The Power of Content in Email

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The Power of Content in Email


“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.“

– Andrew Davis


I’m not shy about my faith in email marketing. It’s your highest converting, most cost effective, most flexible marketing tool by far. And it’s not going anywhere.

73% of Millennials still want to hear from businesses via emails. While they’re surfing social media for cat videos and to connect with friends, their email is where they’ve given us permission to talk to them and where they’ll be most receptive.

Change the Conversation:

According to Mailchimp, the largest email marketing platform in the world, retail based emails average an 18% Open Rate. Hobby based emails, which are content driven, clock in at 28%. You add 10% to your viewing audience just by changing the conversation from price to interest.

A note on Open Rates. I’ve never seen a healthy, reputable company have below a 15-18% OR. That seems like the minimum, including your die hard fans and people who open every email just because. If you’re not achieving this, do some investigating because there’s something amiss.

What is your Open Rate? If you don’t know it, learn it. Memorize and dwell on it. If it’s less than 25%, you need to get it higher. Add content. Answer questions. Change the topic from barking prices at people to engaging them with the information they’ll passionate about.

Our customers are not coming to us for our prices, and yet we start every conversation that way. Our customers come because they care about growing plants and want to do better at it. Let’s start talking their language.





The Power of a Subject Line:

Let’s compare 2 subject lines.

  • “25% Off Hostas this Weekend”. That tells me exactly what’s happening and asks me the question: do you want hostas specifically? If I do, I’m gonna click in. If I don’t, off I go.
  • “5 Best Solutions for those Tricky Shady Spots.” This is talking to everyone with a shady spot in their yard that’s giving them grief. It offers solutions to a problem. While it doesn’t mention hostas, when I open the email I’ll see the sale right away. And now that you’ve got me thinking about my shade garden, some fresh hostas sounds like a great idea.

The first subject line is easy. It derives from consternation at the Tuesday meeting about perennial sales, and the need to drive more sales. “Well then let’s put them on sale!” “Okay, what are we long on?” “Hostas!”

Subject line #2 is harder, takes longer, and most Garden Center’s don’t bother. You need strategy, personas, and someone who can write. But then again… the fact that the others aren’t doing it is your opportunity to differentiate.


How Blogging Works Harder:

The days of blogs being static website-stuffers are over. They’re the keystone for audience building, e-commerce marketing, and SEO. And that all starts with the email.

Make sure your email audience sees the blog first; signing up should give them exclusivity over the social crowd.

Don’t put the whole blog in your email. Avoid death-by-scrolling by putting a teaser in and directing them back to your site (where they can read related blogs, browse e-commerce, etc). Once they’ve clicked through, you can collect their digital fingerprint and “remarket” back to them when sales for related products come around (more on that magic in another post).

Trojan Horse:

I saved the best for last. The content gets them to open the email, but put the blog post second to your in-store promotions.

Your “Shady-Solutions” appeals to those interested in shade plants. Your sale product (Hostas) is related to the blog, although the blog topic will pull people in who wouldn’t necessarily bite on the Hosta bait (ie. shade gardening encompasses Hostas, but Hostas don’t encompass all of shade gardening).

Broaden the appeal. Increase your open rate. Drive the sales.