Marketers use an average of six different channels to distribute content, and when you look at what those tactics are, you notice most of them are social media-related. There's definitely value in using social in your content distribution, and with so many free social media tools available, I get that it's easy to focus your efforts on it.
But before you give yourself a pat on the back for being active on social, you should know there's another way to distribute content that you might be overlooking -- and it's one you and your team use every day. I'm talking about email.
On an individual level, you've probably had to use different email hacks to get responses from people who've ghosted you before, but email marketing as a whole is actually very effective; in fact, it converts three times better than social. That's why I get so confused when I hear leaders say they mostly rely on social shares for their distribution.
Has email gotten such a bad rap as the No. 1 way for concerned grandmas everywhere to irritate people with old mass forwards that business leaders and marketers have dismissed its value as a legitimate content distribution channel? Is there a misconception that email has been around for so long that there's got to be a newer, better way to reach audiences and get content into their hands?
Whether you believe those excuses for email avoidance or your team has found another reason to neglect email marketing, I've got news for you: Email is alive and well. And if it isn't a pillar of your distribution strategy, it needs to be. Here's why:
1. Email makes personalization simple.
A couple of years ago, my family and I went to Disney World. My oldest daughter, who was 2 at the time, met pretty much all her favorite characters; they greeted her by name and made her believe the entire experience was personalized just for her. She felt so special and had the time of her life.
That is how you want to make your audience feel -- like everything you're communicating to them and sending them is designed specifically for their unique needs. Email is one of the easiest ways to send that personalized content directly to them.
Email, as a distribution platform, has a high capacity for personalization. As someone who loves to meet and talk with new people in person, I get how weird that might sound. It's odd to say that email is this warm and personable channel when it's still coming through a screen.
But when you segment your audience, create email campaigns for them, and send engaging content to the right segments, you're demonstrating that you understand your audience members and want to empower them with the right content. That makes them feel special, and it's an effective all-around approach to distribution: Segmented emails get 14 percent more opens and nearly 60 percent more clicks.
It's hard to deliver personalized content directly to your audience on any other platform the way you can via email. And even if you could do that, it'd be hard to scale -- which brings me to my next point.
2. Its level of personalization is scalable.
I've heard complaints before from more traditional leaders about how often people today rely on email instead of just picking up the phone when they want someone's attention. But when was the last time you (or any other human being) successfully made thousands of calls and had productive, lead-nurturing conversations in a day? That's what I thought.
No matter how large your audience grows -- whether you are just starting to grow your following or have tens of thousands of people on your list -- you can use email to get your content directly to them. There's no limit to how many different segments you can target or how large those segments can become as your audience (and your business) grows; email makes it possible to send each of those segments personalized content, keep your brand top of mind, and do it all at once.
3. You can consistently track, analyze, and optimize your efforts.
What good is any content distribution tactic if you don't know how effective it is? With email, pretty much everything is measurable: rates of delivery, open, click-through, subscribe and unsubscribe, etc.
And that's standard across most platforms; you get a dashboard view and in-depth analytics into how your email campaigns perform so you can always keep improving. But even if you want to send one-off emails to influencers for outreach or to a lead in particular outside of these campaigns in your email platform, you can track that, too.
I use a tool called Mixmax to help me schedule and send emails from my individual account, and it comes with basic analytics that let me know if and when someone opens an email or which links he clicked. Those emails aren't managed through HubSpot like our other email campaigns. Yet I'm still able to track them and figure out what's working because email is incredibly easy to track and optimize.
As more brands continue creating content -- and competition for your audience's attention grows stronger -- your success is going to come down to how well you distribute your content. With email, you've got a strong tool at your disposal; don't make the mistake of neglecting it.