Prospective clients are inundated with advertising, making them experts at ignoring your flashing banner ad or simply using their DVR to fast-forward through your commercial. Because of this, content marketing has become more important than ever. By providing free information your potential clients actually want, you gain their interest, and after supplying quality actionable advice six times, you’ve earned their trust…and then their business.
At the forefront of content marketing is the newsletter.
Oops, I lost your attention already. Did I say “newsletter”? I mean “six-part mini course,” which brings me to step one of the No. 1 Newsletter Strategy:
1. Use the phrase “six-part mini course.”
At Affilorama, we found that terming our newsletter a “six-part mini course” garners far more subscribers than the term “newsletter.” Whereas “newsletter” evokes thoughts of dull, uninspiring company updates, the term “course” conveys interesting, valuable information. People are drawn to numbers, which in this case, provides certainty of how many installments to expect. Creating a “six-part mini course” may sound daunting, but it’s nothing more than creating six quality daily newsletters packed with as much value as possible, which brings me to step two.
2. Content is king.
It’s a tired cliché, but it’s true. Quality content should be the backbone of all content strategies. By consistently rewarding your customers with compelling, new information, you create positive reinforcement, which leads to repeat behaviors — continuing to open your correspondence.
We have found that if prospective customers don’t unsubscribe within the first 10 points of contact, the chances of them unsubscribing in the future dramatically decreases. Essentially, they’re far more forgiving of the occasional substandard email if you’ve already built a foundation of delivering quality content. To prevent unsubscribes, don’t be afraid to pack your best, most intriguing information into your first six newsletters. Without quality content, you won’t gain their loyalty and the No. 1 Newsletter Strategy won’t work.
In fact, as profitable as quality content marketing can be, it can be equally detrimental if it’s subpar. With inadequate content, potential customers lose trust in your company and conversions actually decrease, so if you’re unable to invest the time and energy into a quality publication, you’re actually better off not engaging in content marketing. But don’t worry; content marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Check out this article for five different content creation options.
3. Soft sell along the way.
The content of your six-part mini course should apply to your products or services, so inevitably, the benefits of your business will creep into your email. When they do, take a soft-sell approach, being more informative than promotional. For 12 soft-sell tips, check out this SitePoint article.
4. Deliver the hard sell.
Save the hard sell for your seventh installment, which should be delivered the day after your sixth. At this point in the No. 1 Newsletter Strategy, your subscribers are so impressed with your free content that they’re ready to buy your premium offering. Don’t forget to include some helpful content in your seventh edition, but the focus should be your hard sell, emphasizing the benefits of your product or service rather than its features. Read this CMO.com article for some important considerations about hard selling.
5. Give a bonus.
With the hard sell, offer a bonus, such as a free sample or a free trial period. After enjoying your six-part mini course, your subscribers were already prepared to buy, but by adding a bonus, the offer becomes simply irresistible.
6. Continue to communicate.
Following the hard sell, send your regular newsletters every three days. Alternate article formats, but every seventh edition should be a hard sell sent the day after a regular edition. Check out this blog post for 19 different article types you can choose from.
After lots of testing, we found that sending an email two to three times a week earns optimal results. That volume of emails may sound high, but it’s necessary when accounting for unopened emails. Realistically, your subscribers may only open one or two emails out of every five.
Continue providing quality information even after completing your six-part mini course. You don’t want your customers to think now that you have some of their money, you don’t care about their education and success. Persist in providing quality information, and your subscribers will persist as paying customers.
We’d love your opinion – what strategies have you tested through email marketing? Who do you know that does content marketing well?
Simon can be followed on most major social platforms including Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn and regularly comments for Forbes, SMH, NZ Business and CEO Blog Nation.
In his spare time Simon enjoys playing squash, snowboarding and spending time with his wife and daughter.
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