customer-centric email content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Customer-Centric Email Content with Kristen Dunleavy

Could your email marketing use a major boost? If so, you’re in luck! This week’s #ContentWritingChat was all about how to create customer-centric email content. Keep reading for the recap and be sure to apply these tips to your next email newsletter!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Customer-Centric Email Content with Kristen Dunleavy

Our guest host this week was Kristen Dunleavy. Kristen frequently joins #ContentWritingChat as a participant, so we were excited to have her step in and guest host. As the Content Marketing Manager for Movable Ink, she had tons of great tips to share on email content.

Q1: How do you define customer-centric email content?

So, what exactly does customer-centric email content mean? To kick off this week’s chat, we asked our participants to share their definitions of it. Here’s what they had to say:

Kristen said that customer-centric email content spotlights your customer and their interactions with your brand. While this may seem simple, it’s a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them. They’ll love it!

To do this, focus on your customers by using testimonials, personalized content, and addressing their needs.

Julia’s advice is to make your email content all about your customers. Don’t try to sell to them until you’ve built a relationship with them. After all, you need to build a level of trust first before they ever take that next step.

Maureen said this kind of email content provides value and speaks in a tone that your customers understands. This is key to remember not just for creating email content, but also blog posts, social media posts, and much more.

As Elizabeth said, it’s important to create email content that’s useful for your customers, but it should also help you reach your end goals. Know what you hope to achieve with each email you send and create the content that will help you get there.

Give, give, give! One thing to remember when creating email content is that you should give to your audience more than you ask of them. As Bill said, you can do this by addressing the key pain points your audience is facing.

Q2: What are the benefits of creating customer-centric email content?

Now that you know what customer-centric email content it is, you need to know the benefits it can provide to you. Here’s what some of the chat participants had to say:

Kristen knows that spotlighting your customers is a great way to build trust with your audience. Having a certain level of trust is key if you ever want to convert those subscribers into customers and this is a great way to go about it.

Bill agrees that it’s a great way to build trust with your audience. By adding value and having an audience that trusts you, you’ll see higher open rates and click-through rates.

Maureen said its benefits include: trust, self-selection, tribe integration, and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Cheval said it’s a great way to create a community around your business. It’s also essential to help you build a relationship with your subscribers.

Customer-centric email content is one way to make your audience feel special. When they feel special, they’ll appreciate your brand even more.

Email is such a personal form of communication, so use that to your advantage. It’s an amazing way to connect with your audience.

Q3: How is featuring your customers in your emails different from other mediums?

Emails are just one place you can feature your customers. You can also do so on social media and your blog. But how is it different when it’s done through email? Check out these answers from the chat:

As Kristen said, email is very personal so you should make your content feel that way as well. If people chose to let you into their inbox, you need to deliver content that speaks to them.

Sarah said email feels more like a one-on-one interaction. lt’s much more personal than social media or advertisements.

JMatt agrees that email feels more personal than other platforms. Plus, he likes that they’re no character limit to restrict you when you’re sending to someone’s inbox.

Elizabeth said it can make people feel as though they’re part of a group. Because we all love to be included, it’s a great way to establish a sense of community.

Jason suggests adding user-generated content (UGC) into your emails to show that you care about what your customers say. It also lets them know that you’re paying attention and listening to them.

Q4: What are some ideas for spotlighting your customers in your emails?

Now that you know the benefits customer-centric email content can provide your brand, it’s time to come up with some ideas for your next email. Here are a few ways you can spotlight your customers in your newsletters:

Kristen recommends sharing testimonials from happy customers as well as user-generated content. It’s a great way to tell your story through the eyes of your customers.

Jenn said to share some success stories in your emails. She suggests sharing what your customers are doing and how you empowered them to make it happen. Other people will see the value you provide to your customers and they’ll want to know more.

This is a great response from Bill. He said to avoid focusing on what your business has done for a customer. Instead, focus on what your work has allowed that customer to do. That will speak to the rest of your audience and won’t come off as overly salesy.

Jacob’s advice is to use customer-centric email content to tell the story of your customers. Share how they succeeded with the solution you provide and offer tips on how others can replicate this.

Try sharing customer accomplishments, testimonials, and other customer stories that are helpful to the rest of your audience.

Jeremy knows that transformation stories are pretty powerful. He suggests telling an inspiring story about how someone overcame adversity.

Jason’s advice is to ask questions in order to get feedback from your audience. You can then share the results with the rest of your audience. As he said, people love to share their opinion and it helps them feel valued.

Q5: What are the biggest challenges when it comes to featuring your customers?

Creating customer-centric email content isn’t without its challenges. Here’s where you could hit road blocks so you know what to avoid:

As Kristen said, getting permission to share testimonials and stories from your audience can be tricky. Not everyone is willing to contribute or give permission for public sharing. Always ask your audience first and let them know the value it would provide to others by sharing their story with them.

She also suggests setting a goal first. Know what you want to convey to the rest of your audience by showcasing a particular customer.

Important questions to ask: Can you mention this customer? Are there restrictions? Is there any sensitive information? Does the customer want to be featured?

Julia knows getting data can definitely be a challenge. She suggests offering free content or coupons as an incentive to get people to contribute.

As Jeremy said, many people struggle with fear or shyness when it comes to sharing their story. This can hold customers back from being open with you.

Q6: What are some best practices for featuring your customers in emails?

To make sure you’e featuring your customers and doing it in the best way possible, keep this advice in mind:

Kristen reminded us that we need to receive permission from customers before sharing their stories. It’s also important to make sure you don’t release any sensitive information when sharing.

She also suggests letting customers know where testimonials and user-generated content will be used so they know in advance.

Always ask first! Don’t assume your customer wants to be featured.

Choose your email content wisely. Patrice said the content you include needs to appeal to your audience and be relevant.

Sarah also agrees that it needs to be relevant to everyone on your email list.

This one should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s something that people are guilty of doing. Don’t make up customer reviews or testimonials. It’s misleading to your audience. So, if you don’t have any reviews to share, ask previous customers for them.

Q7: What are some tips for getting to know your audience better?

In order to create customer-centric email content that resonates with your audience, you need to get to know them and understand them. Here’s how you can do that to create your best content possible:

The best way to get to know your audience is to just ask! Kristen recommends creating a survey and sending it to your email list. Ask key questions to understand who your audience is and what they need from you.

Make sure you take the time to actually talk to your audience and listen to what they have to say. It shows that you care and gets you all the information you need to know about them.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get the conversation going. Sarah suggests finding out where your audience hangs out online and being present there.

Once you find your audience online, make sure you’er also listening to what they have to say and reading the content they share. It’s a great way to get insight into their needs.

Communication is key! Talk to your audience and focus on building a relationship with them if you want to get to know them better.

Zala is absolutely right about that! Getting to know your audience is a never-ending task and there’s always something new to learn. This is why you need to be proactive about it.

Julia suggests creating a customer persona so you know exactly who you’re trying to reach with your content. From there, spend time getting to know them in a non-stalkerish kind of way.

Q8: What are some great examples of customer-centric email content?

To learn more about creating customer-centric email content, we asked our chat participants to share some great examples with us. Check out these suggestions:

Kristen loves Spotify’s Tracked campaign. She said it’s a great use of data to tell a personalized story.

Another example Kristen is a fan of is Glossier. Showcasing people using their products is a great way to spark interest and encourage purchases.

For Julia, she’s a big fan of Panera’s emails. They’re relevant to the purchases she makes and to her unique preferences.

Curated said Time Out London does a great job at tailoring their email content for customers.

Emily suggests sharing birthday promotions, individualized product recommendations based on previous orders, and customizing your marketing to the customer.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

email content marketing

An Up-to-Date, Nutshell Guide to Your Best Email Content Marketing

Have you ever wondered how effective your emails are?

Do they leave an impression, or just end up in the trash folder?

It may be that you measure email success by the amount of people who open it and then click through. Which means that the email first has to be opened, then read, then clicked.

Not to mention it also has to be the appropriate length and interesting enough to engage readers and move them to action.

How much does email length matter? Can your tone shine through, and does anyone really read the subject line, anyway?

We’re here to break the answers to these questions down, and give you an updated guide (with a recent Boomerang exclusive!) all about email content marketing. Boost your email results when you put these into practice. Keep reading!

guide to email content marketing

Email Marketing 101

Email is still critical to our content marketing efforts today.

Take a look at these email marketing stats for a better understanding of the impact email has in the industry:

  • Marketers have seen a 760% increase in revenue from segmented email campaigns.
  • Automated email messages average over 70% higher open rates and over 150% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” messages.
  • Email is 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter or Facebook.

Email is the connection between us and our prospects.

When content marketers invest their time and resources into powerful emails, the reach potential is limitless.

While technology has changed and social media has emerged over the past decade, email has stayed as a constant. Sure, we may not be using the same domain we did ten years ago, but the truth remains that when we need to send information, we email it.

When we want to be connected to our favorite brand, we join their email list.

Need a receipt for your store purchase, but don’t want a paper copy? Have it emailed.

For these reasons and more, content marketing efforts can be enhanced when we learn to take the best email marketing practices and use them effectively.

3 Best Email Content Marketing Practices

Back in the early 90’s, email hit the scene. Remember those AOL disks that were available through the mail and at the grocery store checkout stand?

And how we communicate has not been the same since. (Letters? What are those?)

Fast-forward to 2017, when 93% of marketers now say they use email for content distribution and consider it an important channel for their marketing success. And while it does remain an effective tool, it doesn’t mean we always use it in the best way.

Emails have a wide range of possibilities in reaching an audience, including:

  • Newsletters
  • Product updates
  • Transactional emails (after one has taken action on your website)
  • Deals and promotions

There are some qualities that make email an effective tool for your content marketing efforts. We have to learn the best way to increase the open rate, how to craft a subject line, how to create quality content, and how to choose the best time to write.

1. Learn How to Write a Great Email

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m a content writer. I know how to write.”

Isn’t it true that if we all knew how to write effective emails, there would be a higher response rate and we would be inundated with conversions?

Especially since over 200 billion email messages are sent every day.

So, yes, we can all use reminders from time to time about how to write effectively, and specifically, how to craft an email that engages the audience and encourages action.

A. Craft a compelling subject line

This seems like an obvious one, but if the subject isn’t engaging, few readers will want to click through to the actual content. Start by incorporating language that tells the reader what he or she can look forward to in the email.

Words like “take,” “don’t miss,” and “reserve” are goods one to start with.

B. Use personalization, if you can

Shaping email content to fit a reader’s needs by using customer segmentation has the potential to increase revenue.

In a study conducted by Direct Marketing Association, emails which were segmented and targeted generated 58 percent of the total revenue for marketers surveyed while 36 percent of revenue came from emails sent to specific target selections.

direct marketing association

C. Create relevant and honest content

No one wants their time wasted, so coming up with a catchy email subject line that has nothing to do with the content inside is unfair and irresponsible. While you are crafting an engaging and personalized subject line, keep in mind that it should align with the content in the actual email. This not only keeps everything relevant, but sets you apart as an honest authority who isn’t out to trick anyone into clicking.

D. Continue to offer relevancy by expressing to the reader right away why you are writing

What is your connection? How are you providing a solution to the need? Our reach will go much farther when we highlight the benefits rather than the feature.

E. Get to the point

Practice writing concisely so the end result is powerful, tight sentences.

Too wordy, and you’ll lose your readers. Too short, and they could miss the point.

Content marketers must find a way to summarize a catch for the reader and encourage a click-through.

Everywhere we go, we see content – in just one minute, there are millions of Facebook and Instagram likes, hundreds of thousands of Tweets, and hours upon hours of YouTube videos uploaded.

We are consumed by content.

The last thing we need is more unusable information, interruptions, or sales pitches coming through our inbox. A long, drawn-out copy won’t cut it here; readers must be able to sift through quickly in order to make a decision about whether or not they’ll click through.

Try keeping emails between 50 and 125 words, which can increase the response rate for your efforts.

Suggested tool: SmartBlogger’s list of 317 Power Words

2. Learn How to Close Out

After we learn how to craft email content that engages the readers, it comes time to find the most effective closing methods.

Email closings matter. How we wrap up that fantastic content determines the response rate for our readers, and a few words can make the difference between clicking through and sending an email to the trash.

Boomerang conducted a study on more than 350,000 email threads and found that certain email closings were more effective at delivering higher response rates.

boomerang findings
Graphic from Boomerang

The best way to close an email?

With gratitude.

Those closings that included a variation of “thank you” saw a higher response rate than those that included words like “best” and “regards.”

Some of the most popular closings included a simple “thanks,” “cheers,” and “kind regards.”

Thanks in advance received the highest increase based on the average response rate.

In addition to the closing greeting, a CTA will tell your audience what to do. Simply adding a button that says “click here” may not be as effective as a call-to-action that clearly spells out what will happen when they click.

Here are some examples:

  • “Take the Survey”
  • “Learn the Secret”
  • “Get the Free Report”

Each email should be backed by something you want them to do, one central focus. The call-to-action always revolves around that one goal, even if there are multiple CTAs in one email.

Tools: 380 High Emotion Words, 80+ Marketing Words to Improve Email Campaigns

3. Learn When to Send

When is the best time to send an email out? Is every day too often, and is once a month not often enough?

Opinions on the best day and time to send emails will vary across the industry, but there are some general guidelines we can follow that will contribute to maximum impact. In fact, analysts looked at billions of emails in order to gain insight into the best times to send emails, and the results are a bit different across the board.

Best days: Tuesday came in first place, according to data collected. In a close second was Thursday, followed by Wednesday.

As a side note, there were high click-through rates on Saturdays and Sundays, but since those are also the days when the fewest emails are sent, it kind of balanced out.

coschedule email tips

Graphic from CoSchedule

Best times: That same research had some interesting findings when it came to the best time to send email content. In first place was 10 a.m., followed by 8 p.m. – midnight, and then 2 p.m.

Email 4

Some of these times might be surprising, but they also make sense; for example, many of us check our emails before bed, so the 8 p.m. timeframe fits that habit.

While this collection of data is not a one-size-fits-all for every brand, it is a good place to start.

Begin by sending out email content on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at one of the times suggested. You may be surprised at what you find.

Grammar, Typos, & other Things We’ve Forgotten Since High School

Did you know Mondays are the worst days for email subject line errors?

And the more errors in an email’s subject line, the less likely it is to receive a response.

Grammar misuse and typos don’t scream “authority.” Instead, mistakes convey the message that the sender didn’t quite care enough to check and double-check the content.

It reduces our credibility as content marketers, interferes with the user experience, and pushes down the response we could get if only we had been more careful. If emails with an error have a response rate of only 29%, it’s worth our time and effort to read over everything carefully before hitting the “send” button.

If you need some help in this area, there are some effective tools you can use to boost your grammar and spelling.

  • After the Deadline: Paste in your content and get feedback that includes spelling errors as well as grammar and style suggestions.
  • Grammar Checker: This tool catches spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and misuse of words.
  • StackEdit: Create professional-looking content and use the inbuilt spell checker to fix errors.
  • Write like a third grader: Emails written in this way saw a 36 percent life over those crafted at a college-reading level as well as a 17% higher response rate.
  • Read, then read again: Do a thorough read of your email content, take a short break, and then read it again. Check for sentence flow, clarity of thought, and grammar mistakes. Click any links you’ve included to make sure they work and go to the right place.
  • Send it to yourself: Remember writing speeches for high school and practicing them out loud? The same idea can be used here; send your email to yourself or one colleague to make sure all is good to go. This step can help to minimize typos and gives you or someone you know one more chance to proofread.

Get Awesome in Your Email Content

None of us want to spend time on emails that ultimately don’t get opened (boring headline) or get opened but lead to no action (boring content).

For truly awesome email content, your focus must be first on an engaging subject line, then on relevant and attention-grabbing content which is followed by an effective CTA. See more great email practices.

When we combine these practices with a focus on sending at the right time and on the best day, we can be on our way to crafting high-quality email content that everyone will want to share and be a part of.

Need help writing fantastic email content? Check out our email copywriting services!

How to Write Emails That Will Astound Your Readers

Writing emails seems like an easy task, for some.

For those of us who actually care that our emails get read, there are rules to live by, unfortunately.

There are tips on how to write emails that will ultimately get our message across to our readers. And when we say across, we mean that they will digest every bit of the content of our emails and not just the parts that strike them.

Read more