I give a lot of advice on how to write better emails, but the word I really should use is create. The endgame of your email is to create a message that provokes a desired action – a website visit, conference registration, membership renewal, subscription or some other outcome that moves your business forward. Part of the reason that email works well is that the channel itself has your audience’s engagement. Your subscribers are in their inboxes all day long anyway, so placing the right message in front of them drives results.
But nothing says that the contents of that message have to exist solely within the inbox. Sometimes crafting some copy expressly for email does work and is what your audience expects. Other times, however, repurposing content from other channels not only saves time, but works just as well or better.
Here are a few places to source content for your next email:
1. The landing page: Ever write the copy for an email designed to send people to a pre-existing landing page, and find it’s hard to create something that describes what you’re offering as well as the landing page, but is not actually the same copy as the landing page? You can stop doing that. It’s OK to use the same copy that is already on the landing page (particularly if you know that the landing page converts). Yes, you run the risk of people reading the same thing in the email and then on the landing page if they click through, but if they did click they are interested in what you’ve written. You can also limit your repurposing to the segments of the copy that have the greatest impact. Think of a 15-second trailer to this week’s Big Bang Theory. It previews all the good bits so you’re actively looking for them when you watch the show, and not annoyed that you saw that part already.
2. Conference agenda: I have long believed that the most persuasive content around any well-programmed conference is not what is on the conference homepage that positions and describes the show overall, but the actual nitty gritty of what is going to be discussed on stage. In my own conference marketing emails I have relied heavily on agenda content and found that drives the highest engagement and does a superb job pre-qualifying prospects so that their email clicks are more likely to convert to registrations. This begs the question of whether you are putting enough energy into your agenda writing. If you are, try co-opting some of it in emails. If you are not, put energy there and you can take advantage of it on your conference site and in the inbox as well.
3. Your blog: A lot of companies put more resources into creating content for their blog than their social and email channels combined. So why not share it with your subscribers proactively, instead of waiting them to come and find it? Incorporate blog titles and abstracts into your other emails (like newsletters or conference promotions) and you may be surprised at how many clicks they pull. Or try out our RSStoEmail 1 pager and turn your blog into an email engine, sending messages out automatically based on whatever schedule you choose.
4. Social channels: Last week’s White Card was about some sources of email content that are not copy at all. Try working in images, photos, videos, slide shows, charts and other graphics that perform well on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.
Remember that when driving your registrations and memberships, no bonus points are awarded for email channel purity. Focus first on the action you want your subscribers to take, then find, repurpose or create the content that will best get the job done.