Content Marketing, Owned Media
Published By:

Giving your email address to a company carries the same fear as giving out your number at a bar. Even if you liked the person initially, there’s always the risk he or she will call and call and never take a hint.

Too many companies are sending emails like the creeps who keep calling even after being rejected. They’re flooding inboxes with content that does nothing to improve the customer experience.

The way to change that trend is to build a foundation of context. Context takes “right message, right person, right time” to a whole new level. It forces you to approach subscribers in such a way that they actually appreciate hearing from you.

Surprise and Delight with Your Emails

Every morning, I get an email from What to Wear Daily that tells me what to wear for that day’s weather. I provide data upon signing up — a range of temperature thresholds for when I feel comfortable exercising outside — and the email shows which times in the day fall within that range.

I love getting that email because it legitimately helps me prepare for my day. It might not be hard to check a forecast and know that I should dress warm on a cold day, but the breakdown of different factors and expected timeframes makes my life simpler.

All marketing emails should do the same. Be genuinely helpful so consumers actually like hearing from you. It builds trust, and when customers trust you, they become loyal and view you as a partner or friend rather than a business that just wants something from them.

Without understanding where and how your users read your emails, you’re unlikely to create this kind of positive experience. Here are four questions to ask that will determine how to approach your subscribers:

1. What are your users trying to accomplish?

Unite your needs with those of your users.

When I first got a Karma Go hotspot device, I used it a ton on the first day. A few hours in, Karma sent me an email warning me that the battery was running low and I needed to charge it. They knew that I, as a new user, might have been upset if the device had died while I was using it and they knew that I probably needed a reminder to plug it in.

It was a genuine — and mutually beneficial — customer support experience. Karma united my needs (to charge my device) with its needs (my using the hotspot) to be useful and enhance my experience.

2. Where are your users?

Literally, where are your customers physically going to be when they open your emails? Commuting on the subway? Standing in front of an ATM? At home?

Bank of America gives you the choice of a paper or email receipt at the ATM. If you choose email, though, it sends a barely legible (on a phone, at least) email receipt. If you’re going to send an email to users when you know they’re not home, that email should be optimized for mobile.

3. Where are your users in their journeys?

You need to understand users’ histories with your company and any expectations they might have from your email marketing program. Are your users new sign-ups from social media, are they long-term customers who make frequent purchases or did they meet you at a trade show? Each of those experiences can give you clues about what your users expect from your marketing and how you can tailor it to meet their needs.

4. What devices are your users on?

People have different expectations for different devices. People checking emails on their phones probably don’t have as much time to follow through with a registration as if they were using their desktops.

Scott Stratten tells a story (with much frustration) about getting an email on his phone that contained a QR code. You can’t use your phone’s camera to scan its own screen!

The point is, don’t use technology just because it exists. If it doesn’t enhance the user experience, it’s counterproductive.

To avoid frustrating your subscribers, sign up for your brand’s emails and purchase your products yourself. Emulate your target users’ experiences. Are they pleasant and helpful or confusing and annoying?

In 2013, Jack Dorsey (founder of Square and Twitter) advised tech companies to “meet customers where they are.” His advice, which was intended for entrepreneurs, also applies to marketers and emphasizes the need to consider context when creating meaningful interactions.

Take Dorsey’s advice a step further. Meet customers where they are, but also contextualize that information and anticipate what they’re using, what they’re trying to do and where they’re going to be.




Sponsored Resources

Want more resources

View all Resources

Most Read


Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO & DK New Media
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel
Dan Fahrner Director of Marketing Services SmallBox
Asaf Rothem Marketing VP & Partner BrightInfo
Jonha Richman User Acquisition Manager

In case you missed

Read more of the latest news and insights from thought leaders in content promotion and distribution.


Get the latest content promotion news and insights everyday.

Champion Sponsor

Relevance is proud to present our Champion Sponsor that helps make our site possible.

Cision Logo

© 2017 Relevance | Content Promotion News & Insights

Connect with RELEVANCE

Thank you for subscribing Your subscription has been confirmed.