A Guide on Email Content: Types of Email Content and Ways to Improve It

Written By Gracija Atanasovska

Did you know that in 2019, there were 3.9 billion email users? That’s right, nearly 4 billion people used email in the past two years, which is actually almost half of the world population! And this is expected to grow into 4.3 billion users by the time we reach 2023.

Why am I bombarding you with statistics from the get-go? Because I can’t stress enough how many opportunities there are in email marketing.

Email marketing represents a powerful channel through which you can successfully and effectively engage with your clients and bring your business closer to their homes and workplace. It’s a way of reaching your customers 24/7, every day of the year.

Come up with the right strategy, along with the right email content, and you have a winner. Your emails will flood the lists of customers worldwide - and the most important thing - they’ll be read, as well.

Why Is Email Content Important?

Did you know that up to “81% of marketing leaders put content at the core of email marketing?”

What this means is that marketers put a top priority on the email content they deliver. And when you look at statistics that say how you can expect an average return of $42 from every dollar spent on email marketing, things get much clearer.

What Does a Good Email Content Look Like?

First and foremost, email content should resonate with one’s audience. It should be relevant, clear, and should keep readers interested by providing them with valuable information.

After all, there are countless businesses out there and they’re all competing for the attention of their target audience. So, it’s only natural that people will engage with the type of content which is on-point and suited to their needs, demands, and expectations.

To sum up - know your audience, come up with a solid email marketing strategy, and create interesting, relevant, and valuable content.

How to Send Content That’s Relevant?

One of the biggest questions about email content is how to make it always relevant for your users.

Let’s go over some of the strategies you can use to make your email messages always pertinent to the events of today.

Send Emails at the Right Time

Send your subscribers and clients emails when it’s most appropriate regarding their expectations and the content of your message.

For example, it doesn’t make much sense to send an Easter celebrations email during Christmas time, and vice versa. Or, it doesn’t make sense to celebrate your customers’ birthday any other day in the year when it’s actually not their birthday. You understand what I mean.

Timely messages manage to precisely hit the context of the message with what’s currently going on both in the life of the customer and in the world. These are the ones that have the biggest impact.

Also, when it comes to sending emails at the right day and time, not all days are created equal. According to statistics, at least. As it turns out, Tuesday is the best day to send emails, after which come Thursday and Wednesday.

And what about the best time? Well, according to another bunch of statistics, 10 am and 11 am got first place in best email sending times.

Of course, this will also depend on the nature of your business. So you’ll have to do a bit of experimentation to nail the right day and time when the click through rate of your emails will be the highest.

Set Up Trigger Emails

These are types of messages which are automatically sent when a customer performs a certain action (browses, buys, returns, etc.), when they hit a particular date, or during some special occasion.

Consider your customer’s engagement with your business as a journey. Now, every journey has some high points, and this is precisely when you want to send these triggered emails.

For example, this can be as simple as sending welcome emails, or abandoned cart emails. It can also mean sending replenishment emails, where you remind customers to buy something again before it runs out, or transactional emails where you inform them of the details of a purchase they’ve made, or simply thank them for the purchase.

Of course, the primary goal of trigger emails is to boost sales and convert leads into paying customers. But there’s another thing they’re supposed to do as well - build trust with your audience.

One way to do this is by sending a welcome message that’s really warm and friendly, where you can briefly mention the purpose of your business and the values you hold dear. You might also want to explain how purchases and transactions work, and the role of the customer in all that. If you can, offer them the option to answer you directly, and refrain from using the “no-reply” feature.

Schedule Emails for Events That Are Important to Your Customers

Find out your customers and subscribers’ favorite time of the year - their favorite holidays and events, and schedule emails for those specific dates.

By doing this, you’re showing your users how involved you are with the things that matter to them and also with the outside world, in general.

For example, if you have a clothing brand and you want to advertise it to your US audience, why not come up with a special 4th of July line and advertise it just around that time? Summer shirts, bright colors, this can all be a part of the package to celebrate this important holiday with new outfits that’ll last throughout the whole summer season.

And this is not only applicable to business and B2C (business to consumer) brands. It can also be relevant for non-profit organisations, which can also use current events and holidays to draw attention to their cause and ask for funding.

Let’s say you’re an anti-discrimination non-profit agency which deals with minority rights of different kinds. And say it’s summer and it’s pride month (which is usually in June). Why not send your donors and activists an email to remind them it’s pride month? Tell them how important it is that we celebrate this month, as well as any potential events your own organisation might be hosting. Tell them of the great work you do and how you always appreciate support of any kind, including financial support. And here is where you can ask them to chip in if they can, and provide them with the link where they can donate funds.

Localize Your Emails

Here’s a statistic done by the prestigious Nieman Journalism Lab: posts that have been geo-targeted, aka that are posted to audiences in a specific location, were reported to have 6 times more success than posts who were published globally.

What this means is that you should aim to send your users relevant content related to their own local communities and interests. You can do this by gathering information on where they live, and targeting local events and content that will be useful for them. What’s more, you can also translate your emails into the native language of your customers.

Send Valuable Content

It’s all fine and well to send content about promotions and sales, but that shouldn’t be the only type of content you send your subscribers. If they think they’re only seen as revenue numbers in your eyes, then you might lose them.

Instead, take the time to also find out how you can benefit your users and customers, and make sure they’re being validated and heard.

Send Quality, Curated Content

If you want your customers/clients to open your emails, then give them a reason to do so. There are plenty of different ways you can promote a product or your business organically. You can:

Also, frequent doesn’t equal better. A TechnologyAdvice Research survey shows that 43% of subscribers would actually prefer to receive emails from businesses less often. Another statistic from the same research says that 48% of them would like the content to be more informative.

What this means is that people greatly appreciate quality, rather than quantity when it comes to email content.

And if you’re short on content, you can always incorporate guest posts, or hire content writers and professional copywriters, and there’s also the option to gather news from your branch and industry (from other sources) and send them to your customers.

Track Which Types of Emails Work Better Than Others

You learn as you grow and as you develop your email marketing strategy. And along the way, it’s normal that some things will work more and some less.

Now, the important thing is to keep track of what works and which types of emails your users open, as well as when they get opened and which of your links are clicked most often. Of course, a different industry will have its own standards as to what’s important, there isn’t only one set of rules, and you will see what works for your business.

When you take notice of the emails which are successful with your subscribers, make sure to appropriate that type or structure when you start working on new campaigns.

And vice-versa: if you notice that certain emails just don’t do well with customers, and you’re not receiving the desired response, ditch them or try to improve them into a version that’ll actually work.

Divide Your Emails Into Smaller Segments

Also called segmentation, this is a strategy in which you divide emails in different, smaller segments which are based on certain criteria.

This is a personalization strategy that will make sure you’re always giving your users relevant and topical content, based on geographic location, their consumer history, their interests, their culture, the holidays they celebrate, whether they’re new customers or old ones whose loyalty you must keep, etc.

You can be as specific as you like - in fact, it’s encouraged. When you nail all (or most of) your customers’ preferences, you’ll have a super relevant and informative content which your readers are bound to open.

Examples of Email Content You Can Send to Your Subscribers

Now, let’s see some examples of possible email content messages you can send to your subscribers and add something new to your email strategy.

You can use these anytime you want. Of course, this list isn’t fully comprehensive, but it does cover a wide area of businesses and strategies. Also, you might’ve already covered most of these types in your own strategy, but still, I’m sure there’ll be a bunch of good ideas you can find in there and use for your own benefit to build up on what you already have.

The Welcome Email

This is one of the most common and widely used types of email content by businesses and organizations. And, no wonder!

Welcome emails are equal to making a first impression to somebody who matters. It opens up a space in which customers and brands/businesses can communicate and engage with one another. And, it also sort of sets the tone for what your customers can expect from you and the work you do as a company, as well as the content they’ll receive.

According to research done by Experian, a firm that offers consultancy in marketing and brand development, “[w]elcome emails also garner 86 percent higher open rates than regular promotional mailings”, which is a pretty good percentage, no doubt.

And it’s become so well known, that people nowadays expect it to appear in their inboxes, especially if they’ve made a purchase, or the first time they’ve subscribed. In fact, it would often look unprofessional if it didn’t.

So, if you want to impress your users from the first meeting, then, by all means, work hard on your welcome email and create ones that’ll truly work.

Take a look at some of these questions about welcome emails:

The Promotional Email

Promotional emails are emails whose main goal is to convert leads into customers.

These kinds of emails are sent with the intention of informing your customers and subscribers of any new or already existing deals, products, services, and the like. Their purpose is to spread the word about any sales, special offers, discounts, promotional or exclusive deals, limited-time or not, that you’re currently offering. It can also be promotional content related to event registration, webinars, call schedules, updates and downloads, etc.

Now, what you have to remember about promotional emails is that you shouldn’t be “overly promotional” when you send them. This is because, with time, users have grown accustomed to these kinds of emails and they will know if you’re being too insistent on selling them something.

So, what can you do instead?

It’s quite simple, really: just try to mix it up. Of course, you should focus on conversion and the thing you’re trying to promote, by using some call to action phrases. But you can also complement that with free content (like informational stuff, how-to content) that will somehow be connected to the offer you’re making, and it’s going to be a subtler type of call to action.

Blogs, Guides, and Other Type of Content Marketing

This is when you promote individual blog posts and other types of content on your website through your email messages.

If you have an already established business, chances are you’ve already amassed a fine amount of blog posts. That means that your customers and subscribers often won’t have the time to go through all of them.

So, the only thing you can do is bring the content to them. Gather data on your customers’ interests and past purchases and send them relevant and curated content that they’ll find useful. One way you can truly make this work is to send them the link to a blog post with a brief overview in the email. Couple that with a nice CTA (call to action) and you’ll have a guaranteed reader!

Other ways you can do this is to send newsletters as well as highlighted content on a weekly basis, or monthly basis, or whenever you prefer. Highlighted content will give your users overview of the best new stuff they can find on your blog, and it’s always a good idea to keep reminding your customers and subscribers that you’re always up to date on the newest trends and technologies.

Rewards and Loyalty Emails

Rewards and loyalty emails are a great way to make your customers feel appreciated, which you can send after different purchases. You can even automate them, come up with a tier in which a certain amount of money they’ve spent on a product will get them an X percentage discount or free shipping, etc.

For example, if you’re in the tech business, and you offer various apps and online/software services, you can send your customers loyalty and rewards emails for the apps and other services they’ve used. You can, for example, reward them with an upgrade, or an upgraded plan for free or for a discount, or give them a free plan for something else to use from your range of options.

Reviews and Testimonials

Testimonials and reviews also aim to convert leads into customers. In fact, “79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family”, says a statistic provided by BrightLocal, a marketing software company.

Also called “social proof”, this is definitely one of the best ways you can drive and make sales.

When you have a group of loyal customers, you can engage with them to write longer testimonials, which will be considered as customer stories, and feature them on your website.

Asking for Reviews, Surveys, and Other Type of Customer Feedback

Similar to reviews and testimonials is asking your customers, and even ones that are pretty new, for feedback.

Now, this can be a very sensitive area for a company, especially a new one and especially if it’s just starting out, but it is important.

According to the same BrightLocal research I mentioned before, 72% of the people that were asked to write a review actually do it, which is not a small number.

Asking for a review from your customers offers a new kind of insight. While, of course, it can be vulnerable for the company, it’s also a great way to improve your performance, gain valuable insight from users, and show your customers you really care about their opinion. It’s a way of communicating and exchanging perceptions with your customers, as well as building a relationship with them.

And surveys are a good way to peer into the habits and preferences of your customers, great for market research as well. Instead of assuming things about your clients, why not ask them? Here, of course, the structure of the survey is very important too. A well-written, comprehensive (but not too long!) and informed survey will tell you a lot you need to know about your customers. Which means you also have to pay attention to the way you compose it and what you put into it.

Behavior Emails

These are types of automated emails which are sent to your users on the basis of their behavior, the actions they took on your site, and the way they engaged with your services. Their aim is to increase sales and customer engagement, as well as to help you understand the needs of your customers better, and to understand the ways you can improve your services and offers.

Behavior emails are sent when users interact with your company through various means: your website, your social media site, through email, and other online presences.

Transactional emails, triggered emails, automated emails, behavioral emails - these are all names for emails that are sent by the email marketing platform when a customer does something on your site.

For example, when a customer wants to buy something, but changes their mind and the product remains in their shopping cart, the platform sends an automatic abandoned shopping cart email to remind the user of their intended purchase.

Basically, you can send these types of emails for almost anything your customers do on your site, as long as you have the means to track them.

Product and Company Announcements, Newsletters

Newsletters date back to ancient Rome, so you can see how old a form they are. But why are they still important?

Well, it’s because they’re a form of direct-to-consumer marketing, which means you get to show your actual and potential customers what your company does on a regular basis, or inform them about any new products, services, or improvements.

It’s a very basic type of content marketing strategy, but a very important one as well, because they’re a way to constantly engage with your customers, directly.

That way your company and what it does will always be present in your customers’ inboxes, and they’ll always be aware of what you do and how you develop and improve.

Final Thoughts

Email content marketing is one of the most basic ways for direct to consumer marketing and one of the best and simplest ways you can interact with your customers, improve conversion rates, and inform your subscribers about your progress and innovation as a company on a regular basis.

That’s why paying attention to how you construct the flesh of your email is so important. Also, the types of emails you send should correspond to the types of actions your customers are doing on your site and the way they engage with your products/services.

Always be mindful to send relevant and informative content (and also localized, if possible) that your customers will find useful and worthy of their time.