Content is the fuel of email marketing: here’s how to ignite it

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This post contains excerpts of our recently published ebook: “ROI or RIP: the lean content marketing handbook for SMBs” that you can download for free here.

According to research performed earlier in 2014 by Gigaom and reported by eMarketer, email marketing is still the most commonly used method of digital marketing, with a whopping 86% of respondents claiming to use it. If that’s not enough, though, over half (59%) of B2B marketers surveyed by HubSpot say that email marketing is the most effective channel for generating revenue.

Email marketing needs content and content marketing needs email

Why are email marketing and content marketing such a great match?

  1. Because email marketing ends up being spammy if it’s entirely self-promotional. Nobody likes to read about your 15% end-of-month discount endlessly. Content that answers your audience’s question – aka content marketing – is not spam nor advertising: it becomes something your audience will be eager to find in their inbox. How does content perform vs promotion in email marketing? Here’s the data from 2 years of experimentations that we published the results of last year on our blog:


  1. Because content requires distribution before it can generate some. “Write it and they will come” doesn’t work: you need some initial spark to ignite your content marketing – as Mark Schaefer puts it – and email is perfect for that as your email subscribers are your most loyal readers and the more likely to share your content to their own social networks. Sending them your content will amplify your own distribution through social networks.

In short, email needs content and content needs email.


The 3 minimum things you should put in place to combine email and content marketing?


  1. An email platform to manage your mailing list and distribute your email content newsletters: if you don’t have any, MailChimp is your best bet (we like Constant Contact too but MailChimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers which is hard to beat).

  2. Subscription forms: make it easy for people to sign up for content updates from your company. On your blog, landing pages, gated content, etc… (again, MailChimp’s got you covered with embeddable code that’s easy to configure)

  3. A CMS-Newsletter integration: that’s the important part that will save you time and which is critical to understand. Creating newsletters from scratch every week is too much a pain: use software Content Director to automatically generate templated newsletters from your created or curated content. Cut down the process to a simple review, minor edits and send!


How to optimize your content email newsletters?


There are many ways to experiment with email newsletters (MailChimp even includes A/B testing features) and we ran a lot of experiments ourselves (again, see that post for complete results).

But a key takeaway from our experiments and from discussing with hundreds of our clients about this is that

  • the more you can send newsletters the higher the engagement…

  • … up to the point where you degrade your content quality and become spammy.

For instance in our own case, we moved from 2 newsletters per month to 4 newsletters per month while maintaining strict quality criteria on our content and this is what happened:

We reached 2.5x more people while maintaining our open rate (which means our quality didn’t lower).

This means you should find the sweet spot in the following diagram:

How do you do that?

Find out how in this eBook packed with 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!


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About the Author

Guillaume Decugis
Co-Founder & CEO @Scoopit. Entrepreneur (Musiwave, Goojet). Engineer-turned-marketer. Skier. Rock singer.
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Don Karp
Don Karp
9 years ago

CMS, SMB, open rate vs click rate, etc. I guess I am a dummy because I had to look a lot of your jergon up in Google.

German Viera
9 years ago

Hi Guillaume I really liked this post. I just downloaded the ebook to get a little bit deeper. In my experience, email marketing is successful as a combination of quality content + promotion. In our tests, promotional emails (in the adequate moment) and with an already achieve reputation of quality content in the previous emails, generate a boost in conversions. What we learned at is that even though our site provides content (we provide professional PowerPoint Templates) we need to create “other” content that ignited interest to use it and helped subscriber in some other need than the content… Read more »

9 years ago
Reply to  German Viera

Thanks for the praise, @viera00:disqus! Have you tried content emails that also included a promotional CTA? In our experiment, that seemed to work really well too. Looking forward to your coming comment then.

German Viera
9 years ago
Reply to  scoopit

Hi Guillaume,

Yes, we are working right now in this tests. While promoting our free content we create promotional CTA in order to give our subscribers the chance to join thorough VIP promotions. Till now is really working. You can take a look subscribing here:

Thanks for your interest. I will share the complete results of the test later to make a discussion.


8 years ago

Sure @po@poweredtemplatecom:disqus – this blog post should help:
8 years ago
Reply to  scoopit

Oukay …
thanks 🙂

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