Why Investing in Content is Vital to Email Marketing’s Continued Success

Why Investing in Content is Vital to Email Marketing’s Continued Success

The term ‘Content is King’ is clichéd for sure, but with the continued growth and investment in digital, content is more important than ever before. Vivek Sharma, CEO of Movable Ink lays out why content matters so much today for email marketers, makes the business case for greater investment in better (not just more) content, and shares thoughts on how to approach it.

The business goal of marketing is universally consistent: maximize the commercial impact of content. Think about your favorite most memorable marketing campaign. Great content built the brands we know and love today. The best content creates a tangible and compelling experience that moves people – even if they’re not the primary target customers.

Content is the cornerstone of marketing, but it also presents today’s marketers with a catch-22. Digital provides great scale and reach, but content that speaks to customers one-to-one is difficult to scale. The more marketers invest in launching additional programs or channels, the worse the content problem becomes.

In the email channel, this paradox is rooted in the ways marketers traditionally tackled the objective of maximizing content’s commercial impact (i.e. generating revenue).

Here are three existing strategies:

1. Send more campaigns

It’s simple logic: more campaigns equal more revenue, right? The ‘send more email’ strategy made email the workhorse and highest driver of ROI in digital marketing for years. This approach has hit an inflection point though. Yes, you can simply send more campaigns, but you also need to produce and populate those campaigns with more content. And it can’t just be more of any content; it needs to be better content. Without better content, you’ll burn out your customers and put program deliverability at risk. Sending more emails requires a greater amount of compelling content.

2. Create more segmentation

Email content is often more about volume than value. In an effort to shift this dynamic, many marketers are sending fewer emails to more finely targeted customer segments. The approach has been about sorting content into the right buckets and getting the right buckets to the right audience. The problem is that more targeted emails without more relevant content is counterproductive. People don’t purchase just because you put the right product in front of them. If you send the same five offers (fewer emails) to 500 segments, you’ll undercut campaign performance. Like more campaigns, more segmentation still requires a greater amount of compelling content.

3. Build more triggers & customer journeys

There’s been a big push in the email industry toward building more triggered programs and customer journeys. Marketers aren’t changing what they do with traditional campaigns per say, but they are sending more individualized retargeting emails (e.g., cart abandonment, lifecycle emails). With one-to-one emails, marketers need to send a message tailored specifically to the recipient or will (a) risk training the customer to ignore the message or (b) need to always resort to promotions and discounts to get customers to act, which jeopardizes the email program. More triggers and segments requires – you guessed it –  a greater amount of compelling content.

For every strategy, the answer always comes back to content. The above approaches have worked well (or well enough), but I believe there’s a compelling business case that says if you continue to invest resources in more campaigns, more segmentation and more triggers but fail to make a corresponding investment in content, you’re going to eventually hit a wall.

So how can email marketers scale content for the digital era? If the continuous improvement of email marketing hinges on investing in content, what does that look like in practical terms?