5 Email Content Tips to Boost Customer Engagement

By    Last updated October 22, 2016   Copywriting

6 0

People have been touting the demise of email as an effective media strategy for years. But hold on—not so fast.


Despite seeming somewhat old-fashioned, email is still hanging in there as an affordable, powerful marketing tool. Just consider these stats:



Of course, appreciating that email should be incorporated into your marketing plan is just the beginning. First, you need to build up your subscriber list, and then perhaps even more daunting—you have to figure out what content you should include and how you should present it.


Here are five email content tips to help get you on your way to sending out the emails your customers want to see:



#1 Figure out What Content Your Customers are Looking For





There are roughly 204 million emails messages sent every minute. Every minute! Whoa—that’s a lot of competition.


How do you get your emails noticed and stand out in that glut clogging your customers’ inboxes?


You can start by asking what your readers would like to see.


You need to provide something of value to your subscribers—whether that’s informational content or a promotional offer. Emails are not where you do any hard-selling. It’s all about your customers. You want to answer their questions and give solutions to their problems.


But how do you figure out exactly what your customers want to receive? Here are some ideas on how to give them what they want:



Talk to your frontline employees


who have the most contact with your customers. They probably get to hear a lot of chatter and get the most direct feedback. They’ll hear about those nagging problems that your clientele may have, or maybe they field the same type of question day in and day out.


Look to social


Figure out what content is performing well in your social media accounts. You can test out different tweets or posts and see which ones create the most buzz. You can also figure out what’s trending within your industry. Check out sites like Buzzsumo or Quora to get an idea of popular topics that your customers might be interested in, and design your content around those.



Try a survey or poll


Why not go directly to the source and ask your customers what they’d like to read about, or what kind of offers they’re most interested in.


Once they click open your email, be friendly with a conversational tone. Remember that email is inherently personal. So act like you’re emailing an individual person. When possible, personally address your customer and sign off with your real name—not as a generic company entity.



#2 Use These Ideas to Generate Interesting Content for Your Emails


Sometimes even if you know the general gist of what your customer might be interested in, it’s difficult to generate actual content ideas. Writer’s block doesn’t just happen with a lengthy blog post.


If you’re at a loss of what to write in your email, try one of these sure-fire content ideas to get you started:


Seasonal Content


Depending on where you live, there are the obvious holidays, like Christmas, Hanukah, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Chinese New Year, Earth Day and the like—but there are other events that happen throughout the year that you can also take advantage of. Consider things, such as back-to-school or spring cleaning as fodder for your emails.


Even if you’re not a diehard fan, current sporting events are also a great way to capture your readers’ attention. Large sporting events, such as the Olympics, World Cup, Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four Tournament garner a lot of social buzz, so why not capitalize on that. People want to read about what interests them, so try and tie your company or product in with a special event.


Other seasonal content could include the perennial go-to topic that everyone seems to like to discuss—the weather. If you’re a clothing e-tailer, let your customers know about that puffy jacket that will keep them warm in the chilly winter temps or those new sundresses just begging to be worn when it’s toasty outside.







An email newsletter gives you a great chance to check in with your customers on a regular basis. You don’t want your newsletter content to be overly self-promotional. A good rule of thumb is to balance your content, so it’s about 90% educational and 10% promotional.


New Marketing Offer


Emails are an excellent way to keep your subscribers in the loop and to make them feel special by giving them exclusive offers. You can use your emails to announce a sale, an eBook, a webinar, a free trial, or a good old-fashioned coupon.


Make sure that your offer email only promotes a single offer. Direct your reader to click on a clear call-to-action button, which will take them to a targeted landing page where they can claim the offer. You want to keep your copy brief in this type of email, so make good use of bulleted lists. Focus on your goal which is to get your customer to click on your call-to-action button.



New Inventory Email


This isn’t the type of email you want to send out any time you get a new product in your store. You want to use it selectively for the products that are sure to excite your customers. You won’t need much text, but a stellar picture will go a long way. So take some care in how you photograph your products.





Lead Nurturing Emails


These emails are an on-going series, rather than a one and done deal. They are designed to push a prospective customer further down the sales funnel, which will hopefully lead to an eventual sale.


Again, you don’t want to use any hard-sale tactics with these emails. Instead, focus on a particular topic you know your customer is interested in.


Welcome Emails


Why not start out your customer rapport on the right foot. If someone has taken the time to sign up on your email list—welcome them. Thank them for subscribing and let them know some of the benefits they can expect. You may also want to offer a discount, to entice your new subscriber to make a purchase.


Curated Content


Any content takes time to develop, but you don’t have to create all of your content from scratch. With curated content, you find blogs, articles, photos and videos you think your subscribers will enjoy. It’s best to focus on one area of your industry, so you’re not too broad. Sharing quality, relevant content will get you on your way to being viewed as an authority.



#3 Make Your Content Visually Interesting





An email full of text will come across as a little bland and not that inviting. But adding a few images or even a video will help the content of your email pop.


Videos add interest and are an easy way to get your point across clearly and quickly. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text. With videos, you can convey complicated information in much less time than through words. You want to keep your videos short—somewhere between one to two minutes seems to be the sweet spot.


A simple video can have your click-through rates soaring and even keep your subscribers sticking around. eMarketer found that around half of the marketers using videos in their email campaigns saw increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding.



#4 Try These Formatting Tips


Words and pictures are essential to your marketing emails, but just as importantly, you need to get your message across quickly and clearly.  These formatting tips will get you on your way:


Make Emails Mobile-Friendly


If you only take away one thing about how to format your emails, it’s to keep them mobile-friendly. In recent years, there’s been an explosion of smartphone use. According to a study by eMarketer, it’s estimated that over two billion people worldwide will have smartphones in 2016.





And guess where people check their email. Yup, you guessed it—on their smartphones. In 2011, mobile accounted for just 8% of email opens, but in 2015, that number swelled to 55%. And that number is even more pronounced with Gmail. Of Gmail’s 900 million users, 75% access their accounts on mobile devices.


So if your email loads slowly, or doesn’t look good on a mobile device, it will be ineffectual.


Keep Emails Short and Easy to Read


As with all of your marketing content, it’s important to tailor your content to the particular medium you’re using. For instance, it may make sense to write a 2,000-word blog post, but few people are going to bother to read that long of an email. Your emails should be shorter, coming in around 750 words max.


You want your emails to be readable and highly scannable. So, use short blocks of text and liberal use of bullet points. You want your reader to be quickly able to digest your copy.



Try a P.S. Line


Another way to play on people’s tendency to scan is to add a P.S. line. Their eyes will likely go down to the bottom of the page, so put a bold P.S. there to give them something to focus on. The P.S. is a good spot to create a sense of urgency. You can remind them of a deadline or let them know quantities are limited (in a non-spammy way of course).


Use Different Fonts


You can further make your important facts stand out by using different font colors and sizes, and bolding important words. But don’t go overboard, or else your email will just look cluttered.



Use Headlines


As with other articles, you want to make good use of headlines. Your reader should be able to get the gist of your email just by reading the headlines. Today, people have notoriously short attention spans—even less than a goldfish—so don’t make them have to work too hard to understand your message.

#5 Pay Attention to the Little Details


Sometimes it’s all in the details. You may have awesome content all ready to send out to your subscriber list, but take a few moments to check everything over.


It’s fine to use casual and conversational language in your emails, but you don’t want to look unprofessional. So, don’t ignore those pesky grammar rules. Spelling and proper sentence structure still count.


Also, be sure to watch out for spam-trigger words. You’d hate to have your beautifully crafted emails going straight to someone’s junk folder. Some words that can be construed as spam and should be avoided or used sparingly, include free, 50% off, call now, subscribe, visit our website and the like.


And perhaps most importantly, make sure you have a clear call-to-action. Along with growing your brand, the point of an email strategy is to get your subscribers to take a particular action. It may not be to make a purchase, but may be something much smaller, such as getting them to click on your latest blog post. Whatever it is—just be sure it’s obvious.



Keep Fine-Tuning


Even if you’ve nailed it with a hot topic one week, you’ll still have to continue to come up with fresh ideas for your next email. Your email content strategy must constantly be evolving. It’s hard enough to get someone to open up your message. And no one wants to read stale content once they’ve opened an email.


Continual testing is a must. Try tweaking one little thing in your email and see if you can get more engagement. By consistently supplying valuable and entertaining content in your emails, you’ll stay out of the junk folder and your subscribers will be excited to see your company’s name pop up in their inbox.


Fiona Sanguinetti

Fiona is a business writer from California. Her focus is writing blog posts that help companies learn about the latest actionable digital marketing and e-Commerce strategies. To learn more, feel free to stop by Fiona's site.

Like What You've Read?

If so, please join over 5,000 subscribers who receive update from Bitcatcha. We send out exclusive online business tips and tricks on building a successful online business. Subscribe now!