Content Monetization Through Email: How much time and money you should invest

Although content Monetization through email seems to be a long shot for achieving high ROI, we can assure you that when it pays off, it pays off pretty well! And this blog is all about helping you get on the right track.

Robbie Fitzwater
Updated on

Last time we learned the basics of what content monetization is and how it benefits your business. 

But as a business that has to look after its finances, you must consider how much investing in it is worth it. 

So today, I’ll be walking you through all of that and sharing the different ways you can incorporate this new category into the email marketing world. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. How much time and money should I invest in content marketing?
  2. What Type of ROI Should You Expect From Content?
  3. Examples of implementing content in your email marketing/Best Practices
  4. Monetizing Content Through Automations
  5. How Do We Use Content in Sale Campaigns?
  6. Takeaways

Without any further ado, let’s get started!  

How much time and money should I invest in content marketing?

One of the most common questions we get from e-commerce retailers is how much is okay for them to invest in content marketing, and to that, I say, it depends!

There are two types of content in the marketing world and how much you should invest in your content marketing works on the type of content you’re working on.

  1. Top of the funnel

The first type is where you aim to build a new audience or drive new traffic towards your site. 

This is the SEO-based content that adds value through organic search and brings in a new audience. It is one of the smartest approaches to creating content as it helps you grow your business, and it is the investment that would be good for your business in the long run.

SEO content is going to drive people at the top of the funnel, i.e., bring in new customers to the company, which is like investing in the long-term health of the business. 

  1. Lower in the funnel

The second type of content aims to engage the already existing audience. This kind of content is a bit more warm and friendly than the latter as it is aimed at people you already have interacted with before.   

This type of content aims to educate, inspire and entertain the audience and is usually in the lower part of the funnel. It adds value to the customer as it helps them in making better use of the products that they purchased from you. In this way, it helps to retain the customers and keeps them coming back to your site. 

Both these content play a large role in helping a business grow and pay dividends in the long run, but the question is how much worth it is to invest in these for different types of businesses. 

So a smaller business that has just started or is still in its growing period will most likely create the SEO content that drives traffic. For such businesses, it would be a smart choice if they invest between 20-30% and only 20% if you’re very young and are just working on acquiring a customer base.

However, if you’re a matured business that is past its growing business, you’re most likely to be working on content that aims to engage its existing audience. In that case, you should be investing 30-50% of the money in your content.

Also, if you’re spending a lot of money on the content, you don’t want to be ignoring the distribution of that content; however, you’ll not always be focusing solely on the acquisition side as you’re working on building a sustainable marketing ecosystem and that doesn’t involve only focusing on ROAS (return on ad spend) all the time.

What Type of ROI Should You Expect From Content?

Now the next question that pops up in our minds after talking about investment is the return on investment and how much of it to expect from the content. 

The answer again is that it depends!  

It’s going to be subjective based on your business and is going to depend on a lot of different variables. 

Such as, if you have a larger email list to which you can distribute that content, you’re going to probably see a faster and higher rate of return on investment. You’re not going to have the acquisition costs associated with it, and also, you’d be able to reach a broader and hopefully a more qualified audience.

Talking about this in an email context, you might be able to better monetize this and either break even or double the investment if you work with it smartly. 

So let’s see an example of this;

Suppose I were to write four articles in four consecutive months. I write an article in the first month and make a certain amount of revenue through email, and that would be the email revenue I acquire for that article. 

Then in the second month, I can probably take that article and find a place to automate it within our existing automation so that we have a nice base of automated revenue. And then, with that, we introduce another article, send an email about it, and make some money again.

So basically, we’re taking existing automation from the last month and crossing it over to the next, and then we’re adding a little bit new to it each month. This gives us a space to grow, and with that and a good incremental revenue through the emails we’re sending. 

So if you’re a large brand with a large email audience, you’re probably going to see the benefits of this strategy sooner than later. Because if you’re a business that invests a thousand dollars in a piece of content, you might drive ten thousand dollars in return through a large list you have. 

This is where we can incorporate all the best of what we’re doing to earn and maintain the attention of our audience, which is the most difficult yet the most crucial part for a marketer. And this attention is the most valuable commodity, which is the hardest to earn and hardest to maintain.

Examples of implementing content in your email marketing/Best Practices

Good content allows people to engage with your brand and keeps them interested in what you do or what you have to offer. 

Content that keeps a conversation going without undermining the brand’s name and value gives you the benefit of not relying on discounts and fancy promotions.

Especially the content that compliments the products and services you are providing is most likely to gain success within your audience. 

  • The Trojan horse

As I mentioned earlier, there is a type of content that engages the audience by helping them make better use of the product that you sold to them, or it might be the content that leads them to the products you offer. This adds value to the customers, and as a result, they engage with you more often. 

The way we use this content is like a Trojan horse; you open the door for more conversations. 

Suppose you write an article on ways to make a pour-over coffee and the items required to make that coffee. In your article, while covering the essentials of the topic, you may also add the link for your customers to buy those items from your brand. 

Or you might give a link to talk about the different types of coffees that make good pour overs which might interest the real coffee lovers and leads them to engage even further with your site.  

So what you’re doing here is that you’re mentioning and informing your audience about an XYZ product and then incorporating the product into that content so that it allows you to keep people engaged and keep that conversation going. 

So The Trojan horse here drives more revenue from the audience without, again, sacrificing margin because we’re adding value in the form of content, as opposed to a discount.

  • Monetizing content through campaigns

Monetizing your content through campaigns can be a smart and efficient way, and it may help in killing two birds with one stone, i.e., helping in generating revenue and second keeping the audience engaged and updated. 

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  • Time relevant content

In campaign emails, we send our content on a fairly frequent basis to either a large or a small audience, depending on the segment we’re working with. 

These emails aim to send something relevant to the customers that might come in handy for them, so it is super important that you send it at the relevant time.   

So, for example, if you’re working in a hydration company, you might want to send an article regarding ways of staying hydrated during summers. And your customers will appreciate it as they’re being informed and educated, or maybe if you work in a hiking company, you might want to send them content relating to tips on planning a fun hiking trip for summers. 

Now the point to be noted here is that time relevancy is playing an important part here. 

As these types of content are relevant to summers only, they cannot be useful in winters; however, you can tweak them a little and make winter versions of them. For example, not giving up on drinking water and beverages regularly during winters or places best suitable for hiking in winters.

So this gives you a lot of opportunities to build your content according to the context and requirements of the audience and communicate it to them through your understanding and insights on a large scale. 

  • Recycled content

Also, sometimes you create content that has been much appreciated and has been useful to the audience, so you can recycle it to be used again, and there’s no shame in doing so.

For example, we have clients that we built articles for about three years ago, and we have used that content three years in a row. We refreshed and contextualized those articles according to the client’s requirements every year. It has given us a good result every time because we know what our client likes and what’s in their mind. 

  • ‘Leading into joke’ content

Such content allows you to tee up for more sales. Like, if you’re running a promotion or a sale event, this content can serve as a lead to a joke engaging your audience before the punchline, which is the sales and the promotions. 

Communication and the punchline are going to be what you use to do the selling. So it is really helpful in how these campaigns drive revenue for you.

Monetizing Content Through Automations

  • In line with the customer journey

Content sent through automation is going to be highly contextual and in line with the customer’s journey. You, as a business, would know where they are in their journey and what they might need at that stage, and you send them exactly that at the right time. This makes it a valuable experience for them. 

For instance, if somebody purchases a coffee roaster from my coffee store for the first time. It would be smart of me to send them an article saying hey, “how do you grind your coffee beans?” Or “how do you brew your coffee?” and other helpful articles and tips around how we do that.

This is the kind of stuff you can send at a time if you want to onboard that customer smoothly. The more use and value they’re going to find out of the product, the faster they’re going to use it and the faster they’re going to reorder. So the more value we can add, the better position we’re going to be in.

  • In context with the customer journey

In another example, if you’re working in a children’s clothing brand and there are a new set of parents who haven’t purchased ever before, and they’re making their first purchase, you can share with them things like, “What are the 10 things, every new parent needs?

This is going to help them through their confusion regarding that purchase and is going to assist them in getting that end goal of dressing their kid nicely. They might even be thankful to you for guiding them through that stage. 

If you take an even deeper insight, try to figure out whether your customer is the gift giver customer or are they purchasing for themselves, you can treat them differently and send them different kinds of content relevant to their need. 

So it is now understood that the better you know your customer, the stage of their journey, and what they require, the better you can align that content and the better performance you’ll have regarding generating revenue through automation. 

How Do We Use Content in Sale Campaigns?

Content in sale campaigns acts a little bit as a pattern breaker.

  • Break up the pattern

So around the holiday season, people’s inboxes are bombarded with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Sometimes a dozen from the same brand, even you will want to send more during this time to generate as much revenue as possible. But you might not want to sound mundane and would want to break that pattern a bit and do something different. 

So you send them campaigns that might be useful to them and rewarding for you. In other words, If you can align content that compliments your sale, it is where the most amazing opportunities lie. 

For example, if you’re in the cycling business, you might send them an article saying “10 best gifts for cyclists” and then go like oh yes, we sell those products too, directing them towards the products tab on your site. 

In this way, you’re breaking up that continuous boring pattern and making it more informative for the audience who would like to know more about what they’re buying.  

In another example, you can send an article saying “summer gear recommendations by our team” and then recommend and redirect them towards some of your products.  

This is a really smart way of making things easy for your audience and also to show off a little too, in the sense that when you give them insights about your products along with selling them. This gives you the chance to incorporate your team’s expertise and show some domain knowledge. They see you as the subject matter expert and rely on you, which helps to build a relationship with them that they might not have with other brands

So you’re simply making their lives easier and are there for them by zigging when others are zagging. So it would be safe to say that such content campaigns do bring you many opportunities.  

  • Supplementing a rollout

These content campaigns can also supplement a rollout, informing your audience about a new category of products in your business. 

So using one of the previous examples, if you’re working in a coffee selling company selling coffee roasters and you just introduced a tea. There is now something different and newer than the core product we sold in the past.

Now, you’ll need new ways to make that announcement or to introduce it to your customers so they may want to try it. You can incorporate that into your content, sending things like, “A coffee drinkers guide to tea” or “Dipping your toe into tea.”

It’s an easy way of framing that tea is kind of a compliment to coffee and informing and educating your audience about how tea is a better option during noon as it has less caffeine. So this supplements your daily coffee ritual, helps to kind of connect those two, and helps to educate and inform them.

The main goal here is that we want to sell more of that product, so there are lots of different ways we can do this to keep that and keep that conversation going. That’s where the content fits into the monetization strategy for e-commerce.

So, much of our attention is placed on top of the funnel of traffic, trying to attract more and more new customers for the new product. But how about we drive more attention to our existing customers? That’s going to be a huge differentiator for our business, and that’s where we can find a competitive advantage over other businesses.

Takeaways

So what we learned through this article is that content is one of those things that challenge your customers to think of a product more concretely and less abstractly. 

Once you’re getting into that rhythm of sharing valuable content, it’s going to prove to be a longer-term business asset for you over time. 

Sensible and valuable content is going to help you drive revenue, drive retention, and also build your business without sacrificing margin through discounting. 

We see such content as one of the best levers to improve the customer experience but also drive that lifetime value that we want to see from our customers.

However, you need to keep in mind that things don’t happen overnight. These rhythms take time to build up a full base of content. It can take years, and it definitely will. So you should consider stepping into this world early, so you’re not left behind and can maximize your experience. Especially if you’re a younger business getting into this world, it’d be a unique opportunity as this isn’t as competitive as some other categories right now.

I hope this article was helpful for you and helped answer many of your confusions. Don’t forget to give your feedback in the comments below and if there are any questions regarding this topic, ask away!

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