Why EDMs are the Cornerstone of Content Marketing
Google the term ‘EDM’ and there’s a good chance you’ll be faced with a plethora of electronic dance music. However, fear not: your marketing advisors aren’t including regular raving into your strategy.
Email direct marketing (or ‘EDM’, as it is lovingly referred to in the digital world of acronyms), is a communication channel used to deliver relevant and customised content to targeted audiences. In other words, this content marketing strategy is like your highway to results.
You don’t need us to explain the importance of content marketing (and if you do, you’re forgiven – just read this), but there are several elements that render EDMs the cornerstone of any great content strategy. Let’s dive in.
What does this mean? Your target audience has already opted in to receive correspondence. They’ve already been directed to your site (thanks to an excellent SEO campaign, right?!), they’ve been faced with a clear call-to-action and have decided your value proposition is appealing enough to sign up to your database. With an already-engaged audience, EDMs are the equivalent of a content autobahn: they get the right messages to the right people, with a plethora of metrics to signpost the way to campaign success.
Metrics and campaign measurement
If you get a little hot under the collar at the thought of some juicy analytics, prepare yourself: EDMs are the holy grail of campaign metrics. We could go on for days about the endless variations of metrics and analysis strategies, but before you jump in the deep end measuring irrelevant results, have a solid think about the end goal. Are you trying to get blog subscribers? Generate leads? Grow sales? Thinking about your campaign destination is a great place to start when building your measurement frameworks. That said, here are some key results to pay attention to when gauging the success of your campaign:
- Click-through rates: This one should go without saying. The goal of most EDMs is to direct your audience elsewhere, so measuring how many people follow a call-to-action and click through to your target is your first waymark of campaign success. Many people will argue that open rates are a vital metric, however it’s important to keep in mind that there are number of variables that render open rates misleading (i.e. an EDM is only considered ‘opened’ if its embedded images are received, of which many are not due to image-blocking being enabled). Hence, your click-through rate is a good metrics starting block.
- ROI: It’s the golden phrase that can make a marketer sing from the hills or attempt a Shawshank Redemption-style exit under their desk: ‘return on investment’. The revenue garnered from a campaign is, after all, the ultimate indication of a campaign’s success and an excellent way to deliver tangible results for your boss, board or business.
- Bounce rates: Of the emails sent, how many bounced? ‘Soft bounces’ can be the result of a valid email address suffering a full inbox or server issues. ‘Hard bounces’ are the result of invalid, closed or cancelled addresses, and are a good signal that you need to go back to the drawing board and recalibrate your campaign.
- Subscriber growth: Do you have a blog in desperate need of some subscribers? An event that needs filling? An eBook that needs downloading? While subscriber growth may not be your ultimate campaign goal, it is an important metric to consider. Measuring new subscribers/unsubscribes can give you an indication of the quality and value of your content.
- Sharing rate: While going viral on social channels may not be a goal of yours, measuring the sharing and forwarding rates of your social content is important. Not only does this indicate the quality of your content and whether people are engaging with it, but it also creates NEW LEADS. Despite the digital revolution, ‘word of mouth’ is still an excellent way to gain consumers.
If you haven’t heard of segmentation, get excited! It’s the ace up an EDM’s sleeve, working to help you deliver the most relevant information and content to your customers. Segmenting your email lists enables customised messages to reach targeted groups, and is an excellent way to support your marketing and CRM strategies. According to a study by global marketing automation platform MailChimp, segmented campaigns received 100.95% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. Whether you’re launching a location-specific offer, a new product or rewarding customer milestones, effective segmentation will give your click-through and open rates a welcome boost.
Perfectionists, rejoice! EDM split testing helps you hone your tone, design and strategy to brand perfection. Split testing enables you to send multiple versions of the same offer to different target groups. What does this mean? From the very get go you can test what subject lines and copy style get you the highest open rate. Whether it’s a hard sell, invitation or shameless click bait, the fun starts here. After that the variations of testing are up to you. Try out different call-to-actions, design properties, imagery, content length, voice – you name it, you test it.
Don’t forget the value
When all is said and done, EDMs are arguably a super valuable content marketing tool because you have the ability to nurture an ongoing relationship with your consumers. There are many schools of thought on effective frequency, timing and content guidelines. Ultimately you get to decide how often you contact your audience, and what you deem worthy of delivering them.
According to the Spam Act “every commercial electronic message must contain a functional and legitimate ‘unsubscribe facility’”.
So, put in the time and effort to listen to your audience, play with your metrics, and integrate a well thought-out EDM strategy into your content marketing, and get ready to see the results roll in.