Email is a medium, a tool, a place to tell a story — not a purchase or a conversion (not yet, anyway). It’s a tool for communication. One that we only want people to spend as much time reading as they do converting based on your favorite key performance indicators (KPI).

What does that mean? It means send amazing email, but with the right goal in mind. Goals change from marketing team to marketing team, but for the sake of this guide, lets say our measurement of success is getting that click through to the website. This is seen as a form of engagement and we’ll track pageviews, bounce rates, and exits as our metrics using Google Analytics.

Choosing Your Content

What’s your brand’s industry? What do your subscribers want to read? What type of email are you starting? If you’re like us, you can get some good analytics around what content works and what doesn’t. Here’s what a narrowed search of our most popular blogs shows…

How to choose content for your email marketing

(Report: Filtered by Pageviews > 20, Bounce Rate > 0%, All 2015 Posts – Sorted by Bounce rate)

Looks like we have a lot of great retail marketing titles up on this list. This is a good indication of what kind of content we can reproduce to attract more interested readers. Here is what our top pageviews look like from Social networks

what email marketing content works on social channels

(Report: Sorted by Pageviews)

Here you can see which channels do better and what you could use to grab your email subscribers attention. Some topics do better on certain social networks too, which is interesting. There are a ton of ways to choose your content, looking at analytics is definitely a big part of that. If you need help, we’re happy to lend a hand.

Design and Content

What’s the difference? The difference in how you present your content depends on a few items:

  • Your brand
  • The message
  • Email type

Branding: You want your brand to be clear. What do you offer that your subscriber wants to receive? Do they want to see recommendations of other items they can purchase at your store? Think Amazon. Maybe you’re a financial institution who uses a newsletter to reach the community of subscribers that reads your blog content, how do you tailor your design around that?

Message: Messaging is crucial, because remember, email is the metaphorical window they peer into before coming into the store. So what you choose to say should be relevant and on topic. Choose copy, colors, images, and present a clear reason for the email with a goal for the user to achieve.

Type: Email type is the frame in which you place your messaging. You can have different email types within the same marketing strategies. In other words, each type has a general purpose which inherently comes across. A company like Acorn sends you a confirmation email as soon as you start the application process with them. Then a couple weeks later you’ll find that you are also getting their newsletter.

example of voice messaging type in email marketing content

Acorn’s example of how they use voice, messaging and type to display their content.

Content Voice

Of course, there’s no better example of good emailsmanship than our very own marketing department. We have thought long and hard about the voice of our emails, and we’ve found that a fine mixture of intrigue, suspense, and exposition makes the perfect messa- … only kidding. There’s no perfect message. However, the voice you use will develop over time and be influenced by things like the writer, presentation, vernacular, what’s presented, and how well it’s received.

But there is one thing you want to maintain throughout the process: consistency. Consistent content voice is why subscribers open your email instead of others, it’s why they don’t unsubscribe, and it’s how you keep them around.

There’s another way to look at what voice does: It adds value and character to your emails. It separates you from the crowd and makes you stand out.

Need some inspiration to start?

There are some good resources below, but first ask yourself:

  • Is your brand fun, relaxed, reflective, cynical, dry, or technical?
  • Is your message an announcement, a welcome message, a purchase suggestion, a “sorry we missed you” message, or something else?

Sources of Good Email Content

Here is a list of awesomely automated content curation sites courtesy of Buffer.

  • Content Gems
  • Linkedin Pulse
  • Medium
  • News.me
  • Nuzzel
  • Panda
  • Prismatic
  • SmartBrief
  • Swayy