With new marketing channels popping up regularly, email marketing may seem like an outdated technique. Despite this, email marketing remains the channel with the highest ROI per marketing dollar and is an incredibly effective tool for everything from direct and effective sales to growing social media audiences.

The main thing that has changed over the years in email marketing is the scope of the emails themselves (and the ability to get placed in the inbox). While some businesses still use email to deliver promotional or sales-y content, the most successful marketing emails are focused on valuable, educational content.

It’s the content of your emails that gets people interested in subscribing regularly in the first place. Email can also serve as a great way to lead people from being simply aware of your company to being brand advocates.

Here’s how to upgrade your content to make email marketing work efficiently.

Put more work into it

The first step toward creating better content is simply stepping up your game. You may think that people are now too engaged in 140-character Twitter posts to have the time to read anything for longer than a few seconds. That’s simply not true. Posts that contain over 3000 words show remarkable results in every metric from social media shares to attracting traffic.

Invest more time in each email. Even though it’s more time-intensive to create them, the benefits will pay off later. Don’t just go for the length, go for the detail in the way you describe the topic at hand. The easier it is to consume and the more information there is about the topic, the better.

Read existing articles on the topic you’re covering and make sure the content you’re creating is both detailed and actionable. Use editing and proofreading services like Grammarly, Typely, or any professional content writing service to make your content higher quality.

Here are some ideas for formats you can implement in your email marketing.

Guides

While some industries are harder to create interesting, creative content for, downloadable guides are a format that seem to work for everyone. Whether you’re dealing in software development or home repairs, there’s always something to write a how-to guide on.

Guides or e-books naturally lend themselves to long-form content. If something requires a guide to understand how it’s done, you’d expect it to have enough intricate details to explain at length.

Checklist

Checklists, while often short and sweet, can be a long-lasting resource for your prospects and customers. The most successful ones will become a go-to tool for your subscribers. 

The best way to approach checklist creation is to identify key processes and tasks that people in your industry struggle with and to create a detailed breakdown, explaining each step.

It doesn’t need to look fancy, but make sure it’s printable if you truly want it to be an everyday resource for your contacts.

Source: Totalhomeinspection.com

Case study

Case studies are a win-win for your subscribers and your business. Not only are they a fantastic brand awareness tool, but they do much of the research legwork potential customers might be doing before pulling the trigger on making a purchase from your business. Case studies make great email content because they’re promotional without being outright sales-focused, and they give prospective buyers a look into what a partnership with your organization might look like. 

E-book

No, you don’t actually need to a 400 page book and publish it on Amazon. Sales and marketing e-books are typically anywhere from 10 – 30 pages (depending how detailed the information you’re providing is). Think about it as a long blog post taken to the next level.

Since there’s a finite number of topics you can cover in such a long format, you’ll want to be sparse on e-books. The ones you do create, however, should be valuable enough to contribute to your email marketing campaign popularity and the success of your website as a whole.

Be ready to spend several weeks creating an e-book. You may also hire a designer to do some illustrations for you. That’s not a must, but a good bonus. Even the biggest companies can keep their design minimal like Ahrefs here.

Source: Ahrefs

Ready-made content

Long, detailed content keeps readers interested when they can gain a ton of benefits from reading it. Give them even more benefits if you want to keep your audience engaged.

Share ready-made content in your email marketing campaign to increase traffic and social media shares. Ready-made content is something your reader can directly use in their job or hobby. Here’s what you can create.

Template

Templates are a great way to give your subscribers something of value that they can tailor specifically to their needs. The most commonly offered marketing template is the email template. An HTML email template may be useful for hundreds of people, and all they have to do it just change the text and insert their own images.

Source: Benchmarkemail

An email template can be even easier like this Quicksprout example. It’s a textual template that users can make their own by filling in the blanks.

Source: Quicksprout

You can do the same with any type of resource and share it in an email marketing campaign.

Industry-specific resources

You can create a guide on an industry-related topic in almost any walk of life. It’s much harder with resources, though. Every industry has its own set of resources that may be useful for the public.

If you’re a software development company, you can share snippets of code that can later be used by other developers.

A carpentry company can share specifications for a DIY bench. A web design company can create a set of icons and give them away for free.

Think of a resource that is relevant to your industry and invest some time in creating it.

Change the medium

Content is king, but not all content has to be in a written form. Consider changing the medium to attract more people. Here are your two main options when it comes to diversifying your content.

Podcast

You’d be surprised by the fact that some people who don’t have the time to read an article for 10 minutes will gladly listen to a 30-minute podcast. Whether they’re listening to it during their commute to work or after working hours when they’re tired of staring at a screen, some people want to listen to what you have to say instead of reading it.

Considering the fact that podcasts now show up in Google results, this medium is becoming even more lucrative and potentially beneficial for marketing strategies.

Infographics

You may be tired of infographics because for some time they’ve been everywhere. It’s not because they’re not useful, however, the infographic format became too popular and too many people jumped on the bandwagon.

Now that the infographic hype seems to be passing, you can revisit the medium without being viewed as another company that contributes nothing with their visual media. Focus on the data instead of graphics, and your newsletter subscribers will appreciate the ability to see complex ideas in an easily digestible form.

You don’t even have to provide proprietary data. Presenting old but reliable research can work as well.

Source: Visual.ly

Gather your own data

Now that you know the basic content formats that work well in email marketing campaigns, here’s a great tip that will take it to the next level. It will undoubtedly take a bigger monetary and time investment, but it’s worth it.

Gather your own data. It’s okay to do research and aggregate complex ideas into one resource, but what is more compelling than presenting your own research? It will give a fresh perspective on the topic you’re covering and establish you as an expert in the industry.

Add unique content

How do you motivate people to subscribe to your newsletter? You give them an incentive they can’t refuse. You offer unique content for newsletter subscribers, content that doesn’t appear on the website. The only way to get that unique information and resources is to be a subscriber.

It’s a small sacrifice since your website users will miss out on the content, but it’s worth making. It will help the email marketing campaign become even more successful and make newsletter subscribers feel special.

Want to have it both ways? You can mention the unique content on the website but make it accessible only by email. Ask users to subscribe before they can get it.

Make it personal

Not all emails should be serious, formal, and straight to the point. If your audience is okay with a bit of personality in their inbox, give them a glimpse into your inner workings as a company.

Share a photo from the office, tell a bit about one of your employees, or share a story of how you solved a problem at work. These things can provide necessary relief from the stream of business emails your subscribers get every day and can help them see you as a group of people, not just as another company on the web.

Conclusion

Email marketing isn’t just about sending the right emails to the right people. It’s also about the content you send to them. “Give value for free” is probably the shortest way you could describe what creating successful content for email marketing entails.

You have to invest more time into creating content in different formats and make it as useful for the reader as possible. With these tips in your arsenal, your email marketing campaign will no doubt be a success!

Are you ready for a smarter way to engage with your customers?

Benchmark helps you do email marketing the practical way. Create an ongoing relationship with your subscribers that leads to increased sales and happier customers.