Email content that makes happy customers

Zoho Campaigns Expert Diaries


Tim Watson, a leading independent email marketing consultant from Zettasphere, shares his expertise on what kind of email content makes customers happy and stick to a brand. Tim has 14 years of email marketing experience, providing strategic guidance to enhance email campaign performances. He’s also been a twice-elected member of the Email Council at the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) and chair of Email Best Practice hub.

Expert Diaries 
from Zoho Campaigns connects avid email marketers to the experts in this space, and help them learn some best practices and tips. As #HolidayEmailMarketing is approaching, let’s begin with getting our email content right for acquiring and retaining more customers.

Make your customers happy and deliver value in your email marketing.

Makes sense, right? Customer-centric emails that make them happy recipients of your marketing—it’s a win-win.

Only one problem. What is value to consumers?

The recent Email Addiction Report, carried out by Zettasphere and Email Monday, provides some answers. The report is based on findings from a consumer survey and is freely available.

One question probed the type of content that consumers want, asking “What new email innovations would interest you?”


email marketing report 1


The top three answers are all related to having more value in the information being provided.

  • Product ratings. Valuable information that gives buyers the evidence to support products are worth buying. Social proof.

  • Products and offers based on purchase history. Consumers want offers on the things they want to buy. They don’t want offers on irrelevant products. It doesn’t matter how financially enticing an offer is—if the product isn’t wanted, the offer is worth zilch.

  • Offers depending on location. With half of emails read on mobile devices, email is a 24/7 connected channel. Automated timely emails are effective and, better still, relevant to the context of the consumer.

The more functional items, such as playing video in the email or buying from an email, are not seen as valuable. Consumers aren’t feeling burdened by the need to click a link to play video or buying on a webpage.

And they don’t seem keen on having a computer sort and delete emails in their inbox. Despite the often-reported email overload, consumers still prefer to be in control. Swiping to delete emails isn’t a burden.

Value ISN’T pure content  

A big trend of recent years has been content marketing. It’s an important part of marketing activity for many brands. The idea is to provide interesting content and consumers will fall in love with you.

A major reason for content marketing is the Google juice that follows. Content is a major part of an SEO play.

But the idea that consumers want only interesting helpful content in emails is wrong.

Don’t expect engaging conversation to magically turn into conversion. You still need to sell, to promote, to ask for the purchase.

And consumers are wanting and expecting this.

A further insight from the Email Addiction Report. Consumers were asked what they expect to receive having signed up for brand emails.

email marketing report 2


The key point is that consumers sign up expecting offers, savings, and new product information.

Consumers expect to be sold to—that’s one of the reasons for signing up.

Take care to balance pure interest-led content with a good old-fashioned promotion. You’ll be disappointing your customers if you don’t sell to them.

Value is helpful content that helps people buy.

Don’t forget to grab a copy of Email Addiction Report, which is stuffed with research.


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