With all the buzz about social media, videos, and blogs, email content marketing can sometimes seem like the “also ran” in the digital marketing race.
But here’s a secret: Email content marketing is actually where it’s at. More people use email than social media. Distributing content through email means that your message is much more likely to reach its intended audience than if you were to use other means of distribution.
Still not convinced? Take a look at the stats behind email and at the various ways successful content marketers have put it to good use.
Who’s Using Email?
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook get a lot of buzz for having hundreds of millions and even billions of active daily users. But the number of people using email blows social media usage numbers out of the water.
At the end of 2017, around 3.7 billion people — or more than half of the world’s population — used email, according to data from the Radicati Group.
If you break email users into groups based on the email client they use, Gmail comes out on top, with more than 1 billion active users in 2016. Outlook.com claims to have 400 million users. These numbers aren’t including the people who still cling to their Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail addresses for dear life.
Email’s not only popular today. It’s expected to attract more users as the years tick on. By 2021, it’s estimated that more than 4 billion people will have and use an email address.
Why Is Email So Popular?
Those who are quick to snub email or to argue that its “time has come” forget one important thing. You need email to use pretty much any other platform online. If you want to use messaging services like Slack, you need to sign up with an email address. If you want to create a social media account on Twitter or Facebook, you need email.
Far from being the obsolete cousin of newer marketing methods, email is the gateway to every other type of content marketing.
What Types of Email Work for Content Marketing?
Content marketers tend to use email in a few different ways. According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 86 percent of B2C marketers use email for content marketing distribution. Meanwhile, 93 percent of B2B marketers use email to distribute content.
Both B2C and B2B marketers rank email content marketing as the most effective and the most successful way to distribute content.
Interestingly enough, and perhaps also confusingly enough, both B2C and B2B marketers consider email content marketing to be the least successful way to distribute content.
It could be that there’s more to email content marketing than the medium.
How to Improve Your Email Content Marketing Efforts
If your brand can imagine the benefits of email content marketing, but hasn’t yet been able to experience the benefits of email just yet, all’s not lost. You can take a few steps to improve your email content marketing.
Automate your emails
Automated emails send a particular message to a particular customer based on a defined set of criteria. Sometimes called triggered emails, they tend to have a higher click-through rate (152 percent higher, in fact) compared to other messages. An example of an automated email is a “Happy Birthday” message on a customer’s birthday, an abandoned cart reminder, or a Welcome message when someone joins your newsletter.
Personalizing an email message makes people more likely to open it. Emails with a first name in the subject line tend to have higher opening rates that emails without a name, according to Hubspot.
Get the timing right
When you send your emails matters. For example, more emails get opened and responded to when sent at 11am than when sent at any other time of day.
Go easy on the images
Everyone’s all about visuals and graphics in content marketing. But in email content marketing, too many images can hurt you. Hubspot found that click-through rates dropped as the number of images in the message increased.
In a world full of shiny, new content marketing options, email might look tired and outdated. But it can be just as effective (if not more effective) a tool for reaching your audience today as it was when it first rolled out.