Link to this page

2 Different Types of Email Content You Need to Master

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An email is a message sent to a reader’s inbox. Different types of email content can contain text, images, video, or a combination of all three. Two out three marketers use email to distribute their content,  making email a tool you want to know how to use if you’re an entrepreneur, writer, blogger, freelancer, or business owner.

I’m not referring to the personal, one-on-one email you write to a specific person. I’m talking about automated emails sent to a large group of people using an email list manager. (I use and love Constant Contact).

You may also hear them called email campaigns, email marketing messages, email blasts, bulk email, or mass email. Automated email messages save time, reduce costs, increase productivity, provide a written record, and make marketing easier.

2 different types of email content you need to master with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #EmailMarketing

Understand the two different types of email content

The hundreds of marketing emails that land in your inbox boil down to two types of content.

  1. Informational content: these messages contain content that answers readers’ questions, offer news, make announcements, or provide entertainment. This content has a clear goal: give readers solutions to their problems or answers to their questions. In fact, informational content often contains a solution that leads parts of it to become …
  2. Promotional content: these messages market your product, service, or event. They can include special offers, coupons, seasonal discounts. The purpose of promotional email content? To increase sales or awareness.

The two different types of email content are two sides of the same coin. One the one hand you provide information about a problem … and on the other, you promote a product, solution, or cause that is a solution.

Plan and track your email content with this Content Calendar Planner.

The challenge of writing the two different types of email content

As you write email content, you face a problem: balance.

Let’s say you focus solely on providing information. But you don’t offer a call to action in your email content – whether it’s to subscribe, click, buy, give, volunteer, share. Fewer readers act on content unless you tell them what to do.

But when your content may lead readers to act without a call to action,  you won’t be able to track reader response because you cannot see click-throughs or replies or sign ups or sales. How can you know whether or not your email content is effective?

Yet if you focus solely on promotional content then readers feel like they’re “being sold.” A steady stream of sales pitches may work when a customer enters a brick-and-mortar store, but that approach doesn’t work on the internet.

The better approach is a combination of helping and selling.

“Success on the web requires a critical mindset shift,” says businessman and small business web guru Ken Evoy. “Replace the offline strategy of ‘location, location, location’ with the online strategy of ‘information, information, information.’”

By delivering great information to an online reader, you help her understand her problem and the solution. “What you write will directly affect how many people click- hrough,” says Evoy. “So, take your time and get it right."

Successful email content offers helpful information to the reader about her question or problem, which helps prepare her to make a decision. Promotional content invites her to take action.

Informational content and promotional content work together to both help and sell.

How to balance the two different types of email content

How much of your content should help the reader and how much of your content should present an offer or a call to action? It’s here that you can use the 80/20 Rule. Also known as The Pareto Principle (in a nod to its 19th century originator, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto), the rule suggests that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts.

Use that ratio for producing your email content. “Only 20% of content should be promotional,” says marketing executive Rebecca Barnatt-Smith, “While the other 80% should educate, inform and entertain.” 

Your best email content ratio is ...

  • 80% informational content
  • 20% promotional content

Simple writing tip: use the 80/20 Rule to help and sell

Now that you know the optimum balance of the two different types of email content, you can structure your email marketing messages accordingly.

  • If you prefer to write purely informational emails, make sure that for every four you send a promotional one.
  • When you send a dedicated promotional message, sprinkle four informational emails into your upcoming calendar to create the 80/20 balance.
  • The best email marketing strategy are email messages that are a combination of informational and promotional, with an 80/20 balance within the content.

Regardless of how you structure individual campaigns, write so that 80% of your posts offer valuable information to your readers. The remaining 20% can be promotion or calls to action.

Do that and you’ll both help and sell.

More Email Writing Tips

5 Reasons You Should Create an Email Newsletter ...

An Email Campaign vs. an Ezine: What's the Difference?

Start and Grow Your Email List: A Simple Tutorial ...

The 5 Biggest Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid ...

How to write an email step-by-step ...

More email writing tips on our Pinterest board ...

Return from 2 Different Types of Email Content to
Nonprofit Copywriter home

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Powered by SBI! Learn more here.
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search This Site

Share This Page


Named to 2022 Writer's Digest list

Get Free Writing Tips

Stop Wasting Time!

Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"

XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!