Ems (Microcontent and Stories)
Ems are short, informative emails which tell stories. They fit on a single mobile screen so customers know they don’t have to see an endless scroll. They offer something useful rather than just the usual promotional content. Ems also can tell continuing stories to keep recipients engaged. Above all, ems ensure that there is something new daily – thus increasing the brand’s mental availability. Media companies have perfected this: their emails reach our inbox at the same time daily to the extent that we start expecting them. Imagine if brand emails could elicit that same feeling!
Brands send 7-10 campaigns a month. Imagine if a brand could send an email daily which is delivered at the same time. Days when there is no campaign can become the days when Ems are sent. They can be identified in the Subject line with a special character (an epsilon, perhaps) which lets the customer know this is a short, informative email and will not need more than 15-30 seconds to consume. For every brand, it is possible to create relevant microcontent. Ems could also become games that help with recall of some brand attributes.
Here are some of my past writings on Ems (in the early writings I had termed Ems as Microns):
Microns and Brands: Made for Each Other: “Think of all the moments when we would like to get something and which are not leveraged by brands. A book I showed an interest in, a product I want to buy, an article I read, a movie that piqued my interest, a habit I want to develop, a person or idea I am keen to know more about, a concept I want to dig deeper into, a smartphone I just bought and whose features I want to understand. All of these are what I think of as “micron moments” – when a short duration micron subscription could be triggered to create a win-win for both brand and consumer, publisher and subscriber, sender and receiver.”
Microns: Theory and Economics: “Less can be more. Small can be big. Signal can and must overwhelm noise. That’s why microns which can be fully consumed in 15-30 seconds. Information-rich, permission-led microns can transform email communication. Think of microns as driving the minimalism revolution in brand-customer interactions…Microns can thus open up a new, unexplored world for marketers – long-term relationship building with informational content, going beyond the transactional and promotional mails with a focus on branding, and leveraging moments to trigger short-duration enriching engagements.”
Microns: Making B2C Emails Better: “Microns, by their very nature of being short and info-rich, are likely to have extremely high engagement – they will be read on arrival into the inbox. Every micron opened will lead to subsequent microns being delivered into the inbox because of the way the algorithms work. Microns can thus be used for something that email has not been used for – branding. By having emails delivered at a near-zero cost into the inbox, brands have an infinitely scalable opportunity to be in front of their current and prospective customers every day.”
Email2: Energising Engagement (Part 3): “Ems thus can become a utility in our lives – coming into the inbox at the same time, like emails from media sites. Most emails today are hard sells – buy this, see that. Ems, on the other hand, focus on attention and habit creation rather than the immediacy of pushing for a transaction. Ems can be the way brands build hotlines to their customers. They can be a great asset for reinforcing branding for existing customers. Ems create “email moments”.”