Sending emails your customers want to receive is the difference between increased email conversions and ending up in the trash.
Data gives you the power to make informed decisions. Data is what makes online marketing so powerful.
Here are five data-driven ways to determine what content to email your audience next.
1. Ask the right questions
It seems so obvious: ask your customers what they want.
Qualaroo, Google Forms and Wufoo all make it easy to get feedback from customers, virtually for free.
Qualaroo in particular makes it easy to leverage your website visitors – even those that aren’t subscribed or signed up – in order to get ideas that will convert in your email and content campaigns.
A/B testing different questions will allow you to see what questions provide answers you can use.
On top of the ideas in the screenshots above, you should consider asking your readers things such as:
- How often they read your emails and content,
- What post-styles and lengths they appreciate,
- What suggestions for subject matter they have,
- What you could do to increase engagement in terms of sharing and commenting.
Ask a good mixture of open and closed questions. Leaving room for customers to provide inspiration gives great answers with previously unknown insight but can reduce response rates as they force customers to think more.
One trick is to use open-ended, free-form responses to guide future closed questions, allowing you to move from broad, novel responses from a single customer:
…to statistically meaningful results:
We used this exact methodology to determine that customers wanted how-to guides and case studies, both of which have already proved powerful!
2. Review your support queries
Your help desk is a goldmine for topics customers care about.
Simply reviewing a portion of your support queries in a tool like Help Scout or Zendesk can lead to insights into what you customers are asking for help with and looking for information on.
Similarly, if you use an intelligent Knowledge Base like Helpjuice you can use analytics to see popular and common topics your customers are clearly interested in.
If you’re a B2B business this can be powerful as it will help you learn what aspects of your product(s) your customers need to understand better.
This is usually the perfect content to use in an effective email marketing campaign or blog post.
If you’re building an [educational email marketing series] then your most common customer questions are the exact things you should deal with to increase your email conversions.
3. Leverage other channels
StyleRocks is a custom jewellery store that allows customers to style their own jewellery. Given the choice of styles available, determining which combinations and pieces to promote can be a challenge. What pieces will customers react to in aggregate?
Using their solid Facebook presence, StyleRocks use regular to determine styles that will result in an immediate uplift in customer attention:
By acknowledging what styles work on Facebook, StyleRocks can come up with offers and promotions that are influenced by content they already know will work.
[Andrew Chen] and the guys at Buffer have both documented their success with a similar methodology on Twitter.
By testing subject lines first they have been able to determine what customers actually want to hear about.
Getting a large response or a high number of retweets is an irrefutable sign that their content is resonating with their audience.
In this particular example, Andrew pre-vetted the concept behind a post that Andrew acknowledges as one of his most successful ever.
This strategy can be applied across any other channel: Google+, LinkedIn, wherever your presence is strongest is a good place to look for validation of your email marketing content ideas.
4. Use the world’s index
Google’s Keyword Tool (now known as Keyword Planner) allows you to see how popular various search terms are.
With a simple search you can find two things:
- Topics related to your initial idea.
- How popular these topics are.
Obviously keyword searches are gospel when it comes to SEO and writing for your blog but they can also be useful for determining what content you should write about and share via email at a macro level.
Answering questions such as people care about ‘how to get customers’ at all? Do they care more than hearing about ‘how to retain customers’?
The keyword planner can help you flesh out a series of topics you can use to test the waters with your audience.
Use this method to feed those above and you will get truly targeted results.
5. Draw inspiration from the best
If you’re looking for inspiration then reviewing the work of luminaries in your market is a sure-fire way to see what works.
If you are putting together an email series, a blog post, eBooks or other content then looking at a number of examples from the leading companies in your industry can help you determine what has already worked.
Don’t copy. That’s not the point at all.
Do borrow concepts and ideas for subject areas that you can see are effective. One way to do this is to review the number of shares:
Ask yourself why a particular piece of content is garnering more attention. Can you leverage the same topic in your own way? Will your audience respond in a similar manner?
These are a few ideas you can use to generate content for your email marketing campaigns and other content marketing that you already know will get a response: as you’ve validated it early!
What other ideas and methods do you have for getting customer feedback on your email marketing ideas early?
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