Inbound marketing is monumentally popular given the prominence and ease of marketing on channels like email. Through these channels, you can create meaningful content full of useful information and even foster a relationship with customers and other businesses.
On average, email marketing yields $44 for every $1 spent, making it a particularly effective lead generator.
But these aren’t just any old emails. Email marketing is now infused with content marketing. That means eye-catching visuals, informative articles, personalized messages, and more.
But how big of a role does content marketing play in email lead generation?
What is content marketing?
Before we can jump into content marketing’s role in email lead generation, let’s talk about the concept itself.
Content marketing goes beyond traditional marketing in that it’s about informing the reader more than it is pushing a brand or product lightly shrouded in some brief storyline. Instead of speaking a message at the viewer, content marketing opens up a conversation about a given topic. Content marketing shares knowledge and actionable insights that help consumers and businesses alike understand why they should take action.
Businesses use content marketing because it works. If you’re able to dial in who your customers are, you can create content that engages them and keeps them interested. It gives you the opportunity to be a thought leader in your industry while supporting your business goals.
The sheer accessibility of content marketing means everyone is using it, and businesses are missing massive lead-generating opportunities if they don’t.
Some examples of content marketing are:
- eBooks and white papers
- Infographics and visual design
- Case studies
- Website copy
- Newsletters and emails
- Social media
It’s not uncommon for people to be surprised when they’re told that email is still a powerful marketing tool. Email is a direct line of communication with customers who have already shown some sort of interest in a product or service a brand provides.
People check their email every single day, meaning they’re getting exposure to a brand day in and day out. If they continue to receive emails about a product they’re interested in, they are more likely to purchase it.
The emails themselves are becoming more sophisticated, too. Emails include news stories, blog posts, visuals, infographics, etc. Emails are there to grab attention and potentially drive traffic to a brand’s website.
Email automation takes it a step further. After inputting their email address, potential customers can be sent emails during any step of the buying process. If they’re browsing, email. If they have something in their cart but didn’t check out, email. If they did buy something and a brand wants feedback, email. And the company doesn’t need to lift a finger.
This is the power of email automation. Once it’s set up, it can begin generating leads for companies almost immediately. It knows what to send to whom, and when. These automated emails can even be personalized with a customer’s name and general location.
Email drip campaigns
Just because automation takes care of sending out the emails, doesn’t mean it will be effective without a plan. Before you can “set it and forget it,” you need to come up with an effective strategy for your emails.
This is where drip campaigns come in. It goes by many names – email marketing, drip marketing and automated email campaign – but they are all referring to the same idea: marketers automating the release of emails to potential sales leads on a set schedule.
What makes a great email campaign? Here are a few ideas:
- Email lists are targeted, segmented and well-researched.
- Be consistent with sending drip emails, but don’t overdo it.
- Keep your messages simple, then gradually ramp up with action items.
- Test which messages work, and which don’t.
There’s no endgame when it comes to email campaigns. They should be constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of their audience, so if your first message doesn’t work, your next one could!
Email copywriting is essentially the antithesis of email automation. For the most part, email automation can make sending emails a relatively hands-off task, but those emails need to be filled with engaging content that makes readers want to click the link and learn more.
When writing email copy, it’s easy to just worry about the body of the message and hit send, but there are many more pieces of the puzzle to consider:
- Subject line
- Preview text
- Email body
- Call to action.
You want to make sure that every part of your email is set up in an engaging way that makes the reader feel like they need to open it. Otherwise, it could end up directly in the trash bin.
Not all parts of an email are created equal, however. Around 33% of people open an email based on the subject line alone, which means your subject line needs to draw the eye without coming across as spammy.
Pro-tip: Check out our guide to see which email subject lines actually get responses.
How content marketing fuels email lead generation
The common thread with email campaigns is that they have solid content marketing behind them. Content marketing is there to engage the viewer and make them more likely to become a customer.
Content marketing isn’t there to just sell a product or service; it’s there to inform the reader and set in their mind that your company is a leading expert in your industry. Beyond informing the reader, the content should tell them how your product or service can help solve a problem they may have, and how.
If they still have questions, make your social media and contact channels present within your emails. Encourage them to engage with your brand in your content. Positive engagement on your social channels can create more leads and will encourage customers to follow your brand. Not only will your company be seen as an expert, but also an accessible expert.
Email automation mostly takes care of the tricky part, which is sending the right information to the right lead at the right time. That being said, setting up email automation is a process that requires a strong strategy.
If you’re lacking in the email marketing department, you can outsource the work to an experienced team like Email Uplers. For more on email automation and content marketing, check out Brafton’s blog.