No one likes to be wrong, but admitting to mistakes and learning from them is the key to smarter content marketing – email outreach in particular. This is the claim McKinsey & Company made when revisiting the results of its iConsumer survey.

The post cited an apparel company that doubled its ecommerce revenue without increasing its email newsletter frequency – a feat achieved by marketers who reviewed campaigns honestly, and cut out dead-end strategies. Still holding strong, email marketing has proven one of the best ways to acquire customers, and brands must learn that relevance – rather than frequency – is the key to conversions.

Don’t over-saturate consumers’ inboxes

The iConsumer survey revealed that email content has stronger acquisition rates than social networks, despite the popularity of these conversational channels. According to ExactTarget’s Channel Preference Survey, that’s because 91 percent of American consumers check their email accounts daily.

However, McKinsey’s analysis doesn’t acknowledge the fact that social media use is nipping at email’s heels with a highly captive audience. The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Social Media Update 2013 report found many social media users logging in daily, if not more frequently.

In 2014, email marketing success depends on content success rather than frequency.
  •  63 percent of Facebook users check in daily, 40 percent login multiple times
  •  57 percent of Instagram account holders view content daily, 35 percent more often
  •  46 percent of Twitter members check newsfeeds every day, 29 percent more than once a day

Consumers may be checking for fresh information often, but that doesn’t mean marketers can inundate them with brand content. If anything, it means there are more opportunities for targeted individuals to unsubscribe or unfollow companies. Marketers must understand they are going up against other businesses that have the same idea, and tread lightly when using direct touchpoints to reach prospects.

Make it thoughtful. Make it personal

Customers are more likely to open messages addressed directly to them, that contain offers in which they’re interested. Therefore, the pressure is on marketers to make digital content as tailored as possible.

As an example of this, McKinsey’s report pointed to Gilt Groupe, a flash-sale site that sends out 3,000 versions of its daily emails that reflect recipients’ previous interactions with products and services. Even if brands aren’t at a point where they can execute strategies as sophisticated as this, marketers must find ways to cover that ground through strong content writing and analytics segmentation in order to drive conversions.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.