How to do email like a content marketer
We've put a new spin on our Content Marketing Framework for a collaborative project with Revinate
Back in 2016 we released a content marketing framework that explicitly puts data and analysis at the start of the process. And that’s still very much how we work – we’ll analyse a range of sources right at the start of a project, usually before channel decisions have even entered the picture.
So when hotel management platform Revinate asked us to contribute some content tips to an email marketing guide, it presented an interesting opportunity. Sure, we can cover how to generate topic ideas, draft a good subject line and write compelling body copy. But could we go a step further and reinvent our generalist framework for a specific channel and sector? Would that change the role of data in the process, and if so, how?
We kept the principles behind the framework intact, but fine-tuned it to highlight some data points, metrics and scenarios that are specific to email marketing and to the hotel environment. In a way, it was a liberating exercise. The core framework necessarily leaves marketers to work through their own ideas, but at this smaller scale we had scope to include more practical content steers. For instance, you’ll find reference to booking anniversary mailshots, pre-departure upsells and refurbishment announcements.
To get the complete package you’ll need to download Revinate and Melt Content’s Guide to Email Marketing, but in this post we’ll look at the three key principles that the CMF and the new Email Marketing Framework have in common.
1. Motivation still matters
When we designed the CMF, we put a single guiding concept at the heart of it: Motivation. Think of it as a linked customer and business goal. The idea is that you begin the campaign process with a clear understanding of what you want to achieve commercially, and what customer need your activity is going to fulfil. That’s still there in the email framework. As long as you’re creating any kind of content, you need to keep those commercial and customer goals in balance. In practice, your email-level motivation might be a child of a bigger idea driving your wider marketing strategy. For instance:
- Top-level motivation: Create more meaningful stays through sellable activities and experiences.
- Email-level motivation: Help guests celebrate special occasions using dining experiences and drinks offers.
2. Data before creative
With Motivation figured out, it’s tempting to jump straight into creative. But like the CMF, the EMF insists on going to the data first. In an email context, that means looking at subscriber data to see what segments are available, how much data they contain and how reliable it is. You might want to design a campaign around personal interests, but do you have sufficient data in that segment to target it properly and hit your commercial goals?
In other words, you need to fully understand who you can reach and how before you can begin writing messages to them.
3. One goal, multiple strategies
The EMF’s strategy checklist covers some of the key categories to consider, from property updates to booking abandonment emails. Just like data segments, you can use these strategies singly or in combination to meet your goals.
Let’s say you’ve made some changes to your restaurant. You might hit foodie customers with a simple property update email. Then you might hit customers who have abandoned a booking with a reminder message, sweetened with details of your new menu. Different strategies, different data, same core Motivation.
(If you were wondering why our graphic is a wheel, now you know. The wheel format puts Motivation at the heart of the process, but leaves the rest of the journey wide open.)