There are three reasons why businesses typically invest in a content marketing strategy – to help their websites with search engine rankings, to increase social media visibility, and ultimately to collect leads. Synchronizing your content plan with email marketing is extremely valuable for creating leads. Studies show that about 81% of SMB customers rely on email for acquisitions and 80% of them use the medium to retain. Content helps you draw potential customers to your website who can then subscribe to your mailing list. Such customers are recruited through a drip email marketing campaign to convert their paying customers.
The relevance of your content determines the success of your email campaign. This is determined by what is known as ‘content synchronization’. In short, customers are more engaged when you offer them content that they first subscribed to.
The following is an example from Techmeme, a technology news site that brings together a variety of sources. The target audience here is the people interested in following the latest news updates. People who subscribe to their newsletter hope that the service will send them the latest news alerts. If the aggregator sticks to this promise and only sends news alerts, the engagement is likely to increase. However, if the site decides to use this mailing list to share other promotional material or to advertise their sponsors, then this content is not entirely relevant to the reader. Subscribers do not expect to see such content in the newsletter, and as a result, the engagement rate may decrease.
This strategy works well for ecommerce businesses that promise discounts and coupons (and offer them) to their customers. This is because customers who sign up to receive emails with discount coupons may show a higher level 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 potential into paying customers. One reason for this is that customers who opt-in to receive industry news or access your free tools may not necessarily enjoy your marketing messages.
In such cases the rate of unsubscription may be higher. However, this will not stop you from checking with your mailing list and pushing for conversions. As long as you keep your promotions within a reasonable range and continue to offer a content-synchronized newsletter, engagement can be satisfactory.
Newsletter CTA that works
Once you have created your content synchronization plan, the next step is to look for lead magnets and newsletter call to action (CTA) that integrate well with your content marketing plan. The strategy that works for you depends on many factors such as your industry, your audience profile and the content marketing plan you are focusing on. The best thing here is that you can always experiment with multiple strategies and create an independent email list to see which one converts the best in the long run.
Here’s a look at the different CTAs and lead magnets and their potential uplift.
This is considered to be the most effective strategy for integrating your content with email marketing. The idea is to promise your customer access to a free report or document after providing their email address. There are two important factors that determine how effective this will be:
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- How targeted is your landing page
- How closely your downloadable content is related to your product offerings.
In this first example, OptinMonster is an app that helps businesses convert customers with ‘exit-purpose’, using the same app to target visitors who are about to leave their site. Here, although the content of the landing page itself may not be relevant to the visitor, the downloadable one is highly relevant to the behavior of the visitors. In other words, downloadable resource content and landing pages do not drive sign-up rates.
The above strategy may not be applicable to all types of businesses as it is not always possible to display your product or service to the audience.
In this type of example, you can set up a second strategy as shown in this second example. Here, Oberlo, a dropshipping company, uses content marketing to reach a high target 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 those visitors who are actively shopping in the store. Instead, it’s for visitors who are either blogging or surfing through authorized partner websites for coupons and offers. The purpose is to capture the email credentials of potential customers even though they are not actively looking to purchase a product at the moment.
The image above is taken from the Bed Bath & Beyond website. As you can see, this section promises exclusive coupons for visitors who sign up for their newsletter. This offer is not explicitly advertised to users on product pages already to keep their purchasing process smooth. Instead, the offer is advertised through third-party coupon sites that attract many potential buyers who are interested in such offers.
Content does not necessarily refer to blogs, videos, and infographics produced by your organization. Sometimes, it may just be paid content for your customers to use. Businesses may 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 for users. Your organization may push your visitors to take a free trial subscription. Alternatively, depending on your product offerings, you can subscribe to your mailing list in exchange for increased access to your content.
BuzzSumo, as shown in the screenshot above, uses this technique to persuade users to sign up. Websites are used by marketers to find ‘buzzworthy content’ to publish on their blogs. The site displays its value through a limited display of search results related to visitors’ search queries and uses the value of this content to push them to sign up.
This strategy is not very effective from an email marketing standpoint. This is due to the lack of content synchronization. Users who have signed up for the free trial have demonstrated their willingness to use your product. However, marketers use different email service providers to manage their email marketing strategies. However, this does not always mean that their email newsletter is too busy.
This does not mean that this strategy has failed. The average premium 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 convert.
Although email promotions can sometimes be used to convert these customers into paying customers, these customers may not necessarily be well-involved in other forms of email marketing. Your organization may need a highly planned email strategy to increase the conversions of these customers in this way.
Email marketing is welcomed as one of the most effective ways to nurture a potential and ultimately convert them into customers. However, this is not possible without a solid content plan. It’s important to create an email list to ensure the success of your marketing strategy, as well as to use the right kind of content to nurture your customers.