The Email Edge: Content And Email
by Ray Schultz, Columnist, February 14, 2017
Here’s yet another study showing that content drives brand. Of the 300 firms polled by Clutch, 79% do it to improve brand visibility. And they’re active at it: 35% of the enterprise marketers create content, as do 42% of the B2B firms and 27% of small businesses.
But there’s a problem. Only 14% see audience personas as part of their content strategy. That means they can end up serving the wrong pieces to the wrong people and miss the point of the whole exercise.
Why do companies bother at all? Except for branding, the top content goal is search engine visibility, followed by lead generation. Of course, B2B trends higher in the latter.
And their plans for the future? Among the firms surveyed, 26% want to optimize content for access across devices, and 24% are looking to create more original offerings.
The most important forms of content are research/original data, infographics, product reviews and videos, the respondents say. Blogs rank far down the list. But there’s a disconnect between importance and what companies actually do.
In reality, the most heavily used content formats are infographics, followed by product reviews, research/original data, videos, blog posts and case studies. B2B marketers are much more likely to post white papers.
Most of these findings were made in the context of SEO. But about email? This survey doesn’t seem to address this form of content distribution. But email — the workhorse for everything else — works here, too.
For one thing, it can move customers and prospects through the funnel, as they say. And there are many possible ways to do it: through newsletters, one-off announcements and promotions.
When supported by analytics, email can also help firms overcome that persona shortfall. For example, marketers can send personalized content in email based on the consumer’s location, time, weather, device, demographics and profile. That’s according to Emarsys and Kickdynamic, which last week announced such a service.
Even dismissing potential hype by vendors, email lends itself to targeting. It starts with your email list — a tangible asset that you alone control.
What does good content offer, apart from valuable input and clarity? It should also entertain, and go down like smooth Kentucky bourbon. And it should support strategic elements like brand story, mission statement and metrics, the respondents say. But don’t get carried away. While it sounds obvious, the survey shows that quality is more important than quantity. Indeed, 89% see an inverse link between the effectiveness and the amount.