Because email marketing continues to be the backbone of a successful content marketing program, this article has been updated.
Think of a well-executed email strategy as the backbone of a successful content marketing program. It’s an essential structure that supports your various content efforts and is the best technique for building a subscriber base – which helps you stay at the top of your readers’ minds.
But, just like any critical system, if it’s not properly maintained, your email content can start to lose momentum and show signs of aging. If you fail to keep pace as consumption trends shift, even your most faithful followers may start to overlook your emails in their crowded inboxes – or opt out altogether if they feel you are no longer meeting their needs.
If you are looking to evaluate the fitness of your email content, consider CMI’s new infographic to be your personal trainer. In it, we offer tips for testing the strength of your e-newsletters and fine-tuning your delivery strategies at all levels of experience – beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
In addition, to help you get a sense of the value that email can offer, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite examples of newsletters that are helping marketers build loyal audiences and rise above their competition. Remember: Making a few healthy changes now can reinvigorate your connection with your audience and ensure that your emails are reaching their peak level of marketing performance.
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OpenView Venture Partners: OpenView Weekly
OpenView’s target audience is B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies that are looking to build and expand their operations. These businesses often have a lot to learn – and in a short time, to boot – so it’s no surprise that this venture capital firm uses its e-newsletter to help answer questions and offer expert advice. But what you might find surprising is just how skillfully the company uses its vast network of industry leaders to create straightforward, compelling conversations that digital professionals at all stages of business consider to be a must-read – whether or not they are in the market for new software.
Casper: Van Winkles
Mattress retailer Casper recently launched a new editorial site and weekly e-newsletter devoted to all things sleep-related. Cleverly named Van Winkles, it operates independently of its e-commerce parent, avoids any overt promotion of Casper’s products, and is managed by a talented team of experienced journalists who take an eye-opening and newsworthy approach to exploring the topic of sleep from every angle.
Jay Acunzo: Sorry for Marketing
Jay is a self-described “writing idealist” – and it shows. His weekly e-newsletter roundups prove that it’s possible to craft business-focused blog posts that entertain just as thoroughly as they inform. Jay adeptly combines solid conceptual insights with detailed practical advice and thought-provoking commentary, and delivers it all with a breezy conversational tone and memorable graphics that make every piece worth your time.
ThinkGeek embraces “geek culture” in all its products, and its “Think Geek Overlords” aim to please readers with intriguing emails that really speak their languages (Klingon and Dothraki included). Plus, the company’s ever-present “spokesmonkey,” Timmy, is usually on hand with a clever disguise that helps to get readers into the spirit of the offering.
BarkPost is a highly visual e-newsletter (sort of like The Huffington Post for dogs) that keeps dog lovers informed on important news stories (such as pet product recalls) and other canine-related curiosities. The brand also offers trustworthy advice on ways to keep our four-legged friends healthy and happy, and provides subscribers with their daily dose of puppy love in the form of dog-related videos and memes.
Fisher Investments: MarketMinder
Fisher Investments launched the MarketMinder website and a companion e-newsletter to provide individual investors with free investment commentary and advice. It’s part of a content ecosystem that includes Ken Fisher’s investment books and his columns on Forbes. It’s a great example of using email to nurture prospective customers until they’re ready to invest.
USA Network: Mr. Robot’s “fsociety”
Mr. Robot – the critically acclaimed new USA Network series about an anti-establishment group willing to go to extremes to annihilate wealth inequality – may be a work of fiction, but its email communications are steeped in sobering reality. In addition to ongoing promotions for the show, special issues of its fan newsletter put current events into a relevant context, helping to reinforce the show’s key plot points and its hacker culture vibe. Its strong signature branding and call-to-arms content nicely capture the zeitgeist of its target audience: the 99 percenters and other change-minded viewers who may fantasize about tearing down the status quo to build positive change.
Woot Inc.: Woot Daily Digest
What makes the content from daily deals site, Woot, stand out from the competition? It all comes down to one word: Monkeys. The company’s website and daily newsletter is crawling with them, telling jokes, offering product advice, and adding a bit of humor and personality that transforms each email from a product-focused alert into an entertaining conversation.
Don’t overlook the value that email offers for strengthening your brand’s relationship with customers and prospects. Email may no longer be a shiny new tactic on the content marketing scene, but with the right strategy and a little upkeep, it can still pack a pretty powerful punch.
Did we overlook your favorite example of email content? Let us know what we’re missing out on by sharing it in the comments.
Need to give your content marketing program a full tune-up? Get back to the basics with CMI’s workbook.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute