Last week, I was working with a client to finalize the details of their new content strategy. We’d made a lot of progress: thoroughly developed their target personas (a process they’d never done for themselves before), researched and articulated those personas’ buy cycle stages, identified which content platforms would fulfill the values of those personas as they moved through the buy cycle, created a plan for strategic messaging for the quarter, and developed a regular cadence and workflow for developing content at a clip that would fulfill the SEO strategy we’d put in place earlier in the month. We’d already worked through the cultural shifts that would need to happen at the agency in order for the team to reliably adopt this content program. We were ready to roll. All we had left to do was determine the plan to disseminate this content to their email list.
Heh, “all we had left to do”…
Turns out, the content promotion plan was the biggest sticking point of all.
The problem? I was recommending a more aggressive outbound email strategy than the agency was expecting. Specifically, given the volume of content prescribed by the new strategy, I recommended they email various segments of their marketing list about three times per month to promote the content. This agency had previously been sending out about one email every six weeks.
Their concerns were twofold. Initially, they weren’t convinced they had the internal expertise to design and deploy three emails per month – an issue that we easily addressed with the new automation platform we were helping them adopt.
But the primary hesitancy with the plan was that the agency didn’t value their own marketing enough to stomach the promotion it deserves. The real issue was they were afraid that if they promoted their own content, they’d look like spammers.
Being respectful is one thing. Letting fear drive your marketing strategy is another.
I understood where they were coming from. It’s actually a pretty common objection. But as I explained to them and to many other clients, marketers have a tendency to consider their own marketing spam. And it’s time to stop.
The clients we work with are arguably the most brilliant marketing minds in the world. They’re tightly positioned, seasoned experts who know more about their clients’ industries than their clients do. And therefore, they’ve got real education to share. It’s not an overstatement to suggest that as a thought leader in your area of focus, you owe it to your professional community to share that education regularly. Spam, on the other hand, distinguishes itself by being manipulative, if not cynical, and certainly isn’t concerned with bringing valuable insight to the masses.
Allowing your misunderstanding of the value of your own marketing to drive your promotional plan is a disservice to your agency’s lead development strategy. Our research tells us this is true. The agencies we’ve seen regularly generate quality opportunity through their digital marketing are emailing their lists three or four times per month, minimum. It’s been that way for years now.
When you’re consistently creating content that focuses on the intersection of your prospect’s pain points and the expertise you provide to alleviate those pain points, your “marketing emails” become master classes for your readers.
If you’re getting this right, the people on your email list are going to value and look forward to your regular emails because they’re learning from you. You’re making them better at their jobs.
Sure, it’s no secret that you want these people to associate your thinking with your brand, and you’re hopeful that the content hits them at a time when they realize they could use a firm like yours to help them through their own brand problems. But just because that motive is visible doesn’t mean the content you’re producing isn’t valuable.
Your marketing emails aren’t as invasive as you think they are. It’s time to get over the fear and own the role of the thought leader your expertise has led you to become.