5 Reasons Why Content Marketing Should Elevate Your Email Program


Simms Jenkins

Email marketers have largely missed out on the opportunities presented by content marketing. Here are five ways to build a successful marriage between email and content.

Content marketing has been and continues to be hot. On average, marketers spend more than one-quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing, according to B2B Marketing Insider. Many digital marketers who are responsible for email, search, or more traditional return on investment (ROI)-focused digital programs have often viewed content marketing as fluffy or not even marketing but just words to help fill the page. But that perception is changing, and this Huffington Post and Leo Burnett announcement demonstrates that content and commerce are married – whether it is a shotgun wedding or a perfect match.

Email marketers have largely missed this big opportunity to engage with content marketing, but it is not hard to see the potentially symbiotic relationship between the two. Let’s look at five ways to leverage these dual threats.

1. Good content works. Period. Consumers rarely think about which channel is giving them what, but instead what brand provides what they are looking for. Some brands are offer-driven, some are engagement-based, and some provide a great user experience from end to end.

What enables the digital user to navigate the full spectrum is often great content. Sixty-one percent of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and that they are also more likely to buy from that company (according to a study from Custom Content Council). Your blogs, landing pages, white papers, social media, and email program should all leverage that special content to deliver a full experience, and the inbox can be the best way to deliver the reach needed to justify a bigger content investment.

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Many email marketers I talk to lament the difficulty and time it can take to develop robust content. However, good content often already exists elsewhere, sitting on a blog or some isolated digital island. Email marketers should see themselves as the airplane pilots directing people to destinations. Especially, neglected but incredibly successful nurturing type programs have aggressive tactics but lack the finesse that relevant and personalized content can provide. It’s worth marrying the two, as lead nurturing emails get four to 10 times the response rate compared to standalone email broadcasts, according to a Silverpop/DemandGen Report.

3. We all need more customers. Email’s historical weak link has been customer acquisition. HubSpot’s research pointed out that blog frequency impacts customer acquisition and, more specifically, 92 percent of companies that blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. It makes sense – email’s cash machine gets revved up when frequency is increased. While you can be blind to the negatives of any kind of uptick on marketing noise, this is an area where high-volume email marketers can borrow content and hopefully also their brand is acquiring new subscribers and/or customers.

4. Go where the money is headed. Seventy-eight percent of chief marketing officers (CMOs) think custom content is the future of marketing (from real estate media firm Hanley Wood). It’s no surprise that big-budget brands, dynamic new market leaders, and SAAS marketing leaders like American Express, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, and LinkedIn are rated among the best content marketers. You can bet that aspirational brands and emerging leaders will likewise make content marketing a pillar of their marketing efforts. Email marketers will be savvy to be able to ride shotgun with this surge and ensure they are front and center as well on the revenue- and relationship-focused delivery of this content.

5. Email is the backbone of digital – content is the blood. Align your teams and don’t let email just be told “what to blast” or let awesome content be left to die without the attention and eyeballs it deserves. If you have not done so, ensure your content marketing and email calendars and teams are plotting out 2015 in a collaborative fashion, and a well-oiled machine is yours ready to deploy.

What brands do both content and email marketing really well?


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Simms JenkinsSimms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America’s leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson’s Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of EmailStatCenter.com and SocialStatCenter.com, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association’s Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.