock on Shawn :) There’s a big big gap between those that do email marketing and those that do it well. And in my estimation 99% of that has to do with tracking. Analytics based software are blowing up this year because knowing how to measure and move forward will make all the difference. Thanks for compiling this powerful info :) 

  • http://twitter.com/MakeContentWork Matthew Barksdale

    Nice post.

    I would add one more item – Focus on call to action/results required.  For our company, the metrics we judge landing pages by depends upon the campaign, but there are always specific goals we have regarding each landing page and the page is designed with the end goal in mind.

    Matthew Barksdale
    @makecontentwork:twitter

    • http://twitter.com/mollyinindy Molly Noonan

      Completely agreed with your addition. Content should always be designed with an end goal in mind. Great point!

    • http://twitter.com/Shawn_Naggiar Shawn Naggiar

      Completely agree with your addition. Content should always be designed with an end goal in mind. Great point!

  • http://percussion.com/about/index JarrodC

    This is a great article! 
    #3 Tracking and testing is really important. If you keep up the same old blasts to the same group of people, you probably won’t be successful. I love the idea of testing two different campaigns to separate audiences to see if one rate is more successful than the other. Great ideas, thank you! 

  • Kristin H

    Great article! Nice to see someone writing tips for landing page content. :)  I completely agree with your tip “Don’t have additional navigation” further navigation should only be included if it is a single call to action.

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  • http://www.sparkemaildesign.com/ Spark Email Newsletter Design

    Excellent article, if everything is going good then give more focus on personalize content as this will give feeling on own and will stay on email for longer time and there are more chances of conversion.