Getting the Most from Your Content with Email Marketing
Slickstream note: Today, we're doing something different on the blog, and inviting Allea Grummert to write a guest post that we think aligns very nicely with what we do. She's an expert on email marketing, and has a ton of great advice on how to get more out of your existing content. This is not an advertisement or a paid placement -- it's just content we thought would be valuable to our subscribers. Enjoy!
You put a lot of work into creating content that resonates with your readers (like, a LOT), but are your ideal readers finding it?
If they’re not finding you or they don’t know your blog posts exist, you’re not only missing out on valuable traffic from interested readers… your potential readers are missing out on YOU and your content.
That’s why it's important to make the most out of the content you already have — and a little effort can go a long way. Since Slickstream handles the on-site experience, they've asked me to discuss another crucial component that's often-neglected: emails.
Increase your site traffic by repurposing content and sending automated nurture emails
With email marketing, there are some incredible, automated ways to ensure your content is showing up in the inboxes of people who want to hear from you (they subscribed, didn't they?!).
And the best part? You don’t have to create anything from scratch. The key is to repurpose the genius content you’ve already developed in your blog post and simply provide another avenue (via the inbox) for readers to see it, click through to your site, and engage with your content.
Pretty sweet, huh?
Email marketing boosts content engagement
Beyond the fact that email marketing is not affected by algorithms or changes to SEO — so you’ll never have to “fight” to stay on top — it’s a medium that allows you to personally connect with readers and learn what’s important to them (through segmentation; we’ll cover that below, including a case study from Pinch of Yum!).
Whether you’re sending out newsletters or you have email sequences set up to go out to new subscribers automatically, email proves to be a top contender in the online space for building relationships and driving traffic to your website.
Here are three ways email marketing can support your traffic and engagement goals:
- Automated email marketing can provide consistent traffic to your site from a source OTHER than Google, Pinterest or social media. Let’s diversify your traffic sources, shall we?
Unlike with those other platforms, email gives you more control over generating traffic. How? Well, you can send traffic to your site (any time you want!) simply by clicking “send.”
- Email marketing allows you to share your new content with an audience who has chosen to hear from you. With email, you’re not just hoping you’ll connect with the right people — you’ll know you have the right people because they’ve given you their email address. So unlike publishing something into the social-media-abyss and being squashed by some algorithm, email marketing allows you to send valuable content directly to your audience.
- Email clickthrough rates and ROI outperform social media efforts (source).A warm list of subscribers is more likely to engage with the blog content you share via email than asking them to click through on social media. Not only that, but email conversion rates outperform Facebook and Twitter by 40x (source). While you don’t need to stop using social media, simply re-route your strategy to ask followers to join your email list — that way they’ll never miss an update from you!
Three strategies you can implement to get the most out of your content through email marketing
As a welcome and nurture sequence copywriter, there are three email sequences I always recommend to my clients to help boost consistent web traffic to their content:
- A solid welcome sequence for new subscribers
- Consistent, live content (i.e. a regular newsletter, broadcast or campaign)
- An ongoing evergreen nurture sequence
These three email strategies allow you to build connection, consistency, and boost potential sales and site traffic by optimizing your relationship with readers right away.
If you’re already implementing one of these strategies, try adding in one of the other two, then build on that until you get up to all three. If you’re just getting started with email, start with one of the first two.
01 | Set up an automated welcome sequence
The Welcome Sequence is what subscribers will receive first, right after they join your email list — this is when they are the MOST interested in what you have to offer. This sequence can leave a lasting impression on subscribers and reinforce how you’ll support them, now that they’re part of your community.
Since it’s automated, all of your subscribers will receive the same introduction to your blog or business — no matter HOW they joined your list — like popular blog posts, content themes they can explore on your site, and introductions to products or affiliates.
Depending on how much time you have to create your welcome sequence, it could be anywhere from a simple one-email sequence or 3-5 emails.
02 | Send out live, consistent content
Live, consistent emails are the lifeblood of your email list. These are your regularly-sent emails — also known as broadcasts, newsletters, or campaigns.
These emails allow you to send relevant, timely content to your subscribers, such as new blog posts, podcast episodes, product launches and more! It’s one thing to rely on SEO for new traffic, but don’t snooze on sending out your new content to your list of already-interested subscribers. Traffic — whether from SEO or email — is still valuable traffic!
If you need help organizing what content to send to your email list, use my content calendar to make a simple (yet clear) game plan.
03 | Drive ongoing traffic through nurture sequences
Nurture sequences are a superpower in and of themselves.
These automated sequences send evergreen content* to your subscribers regardless of when they joined your email list.
You essentially get to make a roadmap for your new readers to experience what’s important for them to know about you, your site, your products, popular content, or more about topics they’re interested in.
A nurture sequence gives you the opportunity to really flesh out a more holistic experience for your readers beyond the welcome sequence. This is where they can dive deep into a topic or skill-appropriate content you have — all without having to search for it on your site themselves!
Essentially, a nurture sequence allows you to line up your content in a way that answers readers’ big questions — to get them from Point A to Point B — so they’ll experience the breadth of resources you have, be wow’d by how freaking helpful and inspirational you are, and be more likely to open your emails in the future!
*Evergreen content is anything valuable to your readers that is not seasonal (which means it won’t feel out of place to the reader any month of the year) or will become outdated as months and years go by. For instance, an email like a “2021 Year in Review” is best to send out through your newsletter and not include in your automated sequence.
Segmenting your email list boosts engagement
Segmenting your list by your readers’ interests or preferences allows you to personalize their email journey — which boosts engagement, reduces inbox fatigue and will keep them on your email list longer.
While segmentation may not make sense for every blog, at least not when you’re first getting started, it’s an opportunity to segment your subscribers based on interests, skill level or desired outcomes by simply asking what’s of most importance to them right now.
Segmenting your email list has two major benefits —
For your readers — they get to CHOOSE what they want to learn more about. It gives power to the reader to determine what content they’ll receive. Who doesn’t love having a little more control over what hits their inbox, right?
For you — Segmented email sequences often show far better rates of engagement than simply sending out general content to everyone.
How Pinch of Yum segments and emails their new subscribers
When I worked with Pinch of Yum on setting up their new email sequences, we segmented their list by the skill level of the reader in order to send them relevant-to-them content based on their personal kitchen experience. We asked new subscribers — which are you, a new home cook or someone who’s got some chops already?
For subscribers who are new to cooking, the nurture sequence they get shares some fool-proof recipes, tips for how to actually cut certain things (like garlic, onions, etc) and certain tools they’ll want to have in their kitchen.
For more seasoned home cooks, the nurture sequence sends them some top favorite recipes, an introduction to meal planning, and some more advanced tools for the kitchen.
As a result, Pinch of Yum’s beginner home cook sequence has an average open rate of over 60%, with an average clickthrough rate of nearly 20%! (For context, a clickthrough rate between 2-5% is considered “good”).
Pinch of Yum’s more advanced home cook sequence has brag-worthy engagement too with an average open rate over 40% and a clickthrough rate of 7%. It also helps to note that this sequence is where all subscribers go by default, if they don’t self-segment themselves in the welcome sequence, so it’s not a purely segmented sequence but you get the idea.
At the end of this article, I share the how-tos of actually segmenting your list — but first, we need to know what content you want to focus on sharing!
How to repurpose your existing content into an ongoing email nurture sequence
After you’ve welcomed your new subscriber, what will you share with them next?
This is where a lot of people get hung up — but if you have content to share that’s relevant to what your brand or blog represents, there’s an automated nurture sequence possibility for you!
Determine what content to share in your nurture sequence
Depending on how much content you have ready to share, or how long you’ve been blogging, you may need to explore different strategies to find out what would work best in an automated nurture sequence.
Here are some ideas to get you started!
01 | Think of some major themes on your website or throughout your content.
For a food blogger, this could look like:
- Recipes for healthy eating
- Recipes for the Instant Pot
- Recipes for the air fryer
- 30-minute meals
- Meal planning tips and tricks
- Favorite products you’d recommend
There are probably many, though you don’t need more than 1-2. In fact, my current nurture sequence (yes, singular) shares a mix of all of my content themes with new readers. If you’d prefer to have a general nurture sequence like that, I still encourage you to pull together what big topics you’d want to include.
If you have a product you’d like to promote, see what related content you could share through a nurture sequence while also pitching your product to new subscribers.
Bonus — according to Juniper Research, relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than one-time broadcast emails.
02 | Do a little digging — see where your readers and site visitors are hanging out most often:
- Review your previous emails — are there any email topics that get the most engagement from your list?
- Log into Google Analytics — what blog posts or site pages get the most traffic throughout the year?
- Ask your audience — send out a simple survey to your list to ask them what content they’ve most enjoyed or found helpful.
03 | What do YOU want every subscriber to receive when they join your digital ecosystem?
If someone is brand new to your site, what kind of content would benefit all of your readers and help introduce your content, mission or understanding of what you do (and why)?
Think creatively, as if you’re a brand new person who’s never met you before.
Consider things like:
- Are there a few core blog posts everyone should read (or even bookmark for later reference)?
- Would your YouTube channel be helpful to them?
- Share a story that’s pivotal to your brand — maybe it’s how you got started or why your blog topic is so important to you.
- Share a free resource, checklist or tutorial video (even if it’s one that’s already an opt-in on your site).
- Create and link to a short video welcome where you introduce yourself.
- Provide a link to your resource library or shop.
How often to send your nurture sequence emails
Once your subscribers click their preference and a tag gets added, that tag should indicate which nurture sequence(s) they go into once the Welcome Sequence ends.
Then think of how often you’d like to send out these nurture emails — will it be once a week on Saturdays? Or every day for a week?
If you’ve got content that can be slowly dripped out over time, I recommend a weekly cadence.
If you have time-sensitive content that people are knocking down your door to get answers sooner than later, then send them more often — perhaps a couple of emails per week.
In my case, since I have one big, ol’ general nurture sequence that’s not time-sensitive, everyone gets added to it once they’re done being properly welcomed onto my list. These subscribers get my nurture emails delivered to their inbox every Tuesday at 10am.
If you’re still not sure, I recommend you pick a different day of the week to send each of your nurture sequences — this will give you peace of mind when sending your weekly newsletter since you know there won’t be any inbox overlap from you that same day. Sweet relief, right?!
Add new content to your ongoing sequences to keep the traffic coming
As you send out your regular newsletters with new content, see if that same email would also fit within one of your themed nurture sequences (or in my case, they almost always go into my big nurture sequence) — if so, add it in! Add it to the top of that nurture sequence, so new subscribers get the most recent content first, or add it to the end so they get your older emails first.
Of course, don’t add anything to your nurture sequence that is time-based or seasonal, that way your readers can get it any time of year and not be confused. But if you can make a few tweaks to make it evergreen, totally add it in!
Steps to segment your email marketing list for better engagement and happy subscribers
In order to segment your list, consider themes that crop up over time or if you have follow-up content that you know would benefit certain readers, just like I outlined above.
To do this, you could segment your subscribers based on a variety of actions they take — maybe by which opt-ins they joined, what links they’ve clicked in emails, or any purchases they’ve made in your shop.
However, don’t track everything; that’ll only drive you batty when you can’t remember what certain tags are for down the road.
Segment through clicks in your Welcome Sequence
One way to segment your list is to ask your brand new email subscribers to “self-segment” themselves in one of your early emails. (Like what I shared above that I implemented with Pinch of Yum.)
For instance, if you have a variety of topics on your site, give readers options to click on, like this:
- I want to make meal planning easier
- Teach me how to use my air fryer
- Help me saving money on groceries
- Show me baking basics
Really, you can ask them anything! Once they click, they get a tag for a certain topic.
For my own email list, I’m gathering tags for subscribers out of curiosity of who’s signing up for my list. Here’s my self-segmentation email, for example:
I don’t have a separate sequence set up for each type of industry that I have listed (at least not yet), but I could create one or two in the future. In the meantime, the data from these clicks will help me know which segment to focus on writing for first.
How will you make the most of your blog content through email marketing automations?
Email marketing helps you get the most of your valuable blog content. It allows your new blog content to land in the inboxes of your biggest fans (aka, your existing email subscribers) and provides a way to repurpose your older content and drives new subscribers back to your website — a win-win for everyone!
So what do you think? What topics, resources or products do you think your audience would benefit from learning about when they first join your email list?