- Editorial and educational content is one of the most powerful ways to convert email subscribers into paying customers.
- Focus on sharing knowledge with your readers rather than offering a discount or asking for a sale.
- Use series emails to multiply the effectiveness of your educational campaigns.
Last week, in part one, we discussed how you can use dedicated landing pages to increase your email subscriber conversions.
With the tips in that post you already have the tools to put together at least one dedicated landing page to collect email subscribers and to ensure it converts.
This post will teach you how you can use editorial content that is focused on sharing to convert your new email subscribers, no matter what the source, into paying customers.
Here are three different email marketing tactics you can put into practice to show your subscribers value and earn their trust.
1. An educational email marketing campaign
In part one we spoke briefly about an series of emails known as an ‘educational email course’.
This works particularly well for B2B service or software businesses as it gives you a chance to ensure your customers truly appreciate the value your business provides.
You’ve probably seen us share the following example from WPEngine before – it is a crystal clear example of what an educational email series is all about: sign up on a landing page, subsribe to a free course on your businesses knowledge area (in the case of WPEngine, this is WordPress hosting), educate leads and then convert them into customers with a call to action to take the next step.
There are lots of great examples out there in the wild.
This example from Unbounce is another example of the educational email series in action. The following screenshot is from one of their emails:
Your educational email course should consist of around 5-8 emails over 30 days. The whole point of your course is to move customers along the buyers’ journey:
Potential customers will be at different points in their journey to purchase: some will know why they need your businesses services, others won’t. Some will have considered your competitors and others will already have begun to interact with your business.
You can use the content in your course, combined with your landing pages, to segment users and provide free informaiton that helps move each potential customers toward the next step in their journey to the top right of the buyers’ journey.
This can work for SaaS businesses, online service companies and many other businesses. Take this example from Chris Lema who uses his blog to drive subscribers and an educational email campaign to convert them into customers for his WordPress consulting company:
Another example from a great SaaS company, is this email copy from PopSurvey (SaaS software for conducting surveys):
Finally, constant experimentalists KISSmetrics are of-course employing this tactic with their three-part SaaS bundle:
Three emails with ‘goodies’ and a bit of a twist on the standard drip campaigns above give this email marketing tactic a lot of power.
What to do: Start by drafting 3-5 separate topics you can cover in your educational emails. Focus on what you can share with your customers that will help them better understand the pain they face in their busienss and, ultimately, how you can help them solve this pain.
Earn their trust and you’ll increase your conversions.
2. A great newsletter schedule
Alongside, or instead of, an educational email course you should definitely be sending newsletters with a focus on editorial content.
Newsletters can drive conversions in any industry and mixing editorial content in with your standard offer newsletters or special announcements can go a long way. A top-tier example is this newsletter from Net-a-Porter:
Rather than focusing on offers (which 90% of B2C eCommerce stores do in their newsletters), Net-a-Porter focus on editorial content: they teach their female readers how to dress better, rather than tell them what they can buy and how much they can buy it for.
Interestingly, a lot of the great examples we see out there come from smaller businesses nailing the editorial approach.
Take Sydney-based tailor P. Johnson. Their mission is to bring better suiting to Australian men. This recent email launching their new loafers is 90% education and 10% subtle call to action:
Another out-of-the-box example comes from Sunday Best, a UK-based retailer. Their emails are always educational. In this example they even include a recipe!
A different tactic to your average retailer both of these companies are another great examples of the power of consistent emails that deliver value to the reader. Both do have calls to action but they’re much more subtle.
Try this with your newsletters some time: focus on educating the customer about the product on hand and then make an offering.
3. Targeted information sharing
The final category of editorial email campaigns you can put into practice are what might be termed data-driven campaigns.
These campaigns are extremely targeted and teach the customer some practical knowledge or tools before getting to the call to action or offer.
Here’s an example from EasyJet to convey exactly what this sort of campaign is all about:
Although this example has a very direct call to action, the nature of the email is such that it also acts as a guide on where to stay in Berlin. For the disorganised or time-poor traveller this is an extremely educational email.
This is really effective and doubley so because EasyJet ensure this campaign is super-targeted and is only sent to customers heading to Berlin next week.
Combining user-triggered actions with educational information related to those actions is a powerful combination and one that can be applied many times in most businesses.
Another recent example, with a different angle, is this email from JetBlue in the US:
This campaign was truly personalised using information based on each travellers’ last trip. Although not deep, the email used a series of statistics as the primary content.
It also finished up by asking customers to review and (hopefully) redeem their points. It’s a really novel email.
The trick with this strategy is:
- Identify points of interest: things your customers have done or have not done. Use these behaviors to trigger a contextual email.
- Include information about the customer: where are they going? What haven’t they done on your site? What have they done on your site? Take this information and share something about the topic area with the customer: educate them.
- Include a call to action to actually make some sales.
Putting it into practice
All three of these strategies overlap and all three can be equally effective.
The secret behind all of them is sharing your knowledge with your audience, for free. It might be in long-copy form, it might be via statistics, it might be via recommendations: if you can share with your customers this builds trust and building trust leads to sales as your business earns respect in your readers’ minds.
What campaigns have you seen out there that take editorial and educational content to the next level? How are you pushing the boundaries with this approach like P. Johnson, Sunday Best or JetBlue?
Share in the comments!
PS – If you missed part one on using landing pages to collect email subscribers, definitely check it out.