Third step of email: Sync

As you’ve done researching your idealized personas and mapping our their ideal user journeys, you’ve probably gotten a pretty good picture of the kinds of message you can send to them. You’ve told their stories and know what they need to believe and agree to in advance in order to move through your funnel.

Now it’s time to create a comprehensive Email Strategy, a 3D model of User journeys, Content and Email Types while having in mind the Goals and Value propositions of the company.

Your email strategy should lean heavily on your general Content Strategy. In case you don’t have it, go make it first. The link above takes you to Moz, one of the leading authorities in the field.

In case you want a TLDR version, here it is:

  • define user personas, i.e. idealized profiles of people you’ll be talking or selling to
  • define what kinds of content you’d like to create. For example:
    • product-oriented content ==> clear facts and technical information
    • cornerstone content ==> something like an Ultimate Guide to SEO where you’ll touch on a lot of different aspects of your product’s “hyperspace”
    • persona-oriented, problem-solution, benefit-driven content ==> based on who you think your pocket of people is, you can write stuff about their particular needs and how they can solve them using your product/service
  • Create an editorial calendar ==> when is the stuff being produced, when is it published, in which format and by whom.

So say you have your content strategy, and you’ve started producing all that sweet stuff. Now, it’s time to choose what gets delivered through email.

Very important note: avoid flooding different channels with the same stuff. Your email channel needs to have a unique value proposition and benefit to the reader. Communicating through different digital channels isn’t there so that they could choose where they’d like to read it because the user usually disregards all other channels he doesn’t prefer. So your work is worth much less. However, if you build content for channels specifically, then your users will follow you across multiple channels just to get all the benefits from them. This is particularly important for email.

If we go a few lessons back and remember that your users have invested their email address into your stuff, better not disappoint them, email space is very precious because it’s private.

You should create exclusive content for your email channel as much as you can because that will be one of your value proposition for the email channel. You want them to keep looking forward to your emails and opening them. This way of thinking is very important for your inbox placement rate and the overall success of your email channel.

One more thing that I wanted to mention is:

Replying to emails

You want them to hit that Reply button and send you something. Sure, it’s complicated to have to receive, read and answer those emails, but it’s essential. Once you send out an email and get some actual replies, every single mailbox is going to prioritize your emails from that moment on. This is a very neat trick and for every mailbox provider other than Gmail, you can have only a small percent of all openers actually reply to you in order to reap immediate benefits. Gmail is a little different, we’ll talk about that a bit later.