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How to Create an Email Content Strategy: Step-by-Step Guide

May 24, 2024 | Latest, Email Marketing Strategy, Marketing Tips

How to Create an Email Content Strategy: Step-by-Step Guide

Email marketing is not just about sending out promotional emails or newsletters. It’s about building relationships with subscribers and providing value through your content.

A well-thought-out email strategy can help you achieve this and take your email marketing to the next level.

Why is an Email Content Strategy Important?

An email content strategy helps you plan, organise and create relevant and engaging content for your email campaigns.

It ensures you provide value to your subscribers, not just bombarding them with sales pitches.

Having a strategy also helps you stay consistent, which is crucial for building trust and credibility with your audience.

A successful email marketing campaign requires a thoughtful approach, and creating an email content strategy can help you achieve that. 

It also allows you to track the success of your email campaigns by analysing metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

Benefits of Email Marketing

  • Reach Larger Audiences: With email marketing, you can easily reach a larger audience in a short amount of time. This makes it an efficient way to promote your products or services.
  • Builds Trust: By consistently delivering valuable content to your subscribers, you can build trust and credibility with your audience. This can lead to long-term relationships and repeat customers.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to traditional marketing methods, email marketing is more cost-effective. You don’t have to spend large sums of money on printing and postage, making it a budget-friendly option for businesses of all sizes.
  • Highly Targeted: With email marketing, you can segment your audience and tailor your content accordingly. This allows you to send targeted messages more likely to resonate with your subscribers, increasing the chances of conversion.
  • Measurable Results: Email marketing will enable you to track and measure the success of your campaigns by providing valuable metrics. This allows you to make data-driven decisions and improve your email content strategy over time. 
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Step-by-step Guide to Creating an Email Content Strategy

1. Define Your Goals

Defining your business goals is essential before you start creating your email content strategy.

What do you want to achieve through your email marketing? Is it to increase website traffic, generate leads, or drive sales?

Defining clear and measurable goals will help guide your content creation and ensure it aligns with your overall marketing objectives. 

Here are some things to think about to help you define your goals: 

  • Who is your target audience? 
  • What are their pain points, and how can your product/service help solve them?
  • How do you want your subscribers to interact with your emails (i.e. click through to the website, make a purchase, etc.)?

2. Understand Your Audience

To create effective email content, you need to understand your audience. Who are they? What are their interests and pain points? 

By segmenting your mailing list and creating buyer personas, you can tailor your content to resonate with different groups of subscribers and send targeted messages to the right people. 

This will increase the relevance and effectiveness of your emails.

To help understand your audience, try these tools:

  • Google Search: Helps you identify the most popular queries related to your product or industry, revealing what potential customers are searching for. 
  • Answer the Public: Answer the Public provides information about common questions about specific keywords, offering a window into the topics your audience cares about.
  • Facebook Groups: Join Facebook Groups related to your industry to observe conversations and questions, giving you direct insight into your audience’s challenges and interests. Participating or observing discussions in these groups can highlight pain points and topics of interest that your email content can address.
  • Reddit or Quora: Similar to Facebook Groups, these platforms allow you to see what questions and discussions are happening around your industry or product. This can give you ideas for email content that will resonate with your audience.
  • Semrush or Ahrefs: Semrush or Ahrefs offers comprehensive SEO insights, identifying keywords your target audience is typing into Google to help you understand them better.

email content strategy

3. Identify Your  Content Mix and Email Design

When creating your email content strategy, it’s essential to consider your brand, messaging and the types of products or services that you offer. The best email content and design align with your brand and messaging.

For example, if you are a coach or consultant, your email content may focus on providing valuable information, tips and advice in your area of expertise.

Simple, clean, text-based emails to share information with subscribers may be the right strategy.

On the other hand, if you are an e-commerce business, your content mix may involve promoting new products, offering exclusive discounts or showcasing customer testimonials.

Newsletter templates or visually enriched emails with product photos are popular in these industries. 

Depending on your audience and niche, the type of emails you send, from layout to content, will differ.

Here are some ideas:

Pain Text Emails

  • Short and simple text emails that include a single call to action, such as promoting a new product or service.
  • Suited for brands aiming for a personal, one-on-one conversation feel.
  • Benefits: Highly accessible, fast and easy to write, mobile-friendly, ensures message integrity.

Newsletter Emails: 

  • Larger and more in-depth email newsletters that can include multiple articles, updates, and promotions.
  • Suited for brands looking to captivate and engage through visuals.
  • Benefits: Allows creative expression of the brand, breaks up dense information, and is effective for e-commerce or visually engaging businesses.

Educational: 

  • Share educational content, tips, or resources related to your niche. 
  • Suited for businesses that want to provide value and establish themselves as leaders.
  • Benefits: Builds trust and credibility and establishes expertise in the industry.

Promotional Emails: 

  • Keep your audience informed about new products, features, or services. 
  • Suited for brands looking to promote their offerings and generate sales. E-commerce, retail, or any business with new product launches or promotions. 
  • Benefits: Generates excitement, increases brand awareness, and drives sales and conversions. 

Product Updates & Announcements:

  • Keep your audience informed about new products, features, or services.
  • Suited for brands looking to keep their audience updated on new products or features.
  • Benefits: Keeps customers engaged and informed.

Exclusive Offers and Discounts: 

  • Rewards your email subscribers with special promotions, discounts, or early access to new products. This encourages loyalty and repeat business. 
  • Suited for businesses looking to reward their loyal customers and drive sales.
  • Benefits: Increase customer retention, drive sales and conversions, and create a sense of exclusivity for email subscribers. 

Customer Stories & Testimonials

  • Share success stories or testimonials from satisfied customers to build trust and encourage potential customers to purchase.  
  • Suited for businesses looking to showcase their happy customers and build social proof.
  • Benefits: Builds trust and credibility, boosts brand reputation, and encourages conversions. 

4. Plan Your Email Content

Once you have identified your target audience and goals, it’s time to start planning and creating high-quality content for your email marketing. 

Here are some strategies to help guide your content creation process:

  • Develop a Content Calendar: Creating a content calendar can help you stay organised and ensure your email campaigns are consistent. It also lets you plan for holidays, special promotions, or product launches. Use tools like ClickUp or Trello to help you keep track of your email content schedule.
email content strategy
  • Use Eye-Catching Subject Lines: Your subject line is the first thing subscribers see, so it’s essential to make it attention-grabbing. Use action words, emojis, or personalisation to entice your audience to open your email.
  • Personalise Your Content: Personalisation can make your emails feel more personalised and relevant to the recipient. This can include using their name in the subject line or tailoring the content based on past interactions with your brand.
  • Include Engaging Visuals: Images and videos can help break up long blocks of text and make your emails more visually appealing. Just be sure to optimise them for different devices and internet speeds.
  • Include a Strong Call to Action (CTA): A CTA prompts your audience to take action, whether purchasing or signing up for an event. Ensure your CTA is clear, concise and stands out in your email.
  • Provide Valuable Content: Your emails should provide value to your audience, whether it’s through educational content, promotions, or exclusive offers. This will keep them engaged and interested in receiving future emails from you. 
  • Use Storytelling: Incorporating storytelling into your emails can be a powerful way to connect with your audience and make your content more engaging. Use real-life examples, customer testimonials, or personal anecdotes to humanise your brand and create a deeper connection with your subscribers.
  • Use Email Templates: Use pre-designed email templates to save time and provide a professional look to your emails. Make sure the template aligns with your brand’s visual identity and is mobile-friendly.
email content strategy

5. Use an Email Marketing Platform

Email marketing platforms to host and send your email marketing campaigns will transform your entire email content strategy.

These tools streamline the process of creating and managing email campaigns and significantly improve deliverability rates. This ensures your message reaches the intended inbox, not the spam folder.

By harnessing the power of email marketing software, you can easily segment their audience, personalise messages, and automate campaigns, leading to higher engagement rates.

These platforms provide detailed analytics, giving insights into what works and what doesn’t, allowing for data-driven decisions to optimise campaigns.

Some of the top tools we love and recommend include:

MailerLite

  • Pros: Mailerlite is known for its simplicity and effectiveness, ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Suited for: Small to medium-sized businesses looking for an easy-to-use email marketing solution.

ActiveCampaign

  • Pros: ActiveCampaign offers advanced automation features and CRM integration, perfect for scaling email marketing efforts.
  • Suited for: Businesses aiming to scale their email marketing with advanced features efficiently.
email content strategy

ConvertKit

  • Pros: ConvertKit is tailor-made for content creators and bloggers, with easy-to-use templates and automation to grow their audience.
  • Suited for: Content creators and bloggers seeking to expand their reach with practical email marketing tools.
email content strategy

6. Segment Your Audience

One of the most significant advantages of email marketing software is the ability to segment your audience. 

You can send more targeted and relevant messages by dividing your subscribers into groups based on their interests, behaviours, or demographics.

Segmentation allows for a highly personalised approach that speaks directly to the needs and preferences of each group, leading to higher open and click-through rates. 

This also helps create more tailored and effective campaigns, reducing the risk of generic messages that may resonate with only some of your audience.

Some ideas on how you can segment your audience include:

  • Demographic Segmentation: This involves categorising your audience based on demographic factors such as age, gender, income, education level, or occupation. Tailoring your messaging to meet each demographic’s unique needs and preferences can significantly increase engagement.
  • Geographic Segmentation: Target your audience based on their location, which can be as broad as a country or as specific as a neighbourhood. This segmentation benefits local businesses or events and tailors content to regional interests and needs.
  • Behavioural Segmentation: Categorise subscribers according to their behaviour, including purchase history, website activity, and email engagement.
  • Psychographic Segmentation: Focuses on the psychological aspects of consumer behaviour, including values, beliefs, interests, and lifestyle. This segmentation helps create messages that resonate more deeply with your audience’s motivations and desires. 
email content strategy

7. Personalise Your Emails

A powerful strategy with email marketing is personalisation. You can create customised email campaigns to meet each group’s specific needs and interests by segmenting your audience. 

This personalisation can include using their name in the email subject lines or salutations, tailoring relevant content based on their demographics or past behaviour, and sending emails at the right time for optimal engagement.

The more personalised your emails are, the more likely they will be opened and engaged with by your subscribers.

Take the time to understand and segment your audience, and use this information to create targeted, relevant, and personalised email campaigns.

8. Offer Value

The primary goal of an effective email marketing strategy should always be to offer value to your subscribers.

It’s not just about selling a product or a service; it’s about building relationships and establishing trust. 

You can achieve this by sharing insightful content, offering helpful tips, or providing access to exclusive deals.

The idea is to make your subscribers feel valued and not just like another number on your sales target list.

Understanding your audience’s needs and interests and tailoring your content to meet those needs will help with this step.

It’s about providing something genuinely useful to them, which helps build a solid foundation of trust. 

When your audience trusts you, they are more likely to engage with your content and take the actions you desire.

9. Include a Clear Call to Action

In addition to offering value, every email should include a clear call to action (CTA).

Whether it’s inviting them to visit your website, watch your latest YouTube video, read your most recent blog post, or check out your newest product.

The CTA should be clear and concise. It doesn’t mean that every email should be a hard sell. 

On the contrary, the CTA can be as simple as encouraging your subscribers to learn more about a topic that interests them. 

The main goal is to make it easy for them to take the next step, whatever that may be. 

email content strategy

10. Engage with Your Audience

One of the most significant benefits of email marketing is the ability to engage directly with your audience.

While sending out newsletters and promotional emails is essential, it’s also crucial to open up channels of communication for your subscribers to reach out to you.

Encourage them to reply to your emails and ask questions. This allows for a two-way conversation and helps build a stronger connection with your audience.

It also allows you to gather feedback and insights from your subscribers, which can be valuable in shaping future content and campaigns.

Additionally, consider hosting live Q&A sessions or creating a private Facebook Group for your email subscribers. This creates a sense of community and provides even more opportunities for engagement and interaction.

11. Mobile Optimisation

With most people checking their emails on their mobile devices, ensuring that your emails are optimised for mobile viewing is crucial. 

Use a responsive design that adjusts to fit different screen sizes and ensures your email is easily read and navigated on a smaller screen. 

You can achieve this by using email marketing software like Active Campaign or MailerLite. 

In addition, use only a few images or complex designs that could take a long time to load on a mobile device. Keep your email marketing content concise and to the point with clear and clickable CTAs.

email content strategy

12. Analyse and Adapt

As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to regularly analyse the performance of your email campaigns and make adjustments as needed. Look at open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to see what’s working and what can be improved.

Understand your bounce rate and ensure your contact list is clean and up-to-date to avoid any issues with deliverability. 

Experiment with different subject lines, email templates, and types of content to see what resonates best with your audience. 

Use A/B testing to compare the performance of different elements within an email, such as images or call-to-action buttons.

By regularly analysing and adapting your email marketing strategy, you can ensure that you effectively engage with your audience and achieve your goals.

email content strategy

Email Content Marketing Tools

Using the right tools makes your email content planning and creation easy and effective.

Here are some of our favourites to get you started.

Content Research Tools

BuzzSumo

    • BuzzSumo is a valuable content research and analysis tool for email content planning and strategy.
    • Use BuzzSumo to discover trending topics, popular content in your industry or niche, and inspiring email content ideas.
email content strategy

Answer the Public

    • Answer the Public is a keyword research tool that generates content ideas based on popular search queries.
    • Use Answer the Public to discover common questions and topics related to your industry or niche, which can be used as inspiration for email content.
email content strategy

Semrush

    • Semrush offers features for keyword research, competitive analysis, and SEO optimisation.
    • Use Semrush to conduct keyword research for your email content to help you understand more about your audience and what they are searching for.
email content strategy

Project Management Tools

ClickUp

    • ClickUp is a project management tool offering content planning and collaboration features.
    • Create tasks or projects for each email campaign or content initiative, and use ClickUp’s customisable task views to track content creation, review, and scheduling.
email content strategy

Trello

    • Trello is a flexible project management tool that can be customised for content planning.
    • Create boards in Trello for different email campaigns or content categories and use cards to outline content ideas, deadlines, and tasks.

email content strategy

Writing Tools

Grammarly

    • Grammarly is a writing assistant tool that aids in email content planning and creation by ensuring clarity, correctness, and professionalism in writing.
    • Integrate Grammarly into your email writing process to catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in real-time and enhance your email content’s overall quality and readability.
email content strategy

Jasper AI

    • Jasper AI is an AI-powered writing assistant designed to streamline the email content creation process.
    • Generate high-quality email content quickly by providing prompts or outlines based on desired topics or keywords. Use Jasper AI to brainstorm ideas, outline email content, and generate compelling subject lines.
email content strategy

ChatGPT

    • ChatGPT is an AI-powered conversational agent that can assist with email content planning and creation.
    • Conversationally engage with ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas, outline email content, create engaging subject lines and refine your messaging.
email content strategy

Design Tools

Canva

    • Canva is a versatile graphic design platform for email content planning and creation.
    • Access a wide range of pre-designed templates in Canva for email elements like headers, banners, and promotional graphics.
email content strateg

Email Marketing Software

MailerLite

    • MailerLite is an easy-to-use email marketing platform that provides tools for email content creation, automation, and analytics.
    • Use MailerLite’s drag-and-drop editor to design and customise campaign email templates. Schedule and automate email sends based on subscriber behaviour or specific triggers, such as sign-ups or purchase
email content strategy

ActiveCampaign

  • ActiveCampaign offers features for email content planning, personalisation, and automation.
  • Create email campaigns and automation workflows in ActiveCampaign to deliver targeted content to different segments of your audience. A robust tool that has everything!
email content strategy

HubSpot

    • HubSpot offers a comprehensive suite of tools for email marketing, including content planning features.
    • HubSpot’s content calendar allows you to schedule and organise your email campaigns, blog posts, social media content, and more in one place.
email content strategy

Conclusion

Email marketing is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience, promoting your brand, and driving conversions. 

By understanding the importance of delivering valuable content, engaging with your subscribers, and regularly analysing and adapting your campaigns, you can use email marketing to take your business to the next level. 

Don’t hesitate to get started with email marketing – it’s a valuable tool for any business looking to grow and succeed.

    email content strategy

    Next Steps

    Need help developing your email content strategy? We specialise in email marketing from concept to systems, automation workflows, content ideas and more.

    We manage all your email marketing needs, making the process easy. Book a free discovery call with us today to learn more.

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.

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