There are three reasons why businesses typically invest in a content marketing strategy – to help their websites with search engine ranking, to increase social media visibility, and finally to gather leads. Synchronizing your content plan with email marketing is extremely valuable to generate leads. Studies show that nearly 81% of SMBs rely on emails for customer acquisition, and over 80% of them use the medium for retention. Content helps draw in prospective customers to your website who may then subscribe to your mailing list. Such subscribers are then taken through a drip email marketing campaign to convert them into paying customers.
The relevancy of your content determines the success of your email campaigns. This is determined by what is known as ‘content synchronization.’ In short, subscriber engagement is higher when the content you offer them is precisely what they subscribed for in the first place.
This example below is from Techmeme, a technology news site that aggregates news from various sources in one place. The target audience here is people interested in following the latest news updates. People subscribing to their newsletter expect the service to send them the latest news alert. The engagement is likely to be high if the aggregator sticks to this promise and only sends news alerts. However, if the site decides to use this mailing list to share other promotional pieces or to advertise their sponsors, then this content is not completely relevant to the reader. The subscriber does not expect to see such content in the newsletter, and consequently, the engagement rate is likely to drop.
This strategy works well for eCommerce businesses that promise discounts and coupons (and offer them) to their subscribers. This is because customers who sign up to receive emails containing discount coupons are likely to show high levels of engagement with your content.
However, it can be particularly challenging if you are a product company where your email list is part of a drip marketing campaign to convert prospects into paying customers. One of the reasons this is the case is because subscribers who opt-in to receive industry news or access your free tools may not necessarily enjoy your marketing messages.
The unsubscription rate may be higher in such cases. However, this should not deter you from experimenting with your mailing list and pushing for conversion. As long as you keep your promotions to a reasonable limit and continue to offer a content-synchronized newsletter, engagement is likely to be satisfactory.
Newsletter CTAs that work
Once your content synchronization plan is ready, the next step is to look at lead magnets and newsletter calls to action (CTA) that integrate well with your content marketing plan. The strategy that works for you depends on many factors like your industry, your audience profile, and the content marketing plan that you are focusing on. The best thing here is you can always experiment with multiple strategies and build independent email lists to see what converts best over the long term.
Here is a look at different CTAs and lead magnets and their potential upsides.
This is touted as one of the most effective strategy to integrate your content with email marketing. The idea is to promise your subscriber access to a free report or document upon providing you with their email address. Two significant factors that determine how effective this will be are –
- How targeted your landing page is
- How closely your downloadable content relates to your product offering.
In this first example, OptinMonster, an app that helps businesses to convert customers with ‘exit-intent’, uses their same app to target visitors who are about to abandon their site. Here, although the content of the landing page itself may not be relevant to the visitor, the downloadable is highly relevant to the visitors’ behavior. In other words, the content of the downloadable asset, and not the landing page drives up sign up rates.
The strategy above may not be applicable to all kinds of businesses since it is not always possible to showcase your product or service to a visitor.
In such instances, you can deploy a second strategy as shown in this second example. Here, Oberlo, a dropshipping company uses content marketing to draw in a highly targeted audience through search engines and social media. Once these visitors are on the site, the business uses a highly relevant downloadable to convert these visitors into email subscribers.
This strategy works wonders for eCommerce websites. Here, website visitors are promised exclusive coupons and discounts when they subscribe to the site’s newsletter. Given the nature of this strategy, the target audience is never the visitor who is actively shopping in the store. Instead, it is to visitors who have either landed on the blog or is surfing through affiliate partner websites for coupons and offers. The objective is to capture the prospective customers’ email credentials even if they are not actively looking to purchase a product at the moment.
The above image is from the Bed Bath & Beyond website. As you can see, this section promises the visitor exclusive coupons in return for signing up to their newsletter. This offer is not explicitly advertised to users already on the product pages to keep their purchasing process smooth. Instead, the offer is advertised through third-party coupon sites that attract a lot of value shoppers who are interested in such offers.
Content does not necessarily refer to the blogs, videos, and infographics produced by your organization. Sometimes, it can merely be the content your customers pay to use. Businesses can offer access to this premium content in exchange for the visitor’s email address. There is a thin line between this strategy and a regular free trial offer to users. Your organization may nudge your visitors to subscribe to a free trial. Alternately, depending on your product offering, you may get them to subscribe to your mailing list in exchange for extended access to your content.
BuzzSumo, as shown in the above screenshot, uses this strategy to nudge users towards signing up. The website is used by marketers looking to find ‘buzzworthy content’ to publish on their blogs. The site demonstrates its value through a limited display of search results pertaining to the visitor’s search queries and uses the value of this content to push them towards signing up.
This strategy is however not very effective from an email marketing perspective. This is because of a lack of content synchronization. Users who sign for a free trial have demonstrated their willingness to use your product. However, such users may not necessarily show high engagement levels for your email newsletters.
That does not necessarily mean that this strategy is a failure. The average freemium SaaS product sees a conversion rate of 2-4 percent. That is, out of every 100 users who sign up for a free trial, only four converts.
While email promos may be occasionally used to convert these subscribers into paying customers, these subscribers may not necessarily engage well on other forms of email marketing. Your organization may thus need a highly planned email strategy to increase the conversion of these subscribers.
Email marketing is hailed as one of the most efficient ways to nurture a prospect and eventually convert them into customers. However, this is not possible without a solid content plan. Using the right kind of content to build an email list, as well as to nurture your subscribers is quite critical in ensuring the success of your marketing strategy.