SPICE Up Your Email Content


Timing, subject lines, a great call to action – they’re all important to your email marketing strategy, but nothing you do is more important than your content. Marketing depends on its message, not just its medium, yet too many companies send email content that doesn’t live up to the promise of a punchy subject line.

To help you and your content marketing team put together irresistible email content, just remember SPICE: segmentation of your audience, personalization that makes each customer feel special, interesting topics that address their needs, creating curiosity with your content and developing empathy with readers.


Until you know your audience, you can’t grab them with great content. Outstanding email content starts before your content marketing specialist writes the first word with proper list segmentation. How you select your audience is complex enough to merit its own series of articles, but the key here is to group people with similar interests together, then mail targeted content to each segment. For example, your budget-conscious customers might respond well to a sale offer while your longtime clients may want to hear more about your loyalty program benefits.


Think of personalization as another layer of segmentation – one that segments each email recipient into a group of one. These days, customizing email content is more than just adding the recipient’s name to the header. You can now deliver images, text and calls to action tailored to the person who opens your email. The demographic, firmographic and behavioral data your marketing team gathers translates directly into better personalization, so working from clean, well-maintained lists is a must.


Nothing will save your email from a quick trip to deletion if you don’t hold readers’ interest. That means using lively writing that goes beyond sales cliches. It isn’t enough to tell your readers you’re introducing a new product line; you need to show them why they should care about that with examples that showcase its benefits and create excitement. If you promise your readers a newsletter, don’t give them ads; tell them what they need to know to make decisions. Clear, persuasive writing looks best with plenty of white space around it, so make sure form follows function in your email content.


Headline writers know how to grab attention. They promise to show you five things you can’t believe about Congress or show you one ″weird old tip″ to get healthy, and you click. Email marketing depends on curiosity to get readers to click now instead of waiting. Building curiosity into your subject line is a good start, but your email’s content should sustain that curiosity and make readers eager to click through. While you want to make them curious, though, you don’t want to make false promises; they need to trust that when you tell them you have something amazing to show them, you mean it.


The most successful email marketing messages talk to potential buyers as people, not as targets. Think about the email you read and what inspired you to read it. Did it speak to your needs or serve the sender’s? Did it give you a clear message, or did it waste your valuable time? Did the subject fit the content, or did you feel tricked into clicking? Your mail to others should contain the kind of content you’d like to read.

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