Article first published January 2017, updated July 2019
Media companies are known for pushing the boundaries. From developing edgy TV shows to writing juicy celebrity news for their magazines and websites, these companies are accustomed to coming up with creative methods to captivate an audience.
And they use that same creativity in their email marketing strategies.
In an effort to drive traffic and consistently engage subscribers, media companies are using creative and effective email marketing methods.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how some savvy media companies are using email marketing to drive traffic to their sites.
Source: Really Good Emails
How can you drive traffic to your website?
Before we look at how media companies drive traffic to website pages and assets using email, let’s briefly take a holistic view of how you can attract traffic to your website.
Optimizing your website
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most popular web traffic strategies. However, most people don’t really understand and implement it well.
For many people, SEO is all about tricking search engines to rank websites higher. Looking at it this way is a sure invitation for disaster. Proper SEO is about following web design and content creation best practices. Check out this Moz blog for more in-depth information.
Another great to way drive traffic to website content is through social media. With social media, you can either promote your content organically on your pages or use paid posts to increase the reach of your message.
When it comes to social media, however, be careful not to post too much self-promotional content as this is a way to turn off your audience.
Email is by far the best way to drive traffic to website content. Here are three reasons why email should be your first traffic generation method:
- Your email list is already interested in your brand and content
- Since it is direct, you can almost guarantee the traffic
- Email drives targeted traffic to specific pages more accurately
Having said that, let’s go ahead and look at how media companies successfully drive traffic to their websites.
1. Personalize emails with dynamic content
Marketers can and should personalize emails. Research shows emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.
Despite the statistics that show how powerful personalization is, research also shows that many brands collect customer data but don’t actually use it to personalize any content. In fact, 70% of brands aren’t personalizing emails, according to Experian.
Marketers can include a subscriber’s name in the subject line, include their location in the message, or add the subscriber’s company name to the headline.
However, media companies can personalize beyond the basics using dynamic content.
Dynamic content allows media companies to create one email that has various components in it that change based on the subscriber.
Let’s say a media company that offers streaming TV wants to email a discount to its audience. The company can send the same offer to everyone, but the images and message change based on the subscriber’s favorite show.
With dynamic content, you can change a variety of aspects. You can showcase products that are specific to the subscriber’s interests, promote events based on a subscriber’s location, or change the message to suit the demographic of a specific audience.
Dynamic content can also be used on websites; so pieces of the homepage, for example, change based on the subscriber who visits. One visitor might see a behind-the-scenes photo gallery of their favorite sitcom while another sees a video preview of a new show that’s about to debut.
Ready to add dynamic content to your next email? Learn how to use dynamic content with Campaign Monitor.
2. Segment lists
Another way marketers can personalize email campaigns is through segmentation.
Research from Litmus shows sending irrelevant emails causes 25% of subscribers to opt out of email lists. Another 54% leave because the content they receive becomes repetitive or boring.
By sending personalized content to specific segments, marketers can avoid those problems.
How do you get started? Break your email list into groups that align with your goals. You might segment your list by age, gender, job title, interests, past purchasing history, browsing history, or geographic location.
VICE segments its contacts by interests. For instance, readers interested in athletics receive a specific sports-themed newsletter. It provides a daily snapshot of sports news from around the world.
Apartment Therapy does something similar by offering specific content to subscribers based on their interests.
The company has a subscriber preference center set up, which allows subscribers to select what kind of content they want to receive. It helps the company zero-in on the specific interests of its subscribers, which they can use to segment their lists. Here’s what their preference center looks like:
Let’s say a customer signs up for the Design Daily. They’ll receive a daily update of fresh content that’s on the website like this:
Email service providers like Campaign Monitor offer tools that make setting up a subscriber preference center a snap.
3. Ad placement in emails
When media companies create and send emails, one of the main goals is to generate revenue. Goals often include getting new subscribers that will buy a subscription or membership.
But, they generate revenue another way. By placing ads in their emails, they can monetize their list.
Your email list could be the perfect vehicle for advertisers. Think about it; you’ve spent a lot of time growing a quality list of contacts that have specific interests. You have a hyper-targeted list of potential customers, and that’s exactly what advertisers are looking for.
Apartment Therapy puts ads in its newsletters. Take a look at the example below. You’ll notice a banner ad that promotes eyeglasses at the top, and an ad that’s included right in the blocks of content.
You might be concerned that ads will take away from your email, or distract customers. But, take a look at the example above. The ads are noticeable, but they don’t disrupt the look or feel of the email. The idea is to include relative ads in a natural way that blends in with the email’s design.
Of course, reaching out to advertisers can be challenging. But, Campaign Monitor has an easy solution that connects businesses with advertisers to turn email lists into a profitable asset all while maintaining full control over your email campaigns.
Check out LiveIntent, a simple, code-free tool that’s integrated with Campaign Monitor to help you monetize your email list.
4. Use automation to send emails
To make sure emails land in specific inboxes at the right time, media companies use automation. Think of automation as a tool box that has a variety of levers you can use to get jobs done. Read on to learn about the automation tools media companies use to reach their target audiences.
Media company Reddit sends an automated welcome email to new subscribers within minutes of signing up. Automated emails are sent based on triggers. In this case, a new signup triggers an email to send. The fast-acting nature of these emails shows subscribers they’re valued, offers a kind greeting, and explains what to expect in future emails.
Have a look at Reddit’s welcome email:
: Welcome emails are so effective in driving traffic to websites because your prospects are still excited about your business. Including a link or two to some of your most important web pages will likely result in them clicking through and checking out what you have to offer.
Send curated newsletters
Media companies also automate newsletters on a regular basis. Reddit, for example, curates all of its best content into one newsletter each week. The media company can create the newsletters and set it to send to subscribers on a specific day and time each week.
Here’s an example:
: Curating your best content in a newsletter certainly has a big impact when it comes to driving traffic to your website for two main reasons:
- Highlighting different content pieces allows you to cast a wide net that draws in different types of visitors. Since your customers have unique interests at different stages of their customer journey, this method allows you cater to all of them in a single campaign.
- Curating content also helps you reach customers who selected to not receive particular types of emails from you.
Send a series of emails
Media companies also use email technology to send automated series of emails.
Let’s say a subscriber purchases a three-month subscription to a magazine. That action can trigger several emails.
For instance, the subscriber immediately receives a thank you message with delivery details. Two weeks later, after the subscriber received the subscription, an email is sent asking him or her how they’re enjoying the magazine. Two months later, an email is sent reminding the subscriber to renew the subscription.
Campaign Monitor makes it easy to automate these kinds of emails with our Journey Builder. Take a look at how the Journey Builder works.
Takeaways: Automated emails also work exceptionally well when it comes to driving traffic to your website, by:
- Automatically sending a reminder email to those who didn’t open the first email or click a link
- Serving different content to your readers depending on how they have interacted with your previous emails
Media companies are always looking for ways to drive traffic to their websites and keep their subscribers happy and active. The tactics listed above can help you and your company reach subscribers in unique, personalized ways. These tactics won’t just provide the content your audience craves, but these tactics will also provide a hefty return on your investment.
After you implement these strategies, dive deeper into ways that publishers can drive more traffic to their websites with email.