Savvy business leaders understand that content marketing isn't a monolithic investment - it requires a multi-pronged approach.

Savvy business leaders understand that content marketing isn’t a monolithic investment – it requires a multi-pronged approach to generate greater visibility, brand awareness and lead generation. But each of those prongs can be customized to maximize returns, and nothing in the custom content toolbox is as ripe for exploitation as email.

The power of the inbox 

Since the dawn of web marketing, companies figured out that sending marketing emails to customers or potential clients could yield significant returns. That’s why 60 percent of companies report that they’ve already seen a positive ROI thanks to email campaigns, according to Marketing Sherpa. Another 32 percent expect to make their money back sometime in the future.

Email is a solid component of any digital marketing strategy, but it has to go beyond updates that don’t change much from week to week. Consider the following ways to make the most of email marketing investments:

Hit inboxes at the right moment: Timing is everything

Email holds so much power because it’s a rare medium that allows companies to directly reach customers, rather than the other way around. This is perfect for industries that have unique business cycles. For instance, the National Retail Federation recorded significant jumps in e-retail revenue on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this past holiday season. A company with an effectively timed and customized email strategy can reach consumers on the precipice of purchase decisions to capture sales opportunities.

Make an offer customers can’t refuse

A Baynote survey found that 66 percent of customers would make a purchase at a store if they were offered a promotion, no matter how they found out about it. Email is one of the most cost-effective ways to spread the word about savings, new services or deals a company is offering.

Divide and conquer

Customers have different expectations, particularly during a time when people value personalization more than ever, so they certainly won’t all respond the same way to email marketing materials. Yet, only 28 percent of companies divided their email campaigns into categories for customers with different purchasing histories, according to an eMarketer study. Get a jump on competitors – and their uniform emails – by customizing marketing materials to maximize ROI.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.