I was recently in a meeting with a fellow marketer who had 38,000 new emails in his work inbox. I noticed this because he had his Gmail tab open while he was presenting something to the group.

This guy is a busy leader, and I’m sure he takes care of all the emails that are actually important.

But wow: 38,000 new emails. 

Email marketing is an incredible tool to reach customers. But at its heart, great email marketing comes down to great content. The subject line, body copy, preheader — they're all different forms of content.

And unfortunately, a lot of our content efforts fail, especially relating to email. They end up as one of those unread 38,000 messages in my friend’s inbox.

In this week's episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the award-winning marketing podcast from Salesforce, we're talking to David DeVore, email marketing expert and the founder and CEO of StoryPorts. David shares his top places to source valuable content that you can recycle for email marketing.

Take a listen here. For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

In the full episode, David shares six key places you can grab content to recycle for email campaigns, plus a real-brand example for each. Here, we'll share three examples of how real brands recycle content and save tons of time.


Example #1: User-Generated Content with Foot Locker


David explains, “User-generated content is any content around your brand that someone else is creating. This could be social content. It could be trip reviews or product reviews. There's a broad swath of what user-generated content is. And there's a lot of really interesting use cases for where it could be used in email campaigns."

In this example from FootLocker, they filled an entire email with Instagram photos of users tagging their FootLocker shoes and using a specific hashtag to be featured. The email doesn’t reek of marketing. It just looks like interesting people wearing cool shoes, and it definitely has that “social proof” effect.


Why it works: User-generated content can be more believable and more transparent because it's coming from customers, not your brand. And it saves you time because you don't have to create any of it from scratch.


Example #2: Recycled Video with Patagonia

According to David, "The top [marketing] channel being invested in these days is video. It is a highly engaging — as well as highly effective — way for a brand to communicate with their customers and with their fans in a much more three-dimensional way... Most brands are building and producing videos on a regular basis," in places like YouTube, Vimeo, and their own sites.

Some email marketers have shied away from using video in the past, but it's time to think seriously about including it in your email marketing strategies. David says his preferred method is to place "a teaser of the video and a play button" in the email (this could be a static image or a GIF), and when people click through, the video is played on your own website, so you as the marketer get to keep the traffic.

Patagonia has a great example of this in the below email sharing a film of a mountain climber, fitting in perfectly with their audience's affinities. Although the film is hosted on YouTube, the email leads you to the Patagonia website where the video is embedded.

Why it works: By 2021, video traffic will comprise 82% of all consumer Internet traffic (Cisco). If you're not creating video already, it's time to get started. Be smart about recycling video in emails by linking viewers through to your website when they watch.


Example #3: Product Pages Get a VIP Upgrade with Luxury Retreats


Product details in email can be boring and over-the-top salesy. But if you recycle your product-focused content in a VIP style, you can actually make customers excited to read the details.

Luxury Retreats, purveyors of fine global villas, showcases its properties in an email called “Private Viewing," shown below. The email previews top properties in an A-list style that makes email subscribers feel like they’re getting a special sneak peek.

David explains, "You're not actually having to create new content. This is already products that you already have in your catalog; it's really just serving those products up in a way that makes somebody feel special or like there's a limited opportunity that no one else has access to.”

Why it works: Customers feel like they're getting a special preview curated just for them. The marketers creating this email simply recycled existing information about these properties in a stellar format. Everybody wins.


Example #4: Brand-Adjacent Content with Park City, Utah


Plenty of content is valued by your customers but isn't exclusively about your products and services. Consider Park City, Utah, a ski-resort town where the snow conditions and weather have big implications for how visitors will spend their days.

As the email example from Park City below shows, sharing this information provides a ton of context to customers who are about to experience Park City. "It's not blog content. It's not video. But for their customers, it's really important. If I'm going to a resort to ski this weekend, I want to know what the conditions are like. It's content that they're already tracking and they're already putting on their website," shares David.

So it only makes sense to recycle this content into an email. It's easy enough to put in these details — but results in major helpfulness points for the email.

Why it works: By providing information that customers need to experience Park City's wonders, the email newsletter goes from an inbox annoyance to a valued service — and something customers might even forward along to friends or family.


Want more examples? Listen to the complete podcast episode.


Several weeks ago, we shifted the Marketing Cloudcast to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I'd love to know what you think!

For the rest of David's recycled content examples, become a Cloudcast subscriber on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.