Boost your emails with topical content

In order to achieve the best results, it's good practice to plan your email campaigns in advance. However, one of the many advantages of email marketing is it enables you to quickly react to marketing opportunities when they occur and in particular, it allows you to take advantage of topical news and events to boost your marketing.

If you'd like to give this a go, below are some key things you should consider:

Relevance
For marketing communications to be effective they need to be relevant to your target audience.  There's little point talking to your recipients about a topic that doesn't have any relevance to them.  For example if there was a change in employment law, a recruitment company could use it as the topic of an email campaign to send to employers, however this wouldn't make sense coming from a travel company to their customers.

While the topic must be relevant, it doesn't necessarily need to be directly linked to your business. As parts of the UK have been brought to a standstill by flooding, we received an email from a well-known online retailer which demonstrated how you can use topical events to boost your email marketing. While the body of the email focused on their normal newsletter content, an up to the minute subject line made it really topical: "Rained in? Shop online for a stylish start to spring!"

While rain is not necessarily related to spring fashion trends, the retailer reacted to the outside circumstances and utilised it within their email campaign to create a relevant, compelling call-to-action in their subject line. This example also demonstrates that you don't need to theme the entire email around the topic, you can make a small section or even just the subject line topical.

Timing
When dealing with topical content, timing is key. Your message is likely to be less effective if the content is perceived to be out-dated or yesterday's news. Where possible you should try to prepare your content in advance. For example, at Oscar time a DVD retailer could pre-plan an offer on former Oscar winning movies to coincide with the current awards. However, for unexpected and unforeseen events you should endeavour to react as quickly as possible while the topic is still relevant and current - this is ideal for those wanting to increase marketing share or their ROI.

Avoid the bandwagon
There'll always be times when there's an influx of emails around the same topic, such as Christmas, Easter or Valentines Day. If your recipients receive a lot of emails on the same topic the impact of your campaign may be diluted. You need to ensure what you're communicating has added value for your recipients. For example, the recruitment company emailing employers about changes in employment law could summarise in an easy format what it means for them, rather than just retelling the changes.

While topical content can aid your email marketing, the most important thing to remember is not to force-fit it into your email campaigns. Ultimately your email campaign will only be effective if it's interesting and appealing to your recipients.