4 Reasons to Send Your Email List Long-Form Content
Long-form content has seen a surge in popularity. Blog posts are now becoming more in-depth, focused more on providing actual value to the reader instead of just attempting to satisfy SEO needs. Brands have been experimenting with long-form posts on Facebook to increase engagement, and now there are strong rumors that Twitter is going to introduce the ability to post beyond the 140-character limit.
The true definition of long-form content varies, depending on whom you speak with. Some will say anything over 900 words is considered long-form, while some will say that 1,800 words and over qualifies as long-form. There is no right or wrong answer.
For this case, when I’m saying long form content, I’m referring to content that is more than 1,200 words in length. This is much more “meat” than my typical newsletter. Most newsletters are a few paragraphs with links to external resources. Most people assume that consumers don’t want to sit there and read lengthy emails. This is due in part to the fact that many people are reading email on their mobile devices.
I don’t think we should abandon long-form content when sending email. In fact, I think more brands should start to experiment with it more and here are four reasons why I feel this way.
1. You Can Deliver Real Value Directly to a Highly Targeted Audience
We create long-form content on blogs to accomplish two goals. First, to attract and engage prospects, and second, to get those prospects to convert into a lead or sale. Most content is designed to get the reader to, at the very least, turn into an email lead. That email address is then placed into a funnel, where it is then marketed to, in an effort to convert the prospect into a revenue generating customer.
Why is it that most brands will spend all of this time and effort to reel the prospect in, but then once they have them interested their content turns weak? For example, I just picked up a new consulting client that happens to be a SaaS company, and they have amazing blog content. Their blog posts are all well researched long-form content that delivers incredible value.
The number of email leads they pull in from their content is absurd, but the rate at which those prospects convert into paying customers is downright ugly. After looking at the email sequence their leads are placed into it became obvious as to why their sales were slow.
24 hours after opting into the list, each prospect was sent this:
“Just following up to see if you were still interested in [SaaS]. If so, click here to start your subscription.”
That’s all, just two sentences and a weak call-to-action. If that wasn’t bas enough, 72 hours after opting in the prospect was sent this message:
Wanted to follow up again. We noticed you haven’t opened up an account with us. If you are still interested in [SaaS] then click here to sign up now!
It was cringe worthy, and what’s even worse, is that exact message was then sent to the prospect every 48 hours. Their conversion rate was extremely low and unsubscribe rate extremely high. That was no surprise.
By simply eliminating those horrible emails and replacing them with emails that actually provided value that was on par to their blog, their sales went through the roof. They were doing the hard part already, which was filling their funnel with interested prospects, but then completely killing interest with automated emails that provided zero value.
Don’t slack off or pay less attention to your leads once you have them reeled into your funnel. If anything, you should strive to provide them with a higher level of value to get them more excited about your product or service.
I think a lot of brands are worried that if they surround their call-to-action with too much content the prospect will get lost. If anything, more content allows for more strategically placed CTAs, increasing the amount of traffic you can push back to your website to convert.
Your email list is the most targeted group of prospects you can market to, so place that value right in front of their nose and watch your most important conversions -- the ones that generate revenue for your business -- increase.
2. Allows You to Tell a Story to Prospects That Are Interested in What Your Business Offers
Most newsletters are glorified advertisements that have offers and discounts sprinkled throughout them. Consumers are receiving dozens of emails like this every week. If your emails are like every other one that they ignore, how do you expect to stand out? You won’t. You will blend in with all the other emails they ignore.
Why not give your newsletter audience something more authentic?
Tell a story of past success, but include the good, the bad and the ugly. Consumers like authentic brands that are raw. They can see through BS. They crave real and authentic. Use this engagement opportunity to tell the story of how your business was started. What obstacles did you face? What were some of the tough learning curves that you were faced with that helped your brand become what it is today?
If someone takes the time to subscribe to your newsletter they are showing a genuine interest in your brand. This is an opportunity to make them like you even more. Does your company participate in any charitable events? Do you donate a percentage of profits to a specific cause? Are you involved in your local community? This is all information that you can use to help tell your story and make people want to engage with your brand more.
3. You Can Immediately Set Your Brand Apart from the Other Noise in Your Recipients Inbox
There is nothing that says you must do the same thing that everyone else is doing. Subject lines such as “Discount Coupon Included” and “Save Now – Today Only” are what the average consumer sees when they open their email inbox. Promotional offers left and right.
You could be offering free product in your email message, but if nobody is opening it the offer goes unseen. Not only do you need unique content in the body of your email, but you also need to use attention-grabbing subject lines. Once your subscribers get accustomed to your email content they will begin to open it more because they know it’s not going to be a sales pitch or promotional offer every time.
Developing a reputation for providing value, even to your email list, is responsible for setting off a trigger in your prospects mind when it comes time for them to buy whatever it is that you are selling. They reward you for the value you have provided them, even if that’s not what they intended to do.
4. It Can Suck the Right Prospect in at the Right Time
Newsflash: not everyone is going to read long-form content via email, especially those that are in a rush, viewing email on their mobile device, or simply just not that interested in your brand.
But, for that prospect that has been engaging with your emails and website content on a regular basis, and is right at that tipping point of becoming a customer, a long-form email can be that extra nudge needed to get them to convert. Over time your business builds up a large subscriber list. Every new name you add is a potential conversion down the road. The more emails you add, the more people that could potentially be ready to purchase your product or service.
They know you exist. They have visited your website and they subscribed to your email list. Provide long-form content that answers common questions that prospects typically have before they make a purchase decision. That’s one way to nudge those that are right on the edge of converting.
What do you think? Are you going to give long-form email marketing a try?