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Email marketing needs content as well as context

When it comes to email marketing, I am often asked “when is the best time to send an email?” and “how often should I be communicating via email marketing?”

Both of these are valid and important questions to ask. But perhaps the wrong question.

When it comes to email marketing, the question should be "how do I send the right message, to the right person at the right time?"

And the answer is then, to do this you need to think about context as much as content.

The Right Message

When your email has the right message, you get better results. This is because you are sending a message that has the right context. This helps build trust and increases engagement.

It is all about being human and being helpful. The more you know about your target audience, the more you can identify their challenges and provide solutions to meet these.

You need to always understand: 1. Why are you sending the email – what is your goal?

2. What value are you delivering to the recipient - why will they be interested?

3. What do you want them to do with the information – what's the desired outcome?

You need to send content that is relevant. It has to have context. If it is not relevant, us humans have the ability to filter out the message without event thinking about it. To make your messages relevant, know what is important to your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and use language they would use; avoid fancy terms and jargon. And getting grips with the art of personalisation is a real golden ticket. This is where the content you deliver is based on the audience’s previous behaviour.

The Right Person Your audience will not all be the same. They will have different interests. Their experiences with you will be different. Some will not know you at all; others will know you really well. Others may have forgotten about you. That is why segmentation is so important. Batch and blast is mainly used because it is the simplest solution. Yet this means one message for everyone. Those who segment deliver better engagement as the messages are more relevant. Unsubscribes reduce and click to opens rise. There are many ways to segment. Choose what is right for you. The Right Time Sending your messages at the right time matters too. To get to a point of analysing this, you will need to a bit of testing. Try different times and days to build up a data picture.

As you build up data, and if your email platform allows it, you can use send time optimisation. This sends the emails to each person at the best time based upon their previous interactions. Clever stuff huh? If your platform does not permit this, then do an analysis to work out if you can identify the perfect time and day. And moreover, use trigger emails whereby you can automatically send an email to someone based on their real time activity – such as download a document from your website.

Conclusion Email marketing has evolved over the years and gives marketers a powerful tool – when used well. The key is to ensure that you are sending that right message to the right person at the right time and focus on getting the content and context perfect.

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