I have been working with a lot of my clients over the past couple of years helping them understand the interplay between sales and marketing, and specifically content marketing. The premise, of course, is based on the fact that you can interact with somebody initially and determine very quickly if they are qualified, meaning that they are in your target market and are the kind of clients you work with. I am not talking about qualification in terms of budget, deed or decision making, and I’ve written a blog on why those aspects of qualification really don’t apply in 2013, but in talking with them about content marketing and the importance of leveraging it to ensure your sales efforts can be successful over time, I have strategy help for folks trying to get into that game.
I have implemented this process myself, and I’ve spent a lot of energy on understanding systems and content, and streamlining how to build an effective content marketing engine. If you’d like to chat about that and feel like you want some help, please drop me a line. The purpose of this blog though is to highlight something that has come about as a result of that, and over the course of working with these clients in helping to develop their content marketing strategy, I have both helped them create their own content, done some editing, and also turned them on to a couple of good resources in my Rolodex to do content creation. However, marketing content is absolutely worthless if the intended audience never receives it.
I actually stumbled upon a phenomenon pretty recently where a couple of the clients that I had helped build the content strategy were sending stuff to me, asking if I’d gotten it and how it was, yet I wasn’t receiving it. For example, one client that I’m working with on a content marketing strategy put me on his opt-in list. I never received his emails though, so I just went into my spam folder today and found that basically every single one of his communications and entire string had been trapped in my spam folder. The punch line here is that in this day and age even if somebody is in your address book, spam filters can override that preference based on the content of the email, and when you’re dealing with stuff like Gmail, Outlook or mail servers, you don’t always know how people’s spam settings are set. A lot of time spam filters will be triggered by either the content of the email or the subject line, particularly if you’re talking about sales, revenue, deals, sales or opportunity, which are things that can trip those spam filters. For a list of some common trigger words in subject lines, check out this Hubspot list.
The one thing that you must do if you’re going to implement a content marketing strategy is test your emails. To send out a content based email without having checked that email for spam vulnerability is absolutely insane because it’s such an easy step. Pick four or five people in your network who you know your name is in their address book, send them your email and ask them to check. If you’re going to send an email blast out to 500 or 1,000 or even just 50 people, it pays to know if this stuff going to get delivered. Will they even see it? What I have been doing with a large number of my clients lately is asking them to pre-send their email templates or their campaign emails to me so that I can let them know if it’s coming through or not. Sometimes it takes a couple of iterations, changing this word, pulling out that word, etc., to really get the email to go through. All of your emailing and content marketing prowess goes down the toilet if they never see it, and they won’t see it if you haven’t taken the very small step of ensuring that email will get through the spam filters of the people you know best.
So make that happen. Test it. Don’t waste your valuable content on spam filters and junk mail. Make sure your emails reach their desired recipients.
By Townsend Wardlaw