It’s Time To Spice Up Your Email Content

Columnist Andrew King discusses the benefits of value-added emails for combatting your subscribers' post-holiday email fatigue.

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Spices Ss 1920 CropI don’t know about you, but I’ve become pretty desensitized to promotional emails after the recent holiday break. In fact, you could probably slap me over the head with a 99 percent discount, and I’d still ignore you. I’m just not in the mood for more shopping, no matter how good your sale might be!

I’m sure some of your subscribers feel the same. This is why I want to talk about value added email content — an extremely important, yet hugely overlooked segment of email marketing.

Benefits Of Value Added Content

  • Gives your subscribers another reason to open and read your emails
  • Keeps your subscribers loyal to your brand
  • Gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert
  • Product recommendations can be intertwined with your content

I’m not saying that you should abandon your beloved sales emails; they are probably still making you a lot of money! However, I do strongly believe that you need to include value added content in your emails to foster long-lasting, and ultimately more profitable, relationships with your subscribers.

When you only send sales emails, it tells me that you don’t really care about providing any value to your subscribers. You just want our $$$. So let’s take a look at a few great examples of emails that have really engaged me and provided some value.

Provide Useful Information Related To Your Product/Service

Why not try providing some interesting / useful content related to your products, services or brand? Whole Foods is a company who has mastered the art of mixing promotional content with genuinely useful and interesting content such as recipes, healthy eating tips, and even food tourism advice, among other things.

These emails obviously also contain promotional messages about gift cards and items on sale; however, it’s the value added that keeps you coming back for more. Wholefoods

Go Behind The Scenes

Your subscribers may have signed up for your emails because you enticed them with a discount, but they are probably also interested in your brand and company as a whole. So, why not create a behind-the-scenes blog post and email about your latest photo shoot, video, or product launch? This kind of content may seem boring to you because it’s your job, but it can actually be super interesting and relevant to your subscribers.

Everlane is a San Francisco-based clothing company whose mantra is “Radical Transparency,” so they often send me behind-the-scenes emails explaining how their products are manufactured. I particularly like the below email, where they invited their favorite instagrammers to take photos of their LA factory. This seems like a genius way to get some great photos and create some interesting content to me! Everlane

A Little Humor Never Hurt Anyone

Humor is actually a great way to engage and interact with your audience. There are a few newsletters I subscribe to that often include jokes or funny anecdotes within them, and to be honest, I probably wouldn’t read them very often if it weren’t for that.

This email from Lyft combines a useful ride sharing etiquette tip with humor: “Front or back seat is okay, Ghost Riding is not.” Lyft promotional email

Share Some History

Has your company been around for a while? Why not develop some content around the heritage of your company and its products/services? This may take a bit of research and be a bit longer to create than other pieces of content, but you might be surprised how interesting and relevant it can be.

Levi’s has a long and interesting history, so it’s great to see them actually creating content around it. The email below looks almost like an infographic and shares some fascinating tidbits on how they invented women’s jeans. levis

End Of Week/Month/Year Summary

You know how you have all of that Big Data — well, here’s your chance to put it to good use! I love summary emails, especially when they are personalized and based solely on my data. You’ll often see these types of emails coming from wearable tech companies like Jawbone and Fitbit or social media companies like Twitter and Linkedin.

Blue Apron is a food delivery service that provides you with all of the ingredients you need to make a delicious dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to receive this summary email from them, reminding me of the first meals I made with them and outlining some interesting stats, based on the ingredients I used. Apparently I zested 13 lemons and minced 59 garlic cloves! BlueApron1 BlueApron2 Now I know what you’re thinking: This is all great content, but I don’t have time to produce anything like this right now. That’s okay! You probably already have a lot of great content which could be reused within your current email program. I suggest you start small by simply adding recycled content into your sales emails.

Recycled Content Sources

  • Blog posts
  • FAQs
  • Company history
  • About pages
  • Datasheets
  • Analysis
  • Videos
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Social media interactions

Ideally, you should try to build up a library of content that can easily be pulled into any email. This will at least give your subscribers who aren’t looking to buy right now another reason to open and engage with you. Have you seen the benefits of including value added content within your emails? Please feel free to share any success stories below.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Andrew King
Andrew is an email marketer and Solutions Engineer at Campaign Monitor. He has designed, coded and deployed hundreds of emails (to millions of people) and most recently consulted on email strategy for some of the world's largest retailers, non-profits, financial institutions and publishers. He regularly speaks at industry events and can often be found pondering the future of email.

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