Stop Looking for Marketing Shortcuts. Create Value Instead.
I read data from the Center for Media Research recently about the best day of the week to send emails. You may have seen similar content before. This day is best for open rates, that day (or time of day) is best for conversion, or similar formulaic information presented as “best practices” for email marketing. In fact, this very article was altogether neutral in the end, saying “A key finding to note…is that there isn’t a consistent day of the week winner when it comes to the best day to send emails.”
Behind this type of research, I think, is an impulse we all have from time to time. We want to find shortcuts to success. We think there is some silver bullet that will let us bypass hours of work and toil. There has to be some secret we haven’t yet found.
Yes, there is something to be said for trying to optimize what we do. Certainly, one should look for every avenue to help improve our business. And there are certainly some times when the day of the week that you send an email could prove important. It may not be a good idea to send a promotional email on the fourth Thursday in November, for instance. But even in that scenario, there can be important exceptions. If you’re a retail brand, that day makes complete sense. That is why I would suggest that there is something much more important at play here. Something that might get overlooked in all our searching for shortcuts.
Create Value for Your Target Audience
When we look for shortcuts, we’re looking for opportunities to build sales or grow our business. We think that where we are isn’t good enough. Maybe we could be in a better situation if we just did fill in the blanks.
Let’s stick with the subject of email marketing. If you’re really looking to gain more click-throughs or to increase open rates, you need to first understand your audience. Who are they, what do they need, are their actions predictable? That second question may be the most essential– what does your audience need?
If you can unearth an urgent need of your target audience and then meet that need, you’re in business. That’s creating value. It’s not a silver bullet, but it does work.
The Content Comes First
Are tactics like finding the optimum day to send an email inherently bad? No, in fact they can be very helpful in getting the highest level of engagement from your target audience. The problem comes when we put tactics ahead of thinking strategically and creating relevant, quality content.
Think of it this way – if you create content that doesn’t resonate with your audience, will it really matter what day you post it? Whether it’s posted on Tuesday or Thursday, it’s still unlikely to have an impact.
So, let’s get our timeline in order. First, you have to understand your target audience. Then, you have to know enough about them to know what they need. Not what they want, but what they NEED.
Then, you give it to them.
Simple as that. In all reality, it’s quite complex because many marketers simply don’t take the time to find the actionable insights needed to resonate with their audience.
Focus on Your Audience
Once you have your content in order, feel free to optimize what you’re doing with tactical best practices or insights like choosing the best days and times to send out emails or post to social media. But rather than unquestioningly taking someone else’s advice, A/B test it with your own audience.
The core of what I’m getting at is this – your audience is YOUR audience. Make sure your content is uniquely crafted with them in mind and make sure it is presented to them in the way that best suits their schedule. If you can do that consistently, you’ll start to see major successes from your content marketing efforts.
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